Intro: Indoor/Outdoor Hopscotch Mat
Create a unique gift for a special child that can be used any season, burns energy, and promotes coordination and fitness! I made these Hopscotch Mats as Christmas gifts for my daughter and a niece. The canvas mat is colorful and fun, can be taken to the park or used in your living room, and rolls up for easy storage. My instructions require some sewing (hemming edge of mat and sewing beanbags), but a non-sewer could easily adapt it using a glue gun to hem the mat, and painting some small rocks to replace the beanbags.
Step 1: Materials
2 1/2 yds of canvas
acrylic craft paints in 3-5 colors
stiff 1/2" paint brush
a large bowl or pan approx 12" across - square, circle or rectangle
scissors & pencil
4" number stencils
sewing machine OR hot glue gun
4 fabric scraps & dried beans OR 4 smooth flat rocks
Step 2: Canvas
Canvas is normally 60" wide. Cut it in half lengthwise so it is 30" wide. You will be able to make 2 mats. To finish the raw edges, fold them under 1/4", then fold under again and stitch all around. If your fabric is wrinkled or creased, now is the time to iron it flat.
*If you don't sew, you could hot glue them under.
Step 3: Layout of Squares
For the hopscotch squares, I decided it would take forever to tape them off in order to paint straight lines. Instead, I had this rounded-square bowl in my cupboard that would work perfectly. You could use a square pyrex dish, a rectangle dish, or a large round mixing bowl. Even a combination of shapes would make a fun design! You probably want your bowl to be approx. 10-12 inches diameter so a little foot fits comfortably inside.
Determine the center of your canvas width. Make some pencil dots to mark the center of the canvas. Measure your bowl so you can place it centered on the dots, or next to them for side-by-side double squares. Trace around the bowl in the desired hopscotch pattern. I alternated single, double, single, double...but another popular design for hopscotch is single, single, single, double, single, double, single, single.
Step 4: Painting
Decide on the colors and pattern of acrylic paint you want to use, and put some of the first color paint on a paper plate. Paint the lines as evenly as possible, knowing they will not be perfect without tape guides. A stiffer, flat brush works best. Afterwards, go back over the lines with the brush fairly dry, and feather out the edges to look like chalk dust. This makes the slightly uneven lines look intentional! Paint all 10 squares.
Step 5: Numbers
Now, for the numbers. You could print out your own fun numeral font at home on cardstock to make stencils, but I opted to save time and buy a $4 set of stencils at Walmart. I love these 4" whimsical numerals. I thought it would look best to match the color of the number to the square.
Measure the placement if you want to be precise--I'm more of an "eyeball-it" kind of girl. Holding the stencil with one hand, I dabbed the paint inside (not too thick!) and carefully peeled the cardboard away. Touch up any rough spots and fill in the gaps.
Step 6: Beanbags
Now for the beanbags. Gather 4 different fabric scraps in a medium or heavyweight cotton. Cut 2 squares of each color to measure approx. 3 1/2" x 3 1/2". With a 1/2" seam allowance, they will turn out to be 2 1/2" square. Stitch around 3 sides and the very edge and corners of the fourth side, leaving 2 inches open. Clip all the corners, then turn right side out and poke out corners.
Spoon in dried beans or rice so it is fairly full but not stuffed.
Now fold in the raw edges on the open side and stitch closed.
*If you don't sew, just find 4 clean rocks and paint them different colors.
Step 7: Playing Hopscotch
If you are a little rusty, here are the basic rules:
First player stands at end of mat and tosses her beanbag into the "1" square. Beanbag must land in the square--can't bounce out or land on the border. If successful, she hops OVER that square and must hop through the numbers up to 10, always with one foot in each square. Squares next to each other, like 2/3, are landed on together, but singles like 4 must be landed with one foot. She should hop up to 10, then turn around and hop back down, stopping with both feet in 2/3. She must lean over and retrieve her beanbag, then hop into 1 and off the mat. Now, she tosses the beanbag into "2." If it lands successfully, she hops onto 1, then 3, then 4, 5/6, and up to 10. Again, turn and hop back down, pausing on the number before "2", and leaning over to retrieve the beanbag and finish hopping back to 1.
If the player lands on a line, loses their balance or misses a square, their turn is over. She must try that number again her next turn. Player 2 then starts with 1. The game is won when a player gets up to 10 and successfully hops through the numbers and back to 1 with the beanbag in hand.
Now your Hopscotch mat is ready for some energy-burning, family fun!