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You Can Play All 10 Of These Classic Outdoor Games With Just One Ball

Got something round that bounces? That's literally all you need to play one of these 10 classic ball games!

Margo Gothelf · 4 months ago

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No need to bring a bunch of toys outside or to the park — to play these games, all you need is one ball! These easy ball games are timeless classics that are great for groups or siblings hanging out in the backyard or at the park. Just grab your favorite bounce ball and this list for a guaranteed afternoon of fun.

1. Kickball

Sure, you can play kickball on a baseball field, but baseball fields aren't always easy to come by. Luckily, a ball is pretty much all you need to get a game of kickball going. Set the game up like you normally would, and estimate the area needed between the bases. Substitute the bases with rocks, a sweatshirt, or even that book you brought to read outside.

2. 500

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Think you have what it takes to get to 500? In this game — also known as Jackpot or Five Dollar — one player throws up a ball and shouts out a number. Whoever catches the ball first — without it dropping on the ground — earns that amount of points. The first player to reach 500 points wins. The rules to this game can vary and are super easy to switch up. You can add in a jackpot ball allowing for maximum points or a frozen ball to keep everyone else in their place for one round.

3. SPUD

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Playing around in a big yard or spacious park? Then you're in the ideal setting to play SPUD. You'll need at least three players to start the game, but there is no limit on how many can join. Want to make the game go even longer? Change up the word that you are spelling for an extra challenge. See all the details on the rules over on Playworks

4. Pickle Tag

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It's time to channel your inner Flash and Quicksilver as Pickle is all about your speed. Set up two bases — or any type of cones or markers — and assign two people to be the throwers. Everyone else will be the runner. The goal of the game? To get safely back to the base before getting tagged by one of the throwers. Once you've been tagged three different times, you can switch out and become a thrower. 

5. Say and Catch

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Have you ever played Categories? If the answer is yes, then this game is basically like that, just with a ball. If the answer is no, then get ready to listen up and have some fun: Each round, one player decides on a category — movies, Harry Potter characters, dog breeds, colors ... you name it! The players then stand in a circle, waiting for the ball to be passed to them. If they catch the ball, they must say something from the chosen category. Seems simple right? Well, kind of — you must catch the ball to share your pick from the category, and you cannot repeat what anyone else has said. Give it a try and see who can come out the winner!  

6. Steal the Bacon

Think you have what it takes to outrun your friends? Put your speed skills to the test with a friendly game of Steal the Bacon. This game works especially well for big groups, but can be played with small teams as well. Want to up the ante? Instead of calling out numbers, have someone shout out simple math problems, like 5 + 2, to figure out whose turn it is. New to this game? Find out all of the details over on Playworks and see if you can bring home all of the bacon. 

7. Monkey in the Middle

There's a reason why the game monkey in the middle has been around for so long. It's always entertaining and pretty easy to play no matter where you are. Switch up the classic game by throwing the ball backward or from a super long distance. Just try not to end up back in the middle!

8. Over Under Relay

Think you have excellent coordination? Put your skills to the test with a game of Over Under. Grab your friends and stand in a line. Then, see just how fast you can pass the ball over your head and under through your legs. Continue passing the ball until it reaches everyone. If you have enough players, set up two teams and race through to see who can work together to get the ball through the fastest. 

9. Down Down Down

Down down down might seem like a typical game of catch — that is, until you drop the ball. So, what happens when you drop the ball? You have to go down on one knee and then one elbow until you are fully playing the game of catch from the ground. The last one standing — or kneeling — wins.

10. Classic Catch

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Sometimes you can't beat the classics. A simple game of catch is basically the easiest game you can play outside — all you need is one ball and some space to get throwing. The game is entertaining no matter your age and can easily keep you busy for hours on end. Want to make the classic game a little harder? See how many throws you can get in a row without dropping the ball or time yourself to see how many throws you can get in during one minute.