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How to Play Kick the Can? (Step-by-step Guide)

Kick the Can is a classic outdoor game combining hide-and-seek elements, tag, and capture the flag. It is a simple, fun-filled game that requires physical agility and strategic thinking.

With origins dating back to the early 20th century, Kick the Can has been a popular game among children worldwide. It was often played in neighborhoods or schoolyards where a can and space to hide were readily available, providing an exciting and cost-free recreational activity.

Kick the Can is not just a game but an excellent means to promote physical activity amongst children and adults who are always glued to their screens.

Besides encouraging physical fitness, it offers opportunities for players to develop skills like teamwork, strategy creation, and communication, as the game requires close interaction between team members.

Who Can Play Kick the Can?

Although the game is suitable for a broad range of ages, its simplicity makes it ideal for children aged 6-11. However, adults looking for a nostalgic experience or a fun way to bond with children can also participate.

Kick the Can is best enjoyed with a larger group. The game requires a minimum of three players, but there isn’t a fixed maximum limit. Ideally, six to 20 people make for a fun, dynamic game.

Game Requirements for Playing Kick the Can

Kick the Can generally requires an outdoor area large enough for players to hide and run around but still within viable sight lines for the one who’s ‘It.’ This could be a backyard, a playground, or a large indoor space if needed.

The materials required for the game are minimal – essentially, you need a can or a similar object that can be tipped or kicked and a spacious area to play.

Place the can in an open, central spot to set up the game area. This area serves as the ‘jail’ or the ‘can-zone.’

Ensure plenty of hiding spots for the ‘hiders/runners.’ The space should be hazard-free, and all boundaries should be clearly defined and communicated to all players before the start of the game.

Step-by-Step Guide to Play Kick the Can

How to Play Kick the Can?
How to Play Kick the Can?

Choosing the ‘It’ Player

Choose who will be the initial ‘It’ player by using a counting-out game or any random selection method agreed upon by all players.

Setting Up the ‘Can’ and the ‘Base’

Place the can or selected object as the’ base’ in a visible, central area. Make sure all players know the location of the base.

Gameplay Process

  1. The ‘It’ Player Counting – The ‘It’ player stands at the base and begins counting to a predetermined number, allowing other players time to scatter and hide.
  2. Hiding and Seeking – Once the ‘It’ player has finished counting, they search for hidden players, leaving the can unattended.
  3. Captures and Jail – When the ‘It’ player sees someone, they race back to the can, touch it, and declare the name of the seen player. The spotted player is then sent to jail.
  4. Attempting to Kick the Can – While the ‘It’ player is searching for others or escorting a seen player to jail, those not yet captured can try to free their teammates by kicking the can without being spotted or captured. Once the can is kicked, captured players are set free to hide again, and the can is reset back to the base.

Winning the Game

The ‘It’ player wins the game by capturing all the other players in the prison. If a player kicks the can and frees any captured players, the round continues with the same ‘It’ player. After an ‘It’ player wins, a new round begins with that person or a new ‘It’ player.

How to Play “Kick the Can” – Old School Version

While variations exist, the old-school version of “Kick the Can” is simple and follows a basic format. Here’s a step-by-step guide.

Needed Equipment

  • A can or similar object that can be kicked safely.

Selecting the Play Area

Pick an outdoor area with enough space for players to hide and run. A centrally located base should be denoted where the can is placed. Also, set up a ‘jail’ area nearby.

Steps to Play

  1. Setup: Place the can at the base.
  2. Counting: The ‘It’ player closes their eyes and counts to an agreed number while the other players hide.
  3. Seeking and Capturing: The ‘It’ player then vacates the can to search for the hidden players. If they see someone, they return to the can, touch it, and call the player’s name. That player must then go to ‘jail.’
  4. Rescue: At the same time, hidden players aim to run out of their hiding spots and attempt to kick the can before they are spotted and named. If someone is successful, all the jailed players are rescued, and everyone has to hide again.

Final Thoughts

As with any physical game, always remember to prioritize safety and mutual respect above all. Play fair, play safe, and most importantly, have fun.

The significance of “Kick the Can” lies not in competition but in the laughter, thrill, and excitement you get.

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