Playground Ball Games

By Jim Radenhausen
Kids, many options, ball games, the playground
blue ball image by think jesters from

Playground time gives kids a chance to run around and have fun in a non-classroom environment. Some kids like playing ball on the playground and while the playground setting is limited in terms of playing wide-area games like softball or soccer, kids can enjoy a number of active games that involve soft or rubber balls.

Bossy Ball

Kids place masking tape strips on a ball and write rules on each for throwing and catching the ball. Examples include "Eyes closed," "Sitting down," "Standing on one leg" and so forth. Once the first kid catches the ball, he checks the instructions closest to the right hand's palm. He throws the ball as indicated to another player, who catches it in the same way, checks his directions and throws to another player. If a player drops the ball or does not catch it in the proper way, they exit the game. Play continues until one player remains or when kids have had enough.

Dodge Ball

Dodge Ball involves kids dividing into two teams, facing each other on equal sides of a playing area and knocking opponents out of the game by hitting then with balls. Players exit the game if a ball hits them before it hits the ground or if another player catches a ball they threw. Once a team loses all its members, the team with any remaining members wins the game. Kids may play quicker dodge ball rounds by adding a "David and Goliath" twist. Designating one player a "Goliath," teams only reveal the identity to a referee. If and when "Goliath" exits the game, "Goliath's" team members also are out.

Cats in the Corner

Kids dodge balls when moving from corner to corner in this game. Kids mark off a square area, with the ball thrower in the center; when the thrower calls "Cats in the Corner," the kids ("cats") standing at the square's corners run in any direction from one corner to another, as the thrower tries hitting them with the ball. Players exit the game if the thrower hits them. Large groups may have two throwers and several balls.


Players select one kid to play the "Fugitive," marking boundaries in the play area that he cannot step out of during play. Everyone else works together as "FBI agents" to catch the fugitive, passing a ball around and aiming to hit him below the waist with the ball. The fugitive may run anywhere within the boundaries, while the FBI team members may go outside the boundaries. Players who hit the fugitive above the waist exit the game. The player successful in hitting the fugitive then takes a turn in the role.


Kids count off, with one kid starting the game as "It." While all other kids stand together in a designated spot, the "It" kid shouts a number and throws a ball in the air. All players scatter, with the kid whose number the "It" kid called retrieving the ball. When the kid grabs the ball, he shouts, "Spud," and everyone freezes in place. The player with the ball takes two big steps toward any player and throws the ball, trying to hit the player. The other player cannot move his feet, though he may try dodging the ball or catching it. If the thrower successfully makes contact, the target gets an "S." If the target catches or dodges the ball, the thrower gets an "S." Whichever player gets "S" becomes "It" and starts another round. Once players earn all four letters that spell out "S-P-U-D," they exit the game. The last person remaining wins the game.

About the Author

Jim Radenhausen is a freelancer who began writing professionally in 1998. A resident of Reeders, Pa., he spent over two years working at the "Eastern Pennsylvania Business Journal." Radenhausen received his bachelor's degree in English/professional writing from Kutztown University in 1997.