Hopscotch is ALIIIIIVE with the Kindergarteners at Mimsey's school. It's not just the girls either, at her school it's an activity for the boys too! They don't play exactly by the rules (give 'em a break, they're 5) but they LOVE throwing the markers even if they don't exactly know why they're doing it. Unfortunately, unless a someone brings markers (one super cool dad at her school let them use his keys once *shocked face*) they don't get to do it too often.
I looked into getting some Chinese Jacks, which was what we used when I was in elementary school. Do you remember them? Little plastic rings that we hooked together to make a donut shaped marker (and necklaces, earrings, bracelets... they were pretty awesome!). I found a package of 200 rings on Amazon for $30 and almost fell out of my chair... That package used to be $2 at the drugstore (and a loaf of bread only cost a nickel, and they paid YOU to haul the gasoline away...). 200 rings would make about 5 hopscotch markers, so the cost was just not worth it to me.
But it did make me think that I could make something else they could use.
Frankenstein's Monster hopscotch markers!
They don't have to be Frankenstein's Monster, of course, but it's fun and Halloween-y and hey, boys would dig it and I never make anything boys like...
(also, these are fun little beanbags, and you don't have to use them solely as hopscotch markers. Mims has been throwing them around in the living room, and Jake used them to juggle, so they're just fun to play with without having to hop around...)
Hopscotch Markers (Frankenstein's Monster version)
Embroidery floss (Green, Black and Pink. Don't split the floss, just use all 6 strands)
Size C crochet hook (use a Susan Bates hook if your Boye hook splits the thread too much)
Tapestry needle (for embroidering and weaving in ends)
Poly-pellets for filling the marker (you know, the filling they use for hackey-sacks... You can get it at big box craft stores... You only need a little, so print a coupon before you go...)
Using green embroidery floss ch 20, sl st to first ch to form a ring (be careful not to twist your stitches)
R1: ch 1, sc in each ch space, sl st to first st to finish round (20 st)
R2-9: (from now on work without joining rounds, amigurumi-style) sc in each stitch around (20 st)
R10: change to black, sc in each st around (20 st)
R11-13: sc in each st around (20 st)
Fasten off. Leave a 5" tail.
Using a small amount of pink embroidery floss, add a mouth to the front. Use black embroidery floss to add the eyes. Now you can sew the bottom of the head up! Use a whipstitch to close the bottom.
Add the poly-pellets! It won't take very many. Then you can use the tail end that you left when you finished the hair to whipstitch the top of the head closed. You're done! Take them outside to play!
**A commentary on embroidery floss as used in a crochet project: The Franken-marker on the left has been played with and is now soft and squishy. The Franken-marker on the right has also been played with, but it seems to be still holding it's square shape... The one on the left was made with cheap, bulk pack floss, and the one on the right was made with higher quality, but more expensive, DMC floss... For the Frankenstein Monsters it doesn't matter, but I thought it was interesting and worth pointing out...**