hide-seekI’m sure we all remember playing hide and seek. It’s a game passed on by word of mouth, from friend to friend and generation to generation. In fact, it’s been around for centuries. So why not do your bit to keep an age-old game alive by passing it on?

A simple game of hide and seek outdoors can teach a child social skills and they’ll observation skills as they watch their friends choose hiding places which may be useful to them later. It helps children gain confidence, and most of all, patience. After all, sitting still and being quiet to avoid being discovered, can test most small children and it’s an art holding your nerve when you might worry you won’t be found.

It makes sense to check the area is safe and you could set boundaries in which to play the game if you’re out in the countryside. But then simply tell them the rules and let them get on with it, squabbles and all.

There are several versions of this game and children can make their own add-on rules but this is how I used to play:

How to play hide and seek
1. First everyone shouts “bagsy not it” and the last one to shout is ‘IT’ this player is ‘on’ and has to seek the others who hide.
2. IT chooses a counting spot called home.
3. IT counts to an agreed number
{depending on the age of the children}. I had to smile recently when I overheard my nieces playing and the youngest was counting in typical little childrens’ impatient style; 1,2,5,8,9,12… While IT counts all the other players scramble off to hide, panicking if they find the best spots are already occupied by other players, before quickly finding their own hiding place.
4. IT reaches the agreed number and calls “Coming ready or not”
5. IT then tries to find their friends. If they find someone they rush back home and call them out: “Daisy’s behind the shed”
6. This goes on until all players are found or IT gives up. At which point everyone must reveal themselves.
7. If IT finds everyone, the first person found then becomes the seeker. If they don’t find everyone then they are IT again.
8. A rule sometimes used is that players who are discovered can race back home and if they get there before IT has chance to call them out, they’re free. They can run home at any time to save themselves during the game or choose to stay hidden until the end.

Happy hiding.