Traditional Kids’ Games series (2) Hopscotch
June 1st is International Children’s Day. This week we will look into the games that children played before the age of computer and arcade games. Yes, lest we forget, there was a time when kid’s fun didn’t cause obesity or cost a lot of money. Kids used to interact with each other and laugh (out loud) together. They stayed active and sweat it out. They took turns. They learned that the only way to get better was to practice, practice and practice some more.
Today I feature HOPSCOTCH. On the island of Cebu where I was born and raised this game is called Vicks-Vicks. My theory is that perhaps it was the Americans who taught the Cebuanos how to play Hopscotch and maybe they tossed caps of VICKS vaporub into the numbered spaces. Thus, the game came to be called Vicks-Vicks…In Manila, they call Hopscotch PIKO. When translated into English, PIKO could mean ‘to pierce, dig into or break up with some pointed tool’(magpiko). My best guess is that when it was first introduced in that part of the Philippines, children were instructed to dig into or break up the ground to make the numbered spaces.
What is HOPSCOTCH?
Hopscotch is a children’s game that can be played with several players or alone. Hopscotch is a popular playground game.The players toss a small object into the numbered spaces of a pattern of rectangles outlined on the ground and then hop or jump through the spaces to retrieve the object.
Where did the game come from?
Source: Now You Know
Big Book of Answers by Doug Lennox
Hopscotch was brought to Britain by the Romans, who used it as a military training exercise. The courses were one hundred feet long, and the soldiers ran them in full battle gear to improve their footwork. Children copied the soldiers by scratching out small courses of their own and creating rules and a scoring system. The scotch in hopscotch refers to the markings scored onto the ground. As in butterscotch toffee, scotch means scored or notched into squares.
The Court (or course)
To play hopscotch, a course is first laid out on the ground. Depending on the available surface, the course is either scratched out in dirt, or drawn with chalk on pavement. Designs vary, but the course is usually composed of a series of linear squares interspersed with blocks of two lateral squares. Traditionally the course ends with a “safe” or “home” base in which the player may turn before completing the reverse trip. The home base may be a square, a rectangle, or a semicircle. The squares are then numbered in the sequence in which they are to be hopped.