Over the years I have often told children that Hide & Seek is an outdoor game. Yes, I personally remember enjoying many wonderful indoor games of Hide & Seek but they were held in a much larger building with multiple rooms. The confined space of our little playroom does make it difficult to play a traditional game of Hide & Seek – there are not really any good places for even a little person to hide.
My current group of preschoolers often initiate indoor games that they call ‘Hide & Seek’ but I always end up redirecting them. The problem really is that their energy level makes their game unsuitable for our indoor space – they do not play according to traditional rules.
In their game of ‘Hide & Seek’ the three of them together choose a ‘hiding spot’. Then two of them crawl into ‘sleeping bags’ (old pillow cases that are kept with the dress-up clothes/blankets) while the third child goes to the other side of the room, covers his eyes and counts to 10. He then shouts ‘ready or not, here I come’, runs across the room and jumps on the two ‘hiding’ boys. This is then followed by fits of laughter and a group decision as to who hides and who seeks for the next round.
*Sigh*. This is not Hide & Seek. This is rough and tumble play that they call hide & seek because they know that I will say running and jumping games are outdoor games. If I say Hide & Seek is an outdoor game they will argue – and they will be correct – Hide & Seek can be played indoors – but their game cannot even if they call it Hide & Seek.
So why won’t I allow this game? It is a cooperative game and the three playing are in agreement – for now – but there are other, smaller children who are not. They do occasionally try to join, or just get in the way and someone always gets hurt. I will allow this type of play outdoors – but there is simply not enough space indoors for the reward to outweigh the risk.
So, I suggested that they could take turns hiding a small toy instead – there are many places to hide small toys. They thought this was a terrific idea and immediately chose one of the six stuffed squirrels. I was somewhat concerned that this would cause confusion if someone ‘found’ one of the five squirrels that were not hidden but that wasn’t a problem.
The real problem was that none of the boys could resist telling the others where the squirrel was hidden. Two would sit in the corner and cover their eyes while the third hid the squirrel. Then as soon as the two seekers stood up to search the hider would say “It’s over there” and point to the hiding spot. The other two would race to the location and whomever grabbed the squirrel first would be the hider – and would hide the squirrel in exactly the same spot that it was hidden in before round after round after round. *sigh*
So, I suggested that I should be the hider and all of them could be the seekers – I also chose to hide a small stuffed bear that wasn’t normally in the playroom. They covered their eyes and giggled while I hid the bear. When I said it was hidden they came out of the corner and bounced around asking me where it was. I told them to look for it. After searching for nearly a minute they began lamenting “This is so hard”.
I smiled and said. “This is Hide and Seek – indoor style”. The excitement when they did actually find the bear was priceless. 🙂 This is now their favourite game. Sometimes they become engaged in other activities before the bear gets found. If at any point I need to redirect their behaviour then all I have to do is ask if they’ve found the bear yet and they all begin searching again.
Hide and Seek might be my favourite game too.