Skip to main content



Children in Europe and in North, Central, and South America, as well as in Russia, China, and India, play the same hopping game, with only minor variations, and variously called hopscotch, potsy, paradise, heaven and hell, airplane, and hop-round. The game is played on a pattern chalked on a sidewalk or traced in dirt. The pattern consists of several single and occasional side-by-side squares or circles, which are often sequentially numbered. Play begins when a player tosses an object (usually a rock) into the pattern, then hops into the pattern, careful to skip the square containing the rock and to land without touching the lines in all the empty squares. Scholars believe the game may be as much as a thousand years old, suggesting that the pattern derives from the figure of the labyrinth, a motif found as far back as the iron age, and through which youth were required to walk during an initiation ceremony.

—Dorothy Jane Mills

Further Reading:

Bancroft, Jesse H. Games. New York, Macmillan, 1937.

Lankford, Mary D. Hopscotch around the World. New York, Morrow, 1992.

Sutton-Smith, Brian. The Folkgames of Children. Austin, University of Texas, 1972.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Hopscotch." St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. . 23 Feb. 2019 <>.

"Hopscotch." St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. . (February 23, 2019).

"Hopscotch." St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. . Retrieved February 23, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.