Appalachia Games

Hide The Key

Hide The Key

One of our favorite games to play when I was a young child was Hide The Key. As I look back its hard for me to believe we played the game so often and that it entertained us all. We usually didn’t have a real key to hide, but would use a piece of plastic or metal just whatever was laying around.

Everyone would go out of the room, leaving one person behind to hide the key. We agreed the key had to be somewhere in that room. Once the key was hidden, the rest of the bunch could come back and start searching. As everyone looked for the key, the person who hid it would tell us if we were hot or cold. Hot meaning we were close to the key-cold meaning we were no where near it.

According to the Foxfire 6 Book the game was also called Hide The Thimble and Hiding A Needle In A Haystack. A variation of the game called for hiding a handkerchief. The game was called Lost My Handkerchief. During the game the person who hid the handkerchief would call out:

I lost my handkerchief yesterday
I found it today
All full of mud
And I threw it away.

Then everyone else would try to find the handkerchief.

Did you ever play hide the key or any of the other variations?


*Sources Foxfire 6


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  • Reply
    RB Redmond
    April 20, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    We played the Hot/Cold Game after hiding a variety of things – maybe a barrette or a bracelet.
    One game that we played inside for hours we called Blowing the Feather where we’d pick a small down feather out of a pillow or feather tick, and blow it up in the air to each other without touching it with our hands and without it touching the ground. If it touched the ground, the last one who blew it was out, and people were eliminated from the group until there were only two. Real fun came when someone inhaled the feather instead of blowing it – like sometimes you’d take a big breath to give it a real good blow, and you’d suck it in instead – coughing and sputtering and spitting it out. We’d laugh and laugh, but then we’d have to go get another feather. LOL It was good cheap fun on a rainy day!!!
    God bless.

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    April 20, 2013 at 12:38 am

    We played Hot and Cold, warm, cooler, etc….When we had to hide Easter eggs in the house due to cold, wet rainy Easters.
    I think that is when an egg would get lost til the next year! We played I spy when we were little, but my boys insisted that I write down the item on a piece of paper and folding it over to prove when they got it right so their Dad, Mom or brother wouldn’t change the object of color…Whhhaaattt, we never cheated! he he he
    We also played another game that I remember or is it part of Mother May I….Red Light Green Light…I’m pretty sure it is a separate game…Mother may I, Yes, you may take three steps, then call the next and next..if they forget to say Mother may I they couldn’t move or had to go back two steps…I think Red light, Green light was sort of on the same design…but more running involed to the base where the caller of red light, green light was standing…
    Cold here today and think this must be some type of winter I have forgotten! HE HE
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    April 19, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    We also played “I Spy”.

  • Reply
    April 19, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    I recon about everybody played “I
    Spy” growing up. That was a fun
    game and no one got hurt. Don’t
    remember anything about a key
    hiding event.
    Last night I didn’t sleep a wink,
    watching them Crazies on the news.
    Hope this rain is over…Ken

  • Reply
    Brenda Kay Ledford
    April 19, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    This sounds like a fun game. I never played it as a child. We did play “Drop the Hankerchief,” “Red Rover,” “Mother May I?” and jumped rope and played jacks alot, and we also would play tag and recess. My, your posting brings back so many wonderful childhood memories.
    I hope you are doing well and I’m sure by now getting that garden planted. What a lovely spring we are having here in the mountains. Have a great weekend.

  • Reply
    April 19, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    I don’t remember ever hiding the key but it did make me remember guess cakes. That is when the baker would hide an item in the cake and everyone would have to guess what it was. Lucky for them, back in the day we didn’t have so many items. I think I miss those days. Maybe not.

  • Reply
    April 19, 2013 at 9:32 am

    We just called in “Hot or Cold” – if we were in a silly mood or had just re-read Treasure Island or Swiss Family Robinson we sometimes would call it a treasure hunt and the person who hid it would squawk ‘warmer”, “colder”, “hot” or “cold” like a pirates parrot.
    What about games like “hot potato”, “Button, Button who’s Got the Button” or “Who stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar”?
    Your column always triggers pleasant memories. Thanks!!

  • Reply
    April 19, 2013 at 8:33 am

    I like the sounds of that game. I have never played it, but it might be fun to play with my granddaughter the next time I visit. I have really enjoyed reading about all of these games.

  • Reply
    sheryl P aul
    April 19, 2013 at 8:01 am

    No, but it sounds like a good rainy day game.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    April 19, 2013 at 7:33 am

    There’s a variant of this game which we played – “I spy”.
    The object had to be in the room and in plain sight. Someone would select an item, and give a clue, such as “I spy something blue”
    The goal of the selector was to select something which was both obvious and yet obscure. The goal of those doing the spying was to hone in without additional hints other than “warmer” or “colder”
    The longer it took – and the more obvious the answer was once it was known, the greater the satisfaction of the person doing the selecting. In the example of “I spy something blue” – it could be the color of someone’s eyes, a bruised shin, or the ink from a blue pen. Color wasn’t the only choice of a clue, but probably the most common.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    April 19, 2013 at 7:24 am

    We never had keys when I was a little kid. We didn’t have a car and the house doors didn’t have locks. We played the game however, calling it Hide the Button or Hide the Thimble, I think. When Missy was little I played it with her. She’d bring me something to hide and say “Daddy lets play Hot and Cold.”
    We also played “I spy with my little eye” and used the same hot and cold component in it too.

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