How to Play Gaga Ball
Gaga Ball is a fast-paced game similar to dodgeball, where kids dodge rolling balls in a gaga pit. The kids will need to run, jump, throw, and roll balls to remain the victor.
One of the best aspects of gaga ball is that it’s inclusive. Players don’t have to be fast, coordinated, or athletically talented to excel in gaga ball. As long as the kids are energetic and excited to play, they have a chance to be the last remaining player.
This guide will teach you everything you need to know about gaga ball.
What Is Gaga Ball?
Gaga Ball originally began in Israel, and gaga means “touch touch” in Hebrew. The game was created so that kids could have fun in an enclosed environment during school and other activities.
Kids play in an octagonal pit or area. They start with their backs pressed against the side of the pit, and an outside referee throws the ball in. The ball must bounce three times before anyone can touch it. Each time the ball bounces, the kids yell, “Ga!”
After the third bounce, the game begins. Kids can roll, smack, and swat the ball to stop it from touching them. If they get hit below the knee by a rolling ball, they’re out — however, they can get back into the game by catching a stray ball when they’re standing outside the pit. If someone outside the pit catches it, the last person to touch the ball inside the pit is out.
Gaga Ball is similar to a pinball machine. You try to avoid getting hit by the ball; to avoid the ball, you swat it away.
What Are the Rules of Gaga Ball?
Gaga Ball has simple rules, making it easy for young kids to get the hang of the game. The game can be broken into three parts:
Setting Up the Game
Setting up a game of gaga ball is incredibly simple. Of course, you will need a gaga ball pit, which needs to be set up or created before you can begin playing the game. Later in this article, we will discuss how you can get a gaga pit for your backyardor summer camp.
To set up the game, you will need a rubber playground ball (or a foam ball for a slower game), but you can choose any ball that you desire as there is no official ball for gaga ball. The players line up along the walls of the octagonal pit, and everyone must have one hand touching the wall.
An outside referee begins a countdown and throws the ball into the pit. If using a second ball for larger groups of kids, the referee will throw both balls in at the same time. As the balls bounce, the kids yell, “Ga!” For the first two bounces. On the third bounce, the kids yell, “Go!”
Once the playground ball has bounced three times, it’s in play, and the kids can take their hands off the wall. Players cannot hold the ball. Instead, they hit the ball with a closed or open hand, more similar to “smacking” the ball.
Players can jump over the ball, hit the ball, or avoid the ball, making the game similar to dodgeball. Because the gaga pit is an octagonal arena, kids will have to watch their backs as balls could ricochet into their knees from behind.
The kids can use the pit panels and the pit wall to help them evade the bouncy ball as long as they don’t try to sit on the wall.
If a play gets hit below the knee by the rubber ball, they’re eliminated.
It’s easy to know when a player is out of the game, ensuring that there’s less confusion over who’s still in the game. Essentially, if a player gets touched by the rubber ball or soft foam ball below the knee, they’re out of the game, even if they threw the ball that hit them. Players can self-eliminate if they’re not careful.
Gaga Ball is a battle royale, meaning there are no teams. To make the rules as clear as possible, explain to the kids that if a ball touches them (even grazes their leg) below the knee, they’re eliminated.
Gaga Ball’s elimination rules help the game to move quickly. Even if kids are disappointed that they were eliminated early, they can find comfort in knowing that a new game will start in just a few minutes.
Just because a player is eliminated doesn’t mean they’re out of the game. Occasionally, players inside the pit will hit a ball too hard, or it will ricochet off the pit wall at a crazy angle. If the ball flies out of the pit, the eliminated players can try to catch the ball. If they do, they’re back in the game.
Where to get a Gaga Ball Pit?
Gaga Ball pits can be expensive. An inflatable pit can cost nearly $300, and a structured pit can cost nearly $2,000. If you’re building a gaga pit in your backyard or at a summer camp, you can make a less expensive arena as a DIY project.
You can buy gaga ball pits from a variety of online vendors. They offer small or large courts with low or high walls. Some options are inflatable, while others are made from foam mats.
You can build your own gaga ball pit with some wood, screws, and saws. You can also create a gaga ball pit that doesn’t require any screws by using a form of wood joinery.
What Are Some Games Similar to Gaga Ball?
Some games that are similar to gaga ball include:
The game most similar to gaga ball is dodgeball. Most kids know how to play dodgeball by the time they enter elementary school. There are also different variations of dodgeball, such as:
- Opposite hand dodgeball: Players can only touch the playground ball with their non-dominant hand.
- Barrier dodgeball: Bring out gym mats and other barriers that players can use to hide behind. If you blow the whistle, everyone has to come out from behind the barriers.
- Island dodgeball: Players can only throw the ball when standing on a gym mat. Only one player can leave the mat at a time.
Dodgeball is a fun activity for all ages.
9 Square is a popular new game where kids stand under a unique set of nine squares. The kids pass the ball up over their heads and can get other players out of the game by making them miss their shot. The goal of nine square is to make it to the ninth and final square by eliminating the players ahead of them.
9 Square is the perfect game for all occasions. Players don’t need to have athletic ability to excel in this fun game.
Soccer tennis is a game played on a tennis court but with a soccer ball. The game is very popular in Europe, and it puts a fun spin on essential soccer skills. Like gaga ball, this game requires the players to think outside of the box and come with new ways to play a classic game.