37. Hide and seek

I can’t believe I am nearly finished and I have not described Hide and Seek. It is the quintessential children’s game, so maybe that is because I have assumed everybody knows how to play hide and seek. But don’t overlook it as an option for family time. Sometimes the oldies are the best.

First, you pick someone to be “It” (the person to seek) then he or she turns around and counts with their eyes closed at the “base” while the rest of the people hide.  We usually count to twenty with the word ‘Elephant’ in between- so ‘One, Elephant; Two, elephant; Three, elephant and so and so on.

Then, after counting to twenty, “It” says “Ready or Not, Here I Come!” and rushes to find everyone. Normally in our version we use the run of our house. Hide and Seek is often played if we are renting a holiday cottage or in a strange place. It’s a good way to suss out the lay of a new property and any nooks and crannies it may contain. However home and garden is just as good. Needs must!

Obviously it is a good idea to define the area that people have to hide in before you start. If there are any precious objects, for example, these rooms should be out of bounds, and it is a good idea to limit the seeking space to a well-defined area like ‘inside the house’ or ‘only in the back garden’.

This game is best played indoors only but if playing this game outside check all played understand what the geographic boundaries are that you have set. Under no circumstances let them roam as far as they like during this game. You may never see them again…

Once the player who is ‘It’ looks for the suspects the rest of the players try to get to base without getting tagged or else they are “It” themselves. The first person that is found by “It” will be the “It”  in the next round. When each person is found they then help “It” find the others that are still hiding. Once you have only one person left hiding, that person is the soul survivor and has won that round of Hide and Seek.

Another variation on the rules I have heard is to say when you finally find the people, “Manhunt, Manhunt, 123′. In this case you have to hold onto them long enough to say, the line, which could introduce problems for younger and female participants, but might work at a party, perhaps. Overall, Hide and Seek is a fun game to play with a group more that 4 or 5. The more the better.

Sardines, which I actually prefer, involves a slightly different version of these rules, and can be adapted to most environments. But Sardines is better for bigger groups than families.