Hide and seek

From Academic Kids


Hide and seek (sometimes also called hide and go seek) is a popular tag variant that is best played in areas with lots of potential hiding spots, such as a forest or a large house. The game starts with all players in a central location. "It" covers their eyes or uses some other method to avoid seeing the other players while they count out loud for a predetermined number of seconds, often with the aid of a word that takes about one second to say (e.g., "one-alligator, two-alligator . . ." or "one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi . . ."). Meanwhile, the other players hide. It announces when they have finished counting by shouting a phrase such as "Ready or not, here I come!" They then try to find the hiding players. The next "it" is either the first or the last player found, depending on the rules agreed to by the players.

Players may move to other hiding spots while "it" isn't looking. Those who can remain hidden the longest are considered the best players.


  • Hiding players may be "tagged" simply by being spotted by "it,"
  • Or they may give chase once they are spotted, forcing "it" to run them down and tag them.
  • In some variants, if the hiding player makes it safely "home" (typically to a gatepost), they can no longer be caught. In this case, the first or last person home is the next "it", depending on local rules. If nobody makes it home "it" remains the same. This variant was known is some parts of southern England as Tin Can Alley. In a similar variant, when "it" spots a player, the player and "it" immediately run a race to home. If the player touches the object specified as home before "it" does, then the player is not considered to be caught. Conversely, if "it" touches home before the player does, then the player is caught.

"It" may give up, of course, or the game may have some form of "game over" rule. A common way of doing this is to shout "Alley, alley, oxen free!" or "Ollie, Ollie, oxen free!" – probably a corruption of the German "Alle, alle auch sind frei", lit. "Everyone, everyone also is free"). Another variant in the US Midwest is "Ollie, Ollie, in come free". Ollie might be a corruption of "all ye".


In the variant known as sardines, only one player hides while all the rest count. All the counting players then split up and each searches for the one player hiding. When a searcher find the hiding player, they join in hiding in the same hiding place. The game is over when the last player finds all the others. They are the loser of the game and generally the next one to hide (although sometimes this role is given to the first to have found the original hiding place). Often times "Sardines" is played in the dark.de:Verstecken sv:Kurragömma


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