How to Play Hide and Seek (Rules and Variations)

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Last updated: May 7, 2021

If you have a big enough backyard with trees, furniture pieces, and other objects and elements, hide and seek can be a great game to keep kids (and adults) entertained for a few hours.

While hide and seek is quite the basic game, there are indeed rules involved that you may not be aware of. Plus, there are also fun variations to make the game even more exciting.

In this article I am going to walk you through how to play hide and seek, its rules, the variations, and benefits of playing this fun game.

What Is Hide and Seek

Hide and seek has roots dating back as far as to the ancient Greeks, and has since been making a difference as a fun family game throughout the world.

The game goes by various names, depending on which country you’re in. Here are a few examples of international hide and seek names:

  • Spain: el escondite, las escondidas
  • France: jeu de cache-cache
  • Israel: machboim
  • South Korea: sumbaggoggil
  • South/Central America: tuja, escondidas, cucumbè

As you probably already know, the concept of hide and seek is simple:

  • Hide:
    One player, or several players, have to be out of plain sight, making it as hard as possible to be found.
  • Seek:
    One player has to find the player or players that are hiding in an area.

While this game is historically known as a kids game, adults can play it too and have just as much fun. It’s a true family game that can bring everyone together.

Now, let’s dive a little deeper into the actual rules of the hide and seek game.

Rules of Hide and Seek

There needs to be at least two players in hide and seek. The basic rules are one player becomes “it”, the seeker, and this player has to find the other player(s) hiding.

The seeker covers their eyes, sometimes turned around against a wall or a tree. The seeker counts to an agreed number, which is usually 10. However, longer counts, such as up to 30, may be needed for larger areas.

The seeker counting must be loud enough for the people hiding to hear. At this point, the hiders are scrambling to find a good enough hiding spot.

Some areas can be declared off-limits if it’s too challenging or dangerous, keeping the game fair for everyone. For example, if you’re playing inside a home, you can say the basement or attic isn’t allowed if it’s too dark.

Once the seeker is finished counting, he or she must say “Ready or not, here I come!” loud enough, or something similar, to let the hiders know they must stop moving around and stay hidden in their spot.

Playing hide and seek outside in the yard

Hiders must pick a spot and stay there until they are found. Staying quiet is the challenging part, although there’s always a thrill when the seeker is close by, yet they can’t find the player hiding.

The seeker can turn into a real scavenger, looking for clues to find the hiders. Once the seeker finds hiders, the last player that is found, wins. The first player found becomes the seeker in the next game.

To recap, keep these rules in mind when playing hide and seek:

  • Must have at least two players.
  • Agree on a countdown to shout with the seeker’s eyes covered.
  • Seeker tries to find the player(s) hiding.
  • The first player found becomes the seeker in the next game.
  • The last player found is the winner.

While these are the basics of hide and seek, there are other rules that you can add to make the game more exciting.

You can make these rules up, or you can consider a few official or unofficial variations that you can find online.

Hide and Seek Variations

Let’s go through a few popular variations to the game of hide and seek.

1. Tag Hide and Seek

Sometimes the chase is better than the catch, and “Tag” is a fun way to mesh with hide and seek.

Players begin the game with the seeker loudly counting down. When the counting is over, the seeker has to find and catch the hiders. in the original game, It’s sufficient for the seeker to declare they’ve found someone, to point, or to be close to them.

However, in this Tag variant, the seeker now has to catch the people hiding after they’ve found them. The seeker does not win until they’ve caught the people hiding. This game can go on for much longer than anticipated, as the people hiding can continue seeking cover in different areas, despite having been found before in a different location.

The Tag version of hide and seek typically also burns a lot more energy and calories, which is excellent for boosting physical health.

2. Sardines

A popular variation of hide and seek is called Sardines, which is kind of the reverse of the original concept of the game.

Instead of one seeker trying to find everyone else hiding, in Sardines, there is only one player hiding and there are several seekers. When a seeker finds a player hiding, they have to join them in hiding.

As the game progresses, it becomes more challenging for the people hiding because there is increasingly less space available to hide, and the people hiding become like sardines in a tin can.

The last player seeking loses the game and becomes the hider in the next round of sardines.

3. Wave

This hide and seek variation begins just like the original version, but becomes more complicated for the seeker once they find someone who is hiding.

After the seeker finds a player hiding, that player must follow the seeker in search of the others. If that player finds another player hiding before the seeker does, they will wave, which releases the player hiding. From that point on, that player can start hiding again, picking a new spot.

4. Home Base

Home base is another popular hide and seek variation, and there are in fact several versions of it.

The main concept is to pick a spot that is called “home”. That spot is now a safe space for hiders. The seeker may keep an eye on it, but they must also actively seek for people hiding and prevent them from reaching the home base.

The hiders must make it to home base without being caught by the seeker to win the game. If the seeker sees the hider before they make it home, the hider loses.

There are no rules to what the home base can be, although something harder to defend, such as a tree (that is round and high), can make the game enjoyable.

Benefits of Playing Hide and Seek

There are several benefits to playing hide and seek for both children and adults.

1. Helps Develop Social Behaviors

In 2003, a study observed children aged 3 to 5 playing hide and seek and noted the children’s social and cognitive abilities.

The study indicated that hide and seek may help develop a child’s social behaviors because the game required keeping a secret. The older the child, the higher their ability to keep a secret, highlighting the development of a child’s mental state in a social world.

2. Encourages Physical Exercise

Both children and adults need exercise, and playing hide and seek is a fun and exciting way to get that essential exercise in. It’s also an effective way to teach children about being active at a young age to encourage better habits as they develop.

3. Boosts Creativity

Finding places to hide can boost the creativity of children as they assess their surroundings. Looking for a good spot to hide from others is a great way to stimulate their imagination and creativity skills.

4. Learn Sportsmanship

Learning the concept of good sportsmanship can help children not become too emotional after “losing”. While there is not much wrong with being competitive, hide and seek is meant to be fun for everyone, and good sportsmanship is crucial.

5. Improves Problem-Solving Skills

Playing hide and seek encourages children to multi-task and find solutions. They must also look at things from different perspectives. Evaluating hiding places to weigh the risks sounds complicated, but it’s an aspect that comes with playing hide and seek.

6. Quality Family Time

Sometimes being an adult can be hectic, and unlocking your inner child can help bring back old memories, tapping into happiness. Hide and seek is a fantastic game to play with the whole family, triggering relaxation and happines.

Final Thoughts

As you can tell, hide and seek may be a basic game with simple rules, but with a few variations thrown into the mix, it’s a fun game for the whole family to enjoy.

The benefits are pretty obvious too, so why not invite some friends over and play a few rounds of hide and seek in the backyard right now!

 

How to play the hide and seek game

 
Thomas Dunnett

The backyard is the perfect place to bond with family and friends, to have a good time, or to simply relax with some fresh air and a bit of sunshine. With this website I am hoping to share my passion for the backyard with you.

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