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Kids playing Kick the Can outside



Play Kick the Can with three or more friends in any outdoor area that has places to hide, day or night.   The object of the game is to put all the players in “jail”, capturing them by identifying them in their hiding spots. 


Once a player is “jailed” the only way to be freed is for another player to beat the “IT” person to the can and kick it.


To Start:

Select a spot for the can.  The “can” should be an actual can or anything that can be kicked a distance.  The can’s spot should be near something that can be a jail such as a front porch, bench, etc.


Determine the neighborhood boundaries for the game and make sure everyone understands that is where they must hide.  Players may not hide inside and anyone who gets caught entering a house is automatically caught.


Who is “IT”?

One player is selected to be “IT” and that person is challenged to find everyone.  To determine who is “IT” have all players put their feet in a circle.  One leader uses a rhyme to disqualify players until only one player is left.  The leader touches one foot in the circle for each word. Here is an example:


Bubble gum, bubble gum in a dish.

How many pieces do you wish?”


The player’s foot the leader lands on is the one who gets to pick a number.  The leader counts out that number and then says “… and you are out.”   The player that is landed on for the final word does not have to be “IT”.  The rhyme continues until only one person is left – that player is “IT”.


The leader or the last person “IT” kicks the can to start a new game and everyone scrambles to hide.  Once the “IT” person replaces the can in its spot, he or she can begin searching for players. 


Playing the Game:

To capture a player, the “IT” person must call out their name and hiding place while stepping on or touching the can.  The players must come to jail if the “IT” person is correct.  If they are not correct, the person can step out and declare that they had the wrong player and have time to hide again. 


As players are captured, the jail will fill up.  Once the “IT” person has captured all the players, the game renews with the first player captured becoming the “IT” person.


If a player tried to kick the can, the “IT” person must race to the can first and call out their name.  If the player beats them and kicks the can, all the players in jail are freed and the “IT” person must start again. 


The best hiders are usually those left to kick the can.  Players can not stay in one spot forever if all the players are in jail. 

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