The game of hopscotch is a sidewalk and playground staple that has endured for centuries to become one of the widest-played court games in the world today. Equal parts throwing precision and physical dexterity, what is on paper a numbingly simple game is actually a demanding test of stamina and skill. It is perhaps because of its deceptive simplicity that hopscotch remains such a popular children’s game. Indeed, its uniquely-shaped court, which can actually vary depending on where it is played and the preferences of the players, is instantly recognizable as such.
In some locations, permanent hopscotch courts exist, practically engraved into stone and concrete to provide a ready-made game or three to any groups of children who are inclined to take advantage of it. Other times, children or their elders take a piece of street chalk and scrawl a court into existence on the sidewalk or playground. Often, this approach produces uneven hopscotch courts that deteriorate quickly as excited boys and girls stomp on its lines. Since it isn’t really worth anyone’s time to actually fashion a sidewalk into a permanent court, there is an acceptable halfway alternative: painting the court on the pavement using a hopscotch stencil. Just as stencils in general facilitate the painting of smooth, sharp and professional-looking lines, a hopscotch stencil ensures that the court that you generate looks snazzy enough that even adults will stop and consider playing.
Hopscotch stencil designs range from the standard schoolyard court to new-fangled styles that have alternating squares in a checker pattern, or courts that are shaped like animals, such as fish. Whichever design you select is really a matter of personal preference. If you are a purist, just go for the traditional hopscotch arrangement. However, if you would like to demonstrate a bit of variant creativity, the hopscotch court that has a crocodile design may be a more satisfying buy. In all cases, make sure your stencil is made of decent quality grade plastic, so that it will afford you and your children, and their playmates, an indefinite number of fun hours through repeated use.
To paint a hopscotch stencil properly, first pick a stretch of straight, flat sidewalk pavement, taking care to minimize cracks or lines that may disrupt the court’s integrity. Once you have found a suitable area, start sweeping up the place, clearing it of dirt, stones and other debris. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself painting on dust and rocks. Then, lay the hopscotch stencil out flat, and secure it to the pavement with some masking tape or similar adhesive. Afterwards, spray the pavement paint or brush it onto the stencil, taking care to apply the paint coat evenly. Lastly, find something else to do for about an hour, like take the kids for ice cream or the corner store to buy some goodies. When you return, the paint will have dried, and your children can jump straight into the action, literally, when you remove the stencil.
A good hopscotch stencil is a great way to bring fun and excitement to a boring sidewalk. It would be prudent to have one on hand to encourage your kids to seek play outdoors.