How to Play ‘Chair Hat Toss’, The Safest Indoor Throwing Game Ever

It's also the easiest to set up.

by Dave Baldwin

Looking for fun indoor game to play with your kids that won’t put your house in disarray? Try ‘Chair Hat Toss’. An easy, on-the-fly version of ring toss, one of the classic activities for kids. It requires kids to fling hats at the legs of an overturned chair. That’s it. Simple, yet remarkably effective at both teaching young children the basics of throwing while keeping older kids occupied on a rainy day. Plus, if you let them keep score, they’ll get some math training as well. Better still, set-up requires little more than turning over a kitchen chair and pulling some hats out of the closet. And since you’re only throwing hats, there’s minimal chance of breaking a window.

Prep Time: 1 Minute

Entertainment Time: 10-15 minutesEnergy Expended by Child: Moderate

What You Need:

  • A kitchen chair.
  • Up to four hats. Baseball, cowboy, winter, Easter ⏤ it doesn’t matter, just as long as it can lasso the leg of a chair.
  • If you don’t have hats, don’t worry. You can turn it into a traditional ring toss with costume necklaces, pieces of rope tied/taped in a circle, or by cutting the center out of four thick paper plates.
  • Paper, pen, tape, and scissors (if you’re making rings).
  • Prizes of the festive sort.

Set Up:

Turn a kitchen chair over so that all four legs are pointing up in the air. Depending on the age/motor skills of the kids playing, position the chair several feet away with the legs facing you. If you want the game to involving scoring, label each leg with a piece of paper that designates its point value. So, the upper right can be 50 points, lower left 25, doesn’t matter. This is really just to give them practice adding numbers. You can also keep score by simply tallying how many hats out of four they hook each round.

After the chair is set, designate a series of lines ⏤ using pieces of tape or other objects ⏤ behind which they will stand when throwing. Obviously, they should be close for toddlers and farther back for older kids.

And finally, if you’re not using hats, make your DIY rings out of rope or paper plates/ cardboard.

How to Play:

After deciding whether to play as teams or individuals, explain the rules and scoring. From there, the first player steps to the line and throws four hats ⏤ one at a time ⏤ at the chair legs. When they’re done, assuming they hooked at least one hat, let them add up the total points and note it on a sheet of paper/whiteboard. Now the next player throws. When all players have gone, add up the first-round scores and start again but from the next line back, so it’s more challenging. Wash, rinse, repeat until all players have thrown from all the lines. At that point, the game is over. Tally the scores, announce the winner (with much fanfare, of course), and award the prizes. As one game is rarely enough, play again.

Wrap Up:

Obviously, there are a lot of different ways to play ring toss at home ⏤ bottles, wooden pegs, store-bought sets ⏤ but ‘Chair Hat Toss’ is nice in its simplicity. Especially, if like me, you own a ton of baseball hats. The fact that you need only flip over a chair to start playing means you can get right after it. Toss in the fact that my toddler’s starting to get more excited about throwing ⏤ balls, pillows, everything really ⏤ it’s nice to have an easy indoor way to work together on her skills. And finally, who doesn’t love flipping a hat across the room? I do it every day. Chair or not, it’s just fun.