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Hide the Thimble

Game in which one person places an object in plain sight or concealed and two or more other players try to find it.

Try to find the thimble out, / Use your eyes and look about, / Look before and look behind, / And when you find it, just sit down. – Games Without Music for Children, 1897.

In Little House on the Prairie, Laura and Mary amuse themselves by playing indoor games during the gray winter days. One of the games they play is Hide the Thimble. Laura Ingalls Wilder doesn’t tell the reader the rules of the game, but it is a simple one. While one or more players are out of the room or not looking, a thimble or other small trinket – often a handkerchief is used – is placed somewhere in the room, usually in plain sight but not in an easy location to spot. The players try to find the object by walking about the room. In the rules above, a player who has spotted the object sits down quietly to indicate they have located it. In some instances, a player is “helped” with the task by being told they are “warm” or “warmer” if they are approaching where the object is hidden, or told they are “cold” or “colder” if they are walking away from it. This is especially helpful when playing the game with younger children. There can be many qualifiers used; for example, a person might be “burning hot” if they are standing right over the object without seeing it, or “ice cold” if they are as far from it in the room as they can get.

The person who first finds the hidden object is the one who hides it for the next game.


Hide the Thimble (LHP 20)