The History of Hopscotch

Posted in Bits and Pieces

hopscotchSomehow, Donna’s blogs on playground games got me on a Google wandering about hopscotch. And I found out some interesting history. Thought you might find it interesting, too.

Although hopscotch is played all over the world today, it was not originally a game at all. Hopscotch began in ancient Britain during the Roman Empire. The hopscotch course was over 100 feet long, and was said to be marked out on the Great North Road, a 400 mile Roman road from Glasgow to London.

Roman foot-soldiers played the “game” in full armor and field packs, for the purpose of improving their footwork, endurance, and general fitness.  In essence, hopscotch was a military training exercise.

Children, in imitation of the Roman soldiers, then drew their own smaller courses and added a scoring system. The game spread throughout Europe, and eventually the world.

Hopscotch (it’s English name) is derived from the word “hop” (the jumping part of the game, of course), and “eschocher”, an Old French word meaning “to cut”. We also get our word “scratch” from “eschocher”. For example, the candy butterscotch is made in hard sheets, and then “scotched” (cut), into smaller pieces. Therefore, in hopscotch, one hops over a scotch. 

So, there you go. You learned something new today.

For more information about hopscotch in different countries, visit this site.

-posted by Miss Analiisa, who uses blue tape on the floor to make an indoor hopscotch when it’s rainy outside.

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