Kick the Can is a game that has been popular since the 1930s. It combines tag, hide and seek, and capture the flag into one exciting game. Any age group can enjoy this game, and it can be played with as few as 3 or over 20 players. To get your game of Kick the Can started off right, you'll need to organize players and the field, doing things like establishing boundaries and setting up a jail for caught players. After that, playing the game is relatively simple, and there are variations you can use to keep this game fresh.
Part One of Three:
Organizing Players and the FieldEdit
1Gather together players. You'll need at least three people to play, but this game can involve many players. With a large enough space and enough hiding spots, you could play with well over 20 players.
- Get together a group of kids from your neighborhood, from school, or from after school clubs to play this game with you.
- Invite kids your age you see playing alone to come play Kick the Can. Say something like, "Hey, we're going to play a group game called Kick the Can. Would you like to play?"
2Find a soda can or bottle. Bottles and cans are the typical choice for this game, but you can use anything that could be safely kicked some distance. Other options include balls, small trash cans, small boxes, plastic cones, a plastic bucket, and so on.
- Give your item a few trial kicks. You don't want it to go too far or too short. Choose an object that can be kicked a medium distance.
- You may want to put some rocks into your item. Doing this to items like cans, bottles, and boxes can help you adjust the distance an object is kicked.
3Determine the boundaries of your game. The best play ares will be large, with plenty of hiding places. Playgrounds and parks work great, as do cul-de-sac streets (which are closed off at one end). Clearly agree on the boundaries of your play area with all players.
- Natural features, like tree-lines, large rocks, and paths are a great way of clearly outlining the boundaries of your play area.
- If one of your boundaries is unclear, use other items, like branches, rocks, hats, cones, and so on to mark it.
4Designate a jail area. The jail is where players go when they're caught by the seeker. Your jail, much like your playing area, should have clearly defined boundaries. Some common places used for the jail include decks, patios, benches, porches, and so on.
- If you don't have a clearly defined jail in your play area, make one by arranging branches, stones, cones, and more to form its boundaries.
- The jail should be large enough to fit as many players are playing, but not much larger than that.
5Pick the seeker and agree on a count time. Use rock, paper, scissors to select the seeker or use whatever method you prefer. No matter how many players there are, there is only one seeker per game. After that, agree with other players on the time the seeker will count before searching for hiders.
- The more time you have to hide, the more likely it is hiders will have a better hiding place. Use longer count times for the seeker for longer, more challenging games.
- Short count times can add an fast paced aspect to this game. If you and your friends like quick games, choose short count times.
6Set up the can. Alternatively, set up the item you're using in place of the can. Arrange this item in a central location in your playing area. This location should be wide open and difficult to sneak up on.
- You may want to locate your can close to your jail. This way, if the can is kicked, the seeker will have to run towards the jail while jailed players are running away.
Part Two of Three:
Playing Kick the CanEdit
1Hide while the seeker counts. The seeker begins close to where the can/item has been set up. Their eyes should be closed as they count to the number decided beforehand. All other players should find a hiding spot while the seeker is counting.
- When the seeker finishes counting, they can search for the other players.
2Go to jail when caught by the seeker. For the seeker to catch someone, they have to call out the hider's name and hiding spot. Then the hider and the seeker race back to the can. If the seeker arrives first, the hider is in jail. If the hider gets there first, they must kick the can.
- There are many variations of Kick the Can. One of the most common has the seeker running to tag players out after calling out their name and location. Hiders should still try to kick the can.
3Reset the game when the can is kicked. After the can is kicked, the hider runs to find a new hiding place while the seeker gets the can and places it back where it was. All jailed players are freed when a hider kicks the can.
- Since a hider kicking the can releases jailed players, the seeker should be strategic in guarding the can. Try to keep an eye on it to prevent hiders from sneaking up on it.
- Depending on your house rules, sometimes the seeker only needs to set up the can again before searching, other times the seeker counts again before the game continues.
4Play until only one hider remains. The last hider is winner. You might want to set an overall time limit for each round of the game so that the seeker doesn't have to search for too long. Set a 15 or 30 minute timer or use an alarm on your phone.
- Some versions of the game go until the seeker catches all hiders. In this case, the seeker is considered the winner.
Part Three of Three:
1Add more seekers to your game. This can be especially fun if you are playing with a large group of people. However, you might want to make a rule that seekers can't wait around the jail or babysit the can. The number of seekers you add depends on your preference.
- Even with fewer than 20 players, 2 seekers can balance the game. This way, seekers can split between offense (seeking) and defense (protecting the can).
- If you choose to add seekers to the game, you might also want to increase the number of cans for each additional seeker. For example, a 2 seeker game might have 2 cans.
2Have seekers tag players. This can add a thrilling pursuit aspect to this game. Instead of having seekers beat hiders to the can, have them tag hiders instead. Tagged players should go, as per usual, to jail.
3Play in the dark with flashlights. Playing in the dark can be dangerous, so you should make sure your parent or guardian knows and is OK with you doing this beforehand. This version of the game uses no can, as it would be difficult to locate a kicked can in the dark. Instead:
- Equip seekers with flashlights. Tag people out by shining the light on them and calling their name.
- Release people from jail by having hiders tag jailed players.
- Choose a jail in a well lit location, like a porch, so seekers can see potential jailbreaks.
4Contest the can. This variation requires you to split players into two teams. In the middle of a hardtop area, place your can. Draw a large circle around it with a piece of chalk. Have teams stand an equal distance from the can on opposite sides. Then:
- Flip a coin to determine which team goes first.
- Take turns rolling a soft ball at the can to knock it over. Each team should have a ball.
- The first team to knock over the can must run to it and set it up again with only their feet. Only one active player can be in the circle at a time.
- The opposing team can freeze players trying to set up the can by hitting them with their ball.
- The game continues until the can is set up or all the players on one team are frozen.
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Can kick the can be a relay?Answered by wikiHow Contributor
- It is a good idea to limit the amount of time one person has to be "it," like a "relay" of who's it. Three hours being stuck as "it" gets boring. People should take turns every 1/2 hour or so, then the game stays fun for everyone.
Can I play it with only two or three people?Answered by Snowie1
- Yes, but you will need to modify the game. If the person who is "it" kicks the can, they get the point. If the hider kicks it, he gets a point. Tally up the scores, and play 10 (or any other agreed-upon number of) rounds. The one with the most points wins.
Is it better to play at night or day?Answered by wikiHow Contributor
- The time of day you play Kick the Can is a matter of preference. Each have their own challenges. At night, be sure you have your parents permission first before playing. Also, when playing at night, you might want to use the flashlight-tag technique explained in "Trying Variations," as you will not be able to see kicked cans easily at night.
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