4 Fun Games to Play with a Ball: Get Your Kids to Unplug and Enjoy the Great Outdoors

When my generation was younger, we had one option to entertain ourselves in the summertime: go outside, find whatever toys were lying around in the garage, and play games with our friends until the sun went down. Nowadays, kids have thousands of options! Sadly, most of those come on some form of an electronic device. If you are having trouble prying your kids away from the TV, game console, or iPad/iPhone, use some of these fun ball games to get your kids up and active outside.


Four Square 

This ball game is a classic. It's extremely easy to play, and extremely fun. It is best when played with four or more people. 

Rules of the game:

Each player occupies one of the squares. The squares each have a rank order. The square with the highest rank is called the 'King'. The other squares sometimes have names, and sometime don't. The other three may be called the 'Queen', 'Prince', and 'Princess'.

To start the game, the King serves the ball by bouncing it in his square once and then hitting it towards one of the other squares. The receiving player then hits the ball to any other player, and play continues until one of the following things occur:

1) A player hits the ball (or is hit BY the ball) before it bounces once in their square.

2) A player does not hit the ball before it bounces twice

3) A player hits the ball out of bounds (it must land in someone's square first)

Once a player is 'dead', they move back to the lowest ranking square. The other players then move up to fill the vacancies. If there are more players than squares, that person goes to the back of the line, and the person at the front of the line gets to move onto the lowest square and play. 


Taken and modified from: gameskidsplay.net



Spud is another playground favorite. All you need to play is a sizeable group of kids, a playground ball, and an open space to run. 

Rules of the game: 
  1. Every player gets a number and crowds around the person who is “it” for that round.
  2. “It” tosses the ball straight up and the other players run away.
  3. As the ball reaches the top of its toss, “it” calls out the number of one of the other players and then runs away also. The player whose number was called must run back and catch the ball (or chase after it if it is bouncing around).
  4. Once that person has the ball, they yell, “Spud!” Then everyone else must freeze. The person with the ball must take 3 big steps and try to hit one of the players with the ball. If they do, that new person gets a letter (first S, then P, then U, then D) and is now “it.” If they miss, the person who threw the ball is “it” for the next round.


Taken and modified from: Wired


Crab Soccer

Use this game as a fun twist on soccer! You'll need two teams, a large ball (beach ball or other rubber ball such as a yoga ball works best), cones to mark goal posts, and a large open space.

Rules of the game:
  1. Divide the players into two equal teams. If there are an odd number of children, ask a volunteer to sit out and substitute in after a few minutes.
  2. Ask your child to help choose an appropriate playing field. If there is only one player on each team, simply use a portion of the yard. Two teams of four or more players may want to make use of the entire space.
  3. Have your child mark off a goal for each team on opposite ends of the playing field.
  4. Ask players to take their positions for the kickoff. Players should sit on the ground with their hands and feet flat on the ground. Move by pushing off the ground and scurrying about, face up, on all fours.
  5. For the kickoff, drop the ball between two players, one from each team. Players then "crab crawl" back and forth trying to kick the ball into the goal. When a goal is scored, return the ball to the center of the playing area and begin play again. Encourage the children to play for a previously agreed upon time: 15 minutes or so works well.
  6. The team with the most points wins!


Taken from: Education.com


Keep Out

This is a fun game that needs a small group of children and a soccer ball. The object of the game is to roll the ball through another person's legs twice in order to get them "out" and make the circle smaller. 

Rules of the game:
  1. Everyone stands in a circle with their bodies facing into the circle and their legs spread apart. Each foot should be touching another player's foot so there are no gaps in the circle.
  2. All players bend forward so their arms block the space between their legs.
  3. Someone starts with the ball, and tries to roll it across the ground and through an opponent's legs. If the ball rolls through, the opponent must turn around and continue to block future balls backwards. 
  4. The game continues with players taking turns trying to roll the ball through other players' legs. It does not have to be a player directly across from you! It makes the game more fun to roll randomly, and sometimes even try to get the person right next to you! 
  5. If the ball rolls through a person's legs a second time (when they are facing backwards), they step out of the circle. 
  6. The game continues until their are three people left in the circle. The first out of the three to get out loses, and the last two standing win!


Get up, get out, and enjoy!

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