Once Upon a Game – “Burned”

Today I bring you another one of the games I used to play as a child. I taught it to my daughters at the beginning of last Summer, and they absolutely loved it! Well, the fact that mommy was jumping around with them and making them giggle, might also have something to do with why they liked it so much :).

Once Upon a Game - Burned

Burned is a simple yard game that plays on balance and accuracy. It is quite fun and is sure to have those kids moving… and laughing!

Materials: All you need for these game is a piece of sidewalk chalk, a stick or masking tape.

Setting: Burned can be played outside on the yard (concrete or dirt) or indoors (in a spacious room).

Goal of the game: To reach the end of the “circuit” without stepping on the lines or skipping any squares.

Instructions: First, you need to find a spacious area, free of obstacles, in which the students can hop around without getting hurt.

When you find your game area, draw a rectangle on the ground. If you are outdoors, you can either use chalk or a stick (to draw on dirt). If you are indoors, use the masking tape for nice straight lines 🙂

Then, divide your rectangle in several different sections. You should use a minimum of nine sections (3×3). There really is not a limit on the maximum sections you could add. Traditionally, the game is played with 9 to 12 sections.

Write numbers in each section of the rectangle. Write START outside of the number 1, and FINISH outside of the last number.

Once Upon a Game - Burned

The students should line up and take turns playing.

Each student closes his/her eyes and hops from section to section. Every time the student hops, he/she shouts: “Did I burn?”, to which the remaining students reply yes or no, depending on whether the student landed on the right section and/or stepped on a line.

Once Upon a Game - Burned

If the student did not get burned (landed on the correct section and did not step on the line), then he/she closes his/her eyes and tries for the next section. This goes on until he/she gets burned or reaches the finish line.

Once Upon a Game - Burned

If the student got burned, then he/she goes to the back of the line and lets another student take his/her turn.

When a student has a chance at a new turn, he/she starts from the last section they were on. For example, if Amy got burned trying to reach number 4, whenever she gets a turn again, she restarts on number 3.

Once Upon a Game - Burned

Once Upon a Game - Burned

The game goes on in this fashion until at least one student reaches the end. Sometimes, my daughters and I like to be a little more lenient on each other, and we only deem the game has ended, when all of us get to the finish 🙂 Other times, we decide that it is too easy and we restart the game hopping on one foot only.

Once Upon a Game - Burned

Here’s a quick video of my girls playing it. The pixelated portion at the end was purposely done to protect their identities 🙂


Curriculum applications: You could adapt this game to review a variety of curriculum. Here are some simple suggestions:

  • You could have your students shout the numbers as they hop along.
  • You could make the “circuit” bigger and replace the numbers with the alphabet letters. Then you can have them chant the alphabet as they go.
  • You could write simple math facts in each square and have them chant the fact and say the solution before they hop to the next square.

I hope you enjoyed reading about this game. If you try it with your students and blog about it, please feel free to leave a link to your blog post on the comments area. I would love to hear all about your experiences with this game 🙂

Take care,


Always a Teacher & Forever a Mom

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