The autumn leaves in the south of the UK have been wonderful this year. I have been seeing fantastic artwork, collages and patterns made from leaves. This weekend a brief chat with my 7 year old about what use we could put some of the many leaves in our garden led to a eureka moment. What garden game would be great to play with leaves outdoors? We came up with autumn leaf hopscotch. Hope you like the idea.
As it’s such a simple project the photographs may explain it all. However we had such fun concocting it, counting, sorting, and deciding which leaves to use and then working out patterns for each number I thought I’d share a bit more detail with you.
We used leaves from the garden, but this activity is a great use of all those leaves bought back from an autumn walk that you never know what to do with. Ours either lie dried up and shrivelled indoors or wet and soggy outside. Flat leaves seem to work best, but you don’t have to use pressed leaves. For some leaf shapes turning the leaf to its underside meant it was easier to lay them out. It also gave us a chance to explore the vein patterns underneath and also note the different colourations. Some of the leaves were really beautiful on their ‘other’ side.
As for the hopscotch – do you remember how to play? I had to think twice. I had played it with my son when he was small and just learning his numbers, but not recently. He obviously had not played it in the school playground (ever? or in recent past?) Oh dear the demise of playground games. I’ll be popping a piece of chalk in his pocket this week. I have a little book which we use as our Games Bible, called 'The Games Book - how to play the games of yesterday' which is currently available on Kindle.
Here’s a quick run down of the rules just in case you can’t remember either. You number squares from 1 to 10 in the pattern shown in the first photo. The aim is to be the first to finish to square 10. The game can be played with a group or just one person. You throw a small pebble onto square one. If it lands fully within the square you jump over the square containing the pebble left foot in square 2 and right foot in square 3. Continue hopping and jumping until you reach square ten then turn balancing on one foot and hopscotch back to squares 2 and 3 to pick up the pebble from square one. If you touch a line, lose your balance or miss a square. Your turn is over and you must start at square one again. You must never step on the square which has your pebble.
This is how we spent our Sunday morning - a great way to be out in the clear frosty air. If I had thought about it I would have used a fir cone instead of a small stone just to complete the autumn theme.
By the way 2 little points to note. Yes you will step on the leaves and patterns and mess them up, but that can be easily rectified. It was a lovely calm dry sunny day on Sunday. This version of hopscotch probably won’t work on a windy day!