children Games

Hide The Thimble or 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 so well. We usually didn’t have a real key to hide, but would use a piece of plastic or something small that was laying around handy.

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
    September 5, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    When I was a little girl my uncles played a game with my brother and me and they called it “Riddle, Mariddle, Marie. One would pick out an object in the room and not tell anyone what it was. Then he would say.. riddle mariddle marie I see something that you don’t see. Everyone else would try to guess the object seen.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    September 5, 2018 at 11:52 am

    We called it Hide the Thimble. We played an outdoors game called Drop the Handkerchief. Everyone stood in a circle,
    while the person who was “IT” walked around and around behind our backs, finally dropping a handkerchief behind someone and started running. That someone had to pick up the handkerchief and try to catch IT before IT got to the empty spot where the someone had been. If he caught IT, then IT had to be IT again. If not, the person with the handkerchief was the new IT.

    • Reply
      September 5, 2018 at 8:58 pm

      Anne,so glad you shared that about the drop the handkerchief game . I hadn’t remembered it until your description, but we did play this.. a looooooong time ago . Fun to reminisce.

  • Reply
    September 5, 2018 at 11:43 am

    My mother had thimbles to fit every finger including her thumb. I have watched her sew with one on her thumb, middle finger and ring finger. We weren’t allowed to play with her thimbles. We didn’t have keys in our first house because the doors didn’t have locks and we had no vehicle. We did play Button Button because we had plenty of them. Mommy saved the buttons off of every worn out garment we had.

  • Reply
    Nancy Hofmeister
    September 5, 2018 at 9:39 am

    In rural Iowa, we played Hide the Thimble!

  • Reply
    harry adams
    September 5, 2018 at 8:23 am

    We played hide the thimble at church sometimes, but we would stand in a circle with hands behind our back and the person in the circle would have to guess who had it. Once the thimble was given to a person he would pass to the next person. Of course he could only make the motion of passing it. We were 7 or 8 when this was played.

  • Reply
    September 5, 2018 at 7:55 am

    Since my sister and I had only the two of us at home, we changed the “Button, Button, Who’s got the button” game to “Button, Button, Lost my Button” and searched for a button we took turns hiding. Once in a blue moon we’d turn up a button that had truly gone missing ~.
    For groups, the “Button, Button” game is similar to “Who stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar?” but the “cookie” game is rhythmic.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    September 5, 2018 at 7:41 am

    We used to play button, button who’s got the button. Now that I think back it was also a choosing game

  • Reply
    aw griff
    September 5, 2018 at 7:39 am

    We never played hide the thimble in my family but a very good friend told me that he played it and still played it when he visited his Aunt. This friend had child like qualities all his life.
    One day while sitting in my easy chair I looked up at a peg on the wall and there was a thimble hanging on it. My friend had put it there months before. So I have played hide the thimble at least once.

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