This old game is actually a variation on hide-and-seek—with an uncanny twist.
The designated kicker kicks the can, covers her eyes and counts to a hundred -- assuming your child can count that high; otherwise, the kicker can recite a favorite song or poem. The idea is to give the others a chance to hide.
At the end of the count, the kicker puts the can or bucket upright, then says, "Ready or Not, Here I Come."
When the kicker finds someone, he or she says the hider's name, races the hider back to the can, and tries to be the first to kick it again. If the kicker fails and the hider kicks it, the game starts again. If the kicker succeeds, then that hider must stand near the can while the kicker seeks other children.
While this is happening, other hiders can risk their own capture to free a fellow hider by running up to the can and kicking it -- before being spotted by the kicker. The captured players then go and hide again. And the game goes on.