Number of players: 6+
Ages: 4+
Space: a whole house (preferably with a lot of rooms) or playground.

The other night my daughter suggested we play sardines. At first I thought she said, “Eat sardines” and I was shocked. At the ripe old age of 40, I’d never heard of the game sardines before. My daughter then proceeded to teach me this game that’s been around for generations. She’s a chip off the old block.

Sardines is a game of hide and seek that reverses some of the usual methods of playing the game. Instead of covering his eyes and counting, the person chosen to be “it” hides herself while all the other players stay at the base, or starting point.

While one of the players counts to one hundred, all the players cover their eyes or stay enclosed in one room allowing the “it” player to hide. After counting, they start out hunting for the hider. Any player discovering the hiding player must, after making sure nobody saw him, hide in the same space as the hider. If necessary, the player has to linger around the hiding space inconspicuously until there are no other players around. If there’s no room to hide in that space, the player must sit in plain sight near the hiding place.

Of course the more people that can fit in the hiding space the better, which is where the game gets his name. Trying to hide a large group of people who are mashed together in close quarters can get really funny, and the large group is usually found because of their giggling rather than being seen.

My daughter played this in the basement of a large church with her Girl Scout Troup, and the game lasted for almost an hour, with ten giggling 11 year olds hiding beneath a huge pile of donated clothes.