30. Hopping match

Hopping Match, or Hopping Mad as it is also known, is a fun race game that is well suited to an indoor environment. The rules of the game are simple. First a course is set, which should be approximately 10-20 meters in length. If you have an open-plan house or apartment, hopping between the living room and the kitchen area and back should suffice. We use a course that starts by touching a sofa, then of hopping to the kitchen touching a chair, then returning to the sofa and touching to finish. Other versions have involved hopping the length of the garden and back. It is a good idea to touch a starting marker, and touch a finishing marker which is situated at body height. This ensures players do not cheat with the distances involved. Body height means easy to access by hand when you are hopping.

Each player has to hop between the start touch marker (in our case the sofa) the halfway touch marker (if there is such a marker, in our case it is the kitchen chair) and the finish marker (in our case the sofa).

Players are timed using a stopwatch, phone, ipad or similar device. each player takes it in turn to time the others, and each player takes it in turn to hop the course. The challenge is then to get the fastest hop time, and also if it is clear some participants are faster than others, to beat your own personal best. Three rounds of Hopping Match should be enough for most adults although kids may wish to continue. If so put yourself on timer duties. Much easier!

This game can be varied in multiple ways to make it more interesting once the basic game has been played. Hopping backwards is an obvious one. We do hopping backwards and forwards as our course involves a change of direction. Another good tactic is to run the first set of the competition as described above then have a second phase on the wrong foot- you’d be surprised how hard this actually is, and how uncomfortable it feels.

Another  idea is to add obstacles to the course. I have never tried this, it is as much as I can manage to get round at all. In fact it is an idea, but not necessarily a good idea. One thing we have done with this activity is to combine it with some improvised sporting commentary. This tends to be along the lines of Ski Sunday or similar sporting event with a presenter with a microphone (usually the TV remote doubles up) announcing the racers, introducing the championships etc.  This also allows you to have an awards ceremony at the end. In all our family time activities we always finish with the announcement of the winner (where there is one) and everyone claps. Except when family members are in a mood for some reason.

Invariably I finish last in this game, as  I do in any game that involves any kind of physical activity. But don’t dwell on it! I have said many times that with family time the aim really is to have fun, not to win.