Playground & Sport Balls

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Shop for durable playground balls at Gopher Sport!

Create a colorful, exciting space with rubber playground and sport balls that last!

Gopher’s classic playground balls outlast all others, thanks to a two-layer rubber construction and no-leak bladder. Options with a friendly sponge rubber construction are non-intimidating, building confidence in throwing and catching with younger students. If you’re looking for an even tougher option, our utility balls include fabric windings under a durable rubber cover for extended use and a firmer feel. Whether they’re used for 4-square, soccer, basketball, volleyball, or football, the textured, pliable cover on our playground balls will make them an instant hit when students head outdoors!

Available in a variety of of colors, sizes, and quantities, enhance the recess experience by introducing these playground sports and four-square balls to students! Shop for playground balls at Gopher!

Are you looking for playground game ideas? Read on! 

4-Square:  How to set up the court, traditional rules, and variations

 4-Square is a classic playground game.  It’s a great game because it’s easy to understand, easy to play, and doesn’t require a lot of equipment! 

How to set up a 4-Square court

 A 4-Square court can be laid out on any close-to-level, hard surface.   

  • A 4-Square court is simply one large square divided into four equally sized smaller squares.
  • The recommended court size is 16’ x 16’.  This size creates four 8’ x 8’ squares. If you don’t have that much space, a 10’ x 10’ overall court is about as small as you’ll want to go.
  • Lay out the outside boundaries of your court.  Grab some string and tape one end down to where you want one of the corners of your outside boundary. Stretch the string from one corner to the next, taping it down at each corner. The string will serve as your guide as you apply the floor tape or the paint.
  • Once the outside boundaries are laid out with your string, find the center points of each boundary line.  Stretch and tape a piece of string between the center points of the opposite outside boundary lines to create the inside boundary lines of each of the four squares.
    • Indoor court: Using the string as a guide, mark all the court boundaries with a brightly colored, high-quality floor tape that will stay down but won’t leave a sticky residue when you peel it up.
    • Outdoor court: Using the string as a guide, paint all your court boundaries with a brightly colored paint specially made for application on concrete or asphalt.
      • Apply the paint using a paint roller with a 2” or 4” wide roller head.
  • Now number each square within the court as 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Rules of 4-Square

Objective

The goal of each player in Four Square is to advance to the #4 square and stay there as long as possible.  

Game Play

  • 4 players start.  Each player occupies one of the four squares.
  • The player who is in square 4 is the server.  
  • The game begins when the ball is served.
  • The server must let the ball bounce once in their own square before serving the ball underhanded to any of the other 3 squares.
  • The served ball must bounce once within the boundary lines of any of the other 3 squares before it can be returned.  
  • The player occupying the square into which the ball is served must “return” the ball into any of the other 3 squares.
  • Players can return the ball to any of the other squares.
  • If any player in a higher numbered square commits a “foul”, that player is “out”. Players who were occupying the lower numbered squares each advance to the next highest numbered square, and any player who was waiting to play can now occupy square number 1.
  • A player commits a foul if:
    • The served ball lands on an inside boundary line, or on/outside of an outside boundary line.
    • The ball bounces more than once in the player’s square.
    • They return a ball that lands on one of the inside or outside boundaries of any other square.
    • They catch the ball or hold the ball before returning it.
    • They hit the ball overhanded (chop, slam, etc.).

Variations of 4-Square  

Here are some fun ways to spice up a game of 4-Square: 

  • 9-Square: Instead of four players, there are 9 players on a raised court with 9 squares. Players hit the ball up and over into another square, like volleyball.
  • Blind Man 4-Square: Players are blindfolded or keep their eyes closed when hitting the ball.
  • T Rex 4-Square: Players must bend their arms and hold their arms close to their sides during play.  
  • Frankenstein 4-Square: Players must hold their arms straight out and cannot bend their knees (like Frankenstein) during play.  
  • One legged Whammy 4-Square: All players must stand on one foot during play.
  • Takraw 4-Square:  Players must only use their feet to serve or return the ball.
  • Call it 4-Square: Players must call out the number of the square they are returning the ball to before they hit it.  If the ball lands in a square other than what was called, that player has committed a foul.
  • 50 states 4-Square: Each player must say one of the 50 states as they are hitting the ball.  If they repeat a state that has already been said, that’s a foul.
  • US Presidents 4-Square: Each player must say the name of one of the US Presidents.
  • “Any other subject” 4-Square: Substitute any other subject that the players must call out as they are hitting the ball (prime numbers, Fibonacci numbers, bones in the body, muscles in the body, etc.).
  • Burpee 4-Square: Everyone loves burpees, right?!  After every hit, the player must do a burpee. This becomes fun because if that player doesn’t do the burpee fast enough, any of the other players can return the ball into that square to get that player “out”. 

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