Hide and Seek is a traditional game that is played in several countries of the world and dates back many centuries. The first description of the game was by a Greek writer in the 2nd century. [source]
It’s a fun group game for children of all ages and can be played in its many variations at home or with a class of children.
While kids enjoy the thrill of hiding and finding each other, they are learning skills such as quick thinking and creativity.
If you are playing with young children, try these hide and seek games. They are simple variations that will be easy for preschoolers and kindergarteners to follow.
1. Classic Hide and Seek
The traditional rules of hide and seek are simple. One child is the seeker and must count to 10 (or any number suitable for the child’s age) with eyes closed while the other children run and hide.
The seeker then says “Ready or not, here I come!” and tries to find all the hidden children. The first child who is found loses the round and is the seeker in the next round. The last child to be found wins the round.
If at any point you need to end the round or the seeker cannot find some of the hiders, he can shout “come out, come out, wherever you are.”
There are a few variations of the classic game but these are the basic rules. [source]
It makes a great indoor or outdoor game.
How do you play hide and seek at home if it’s just you and your child?
Simply take turns counting while the other hides and swap when you find each other. Your preschooler will love playing this with you.
2. Back to Home Base
In this common variation, the seeker counts at a “home base” (such as a wall) and then goes off to find the other players.
They may choose to stay hidden until found, or they can run to the home base and touch it without being caught, which makes them “safe” from tagging.
3. No Repeat Spots
Make the game slightly more challenging and teach kids to think creatively by telling them they can’t hide in the same place twice. If they’re caught in the same place twice, they’ll be “out.”
They have to remember the spots they’ve already hidden in and think quickly on their feet before their time is up.
4. Join the Seeker
In this version, as kids are found, they must join the seeker to help her find the other players.
This means that by the end, all the players will be looking for the last child hiding, who is the winner and can be the seeker in the next round.
This encourages kids to work together as a team and learn to manage a group of people.
5. Listen and Find
This one is fun to play with young kids who are at an age where they may need some help finding each other. It’s good for developing listening skills too.
All the kids hide while the seeker counts to 10. Then, the seeker must call for one of the players by saying “Mary, where are you?” Mary must then respond with “Here I am.”
The seeker must listen carefully for the reply, and follow the voice to try to find Mary. If he finds her, she is caught. If not, he must leave her and try calling her again at the end of the round.
The seeker then calls the next name and continues until all the players are found. Play this game in a smaller space, preferably indoors so the children can hear each other.
This is one of the best hide and seek games because it is so much fun for small children.
In this well-known variation of the regular game, only one child hides, and all the rest are seekers.
The seekers must find the hidden child and instead of pointing him out, must join him and hide with him.
Eventually, all but one child will be hiding together in the same spot, and when the last child finds the group, he becomes the seeker in the next round.
This game is sure to have kids giggling away as they learn to pick a space big enough for others to join, figure out how to squeeze together like sardines and control their noise level so they don’t get discovered.
7. Circle Seek
This game is best played with a group of children.
Get them to hold hands and make a large circle. Blindfold one child and make him the seeker.
The seeker stands in the middle of the circle and must find and tag each of the children in the circle. The children in the circle must all stand still.
The seeker must walk across the circle and try to tag someone who is standing by feeling them with her arms. If she tags someone, the tagged person must spin the seeker around once, then let her go and sit down.
The seeker then walks forward to try to tag someone else in the circle. The spin changes the direction that the seeker is facing, to prevent her from simply shifting to the next child and the next.
As it gets more difficult to find the last few standing kids, they can shout out oral directions such as “move forward a few steps” or “Luke is behind you.”
8. Blind Seeking
This is a variation of the previous game. Instead of making a circle, the children who are hiding stand in a spot in a room without moving.
The seeker is blindfolded and must walk around the room “blind,” trying to find the children who are hiding. If he touches one, that person becomes the next seeker.
This is best played in a small group so it’s not too difficult. To make it a game of following directions, one person can direct the seeker with instructions to help him find the others.
9. Hide the Teddy
For this game, all the children close their eyes and count to 10 while you hide a teddy bear or other fun toy in the garden or room. You could also get a child to hide the teddy bear.
The counters then all shout “ready or not, here we come” and all go searching for the teddy. The child who finds the teddy is the winner and can hide the teddy in the next round.
10. Shapes Hide and Seek
Use a game of hide and seek as a way to reinforce concepts such as shape recognition or colour recognition.
Hide the objects beforehand, then tell kids to go find all the shapes hidden in the garden, or all the blue objects you have hidden.
11. Bean Bags
Bean bag activities are great fun. Why not hide them and tell kids to find them?
Put them in places that will give kids a workout to find – in trees that are safe to climb, on the jungle gym, inside tunnels, under tables, etc.
12. Hiding Things
Get each child to choose a toy or item to hide. One child is the seeker and must count to 10 or 20 while the others all hide their objects.
The seeker then goes around the group, asking each child for a clue about their object before she goes off to try and find them.
Here are a few examples:
- My object is a toy
- You can write with my object
- I have hidden something blue that makes a noise when you switch it on
Remember to model examples of clues for the kids as this is not an easy task. They need to learn how to describe things based on appearance, function, etc.
Once the seeker has found all the items she can, she must try to match them to the children who gave the appropriate clues.
13. Chasing Game
This last game is an active chasing game that involves catching, rather than finding.
One child must count while everyone hides. Then, as soon as he stops counting, all the children must come out of their hiding spots and run back to touch “home base,” without being tagged by the counter.
The first person to get tagged is the counter in the next round.