Gaga Ball is perfect for groups of any size. You can also play it by yourself!
Above is a quick video overview of how to play at home
What is Gaga Ball?
Gaga Ball is normally played in a "pit". Typically, it's a 6 or 8 sided enclosure with short walls that can easily be stepped in and out of like this.
Here's a Gaga Ball pit I built for the summer camp I work. Each wall is held together with a metal rod through some eye hooks. This way it's easy to take apart and store inside.
At home, your pit can be just about anything. Here are some ideas:
- Small bedroom (remove breakables)
- Push ottomans (ottomen?) and couches to make a pit in a corner
- Outdoor trampoline with a net
Please note that as an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Know that I only recommend products I've personally used and believe are genuinely helpful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy them. You get great equipment and I get to keep offering as many resources as possible for free.
- A soft volleyball is perfect for outside or a room where you don't care about anything
- The best ball for indoor Gaga Ball is the Olly Ball (paid link). Imagine a round mylar balloon, packaged inside a soft, paper-like shell (that you can color yourself!). I have several in my house . They don't break anything and my one year old doesn't even mind getting hit by it.
- A foam ball or round stuffed animal would also be good for younger children (who don't like getting hit with a ball)
- A soccer ball is the perfect size but might have some sting to it
- I don't recommend bowling balls
How to Play Gaga Ball
The idea is that you smack the ball towards others' legs. If you get hit in the legs (even if it ricochets off a wall), you're out. When you're out, you exit the pit.
If you're opposed to games that use people as targets, I highly recommend checking out my Well Played Dodgeball post. There are ways to play where ALL players can enjoy the game. And Gaga Ball is no exception.
Gaga Ball Rules
My rules for getting out in Gaga Ball are if you:
- Get hit in the target zone - Establish this before playing. I've had success with the target zone being belt and lower. Some may feel more comfortable with knees and below. Or the whole body can be a target if you like to walk on the wild side. If you're playing with more than a couple people, I have a safety rule where your entire body becomes the target zone if you're on the ground (diving or knees on the ground). So if you even hit the ball or the ball hits your face, you're out.
- Double tap the ball or hold it - Throws are considered holds. And once you touch the ball, you aren't allowed to touch it again until it touches a wall or another player. The most common double-tap is when a player stops the ball, then hits it forward. I have a minor rule where you can only hit it off the wall 3 times to yourself before somebody else has to touch it. This way the rest of the group doesn't have to sit there watching a player play with themselves while everybody else's clothes are going out of style.
- Out of bounds - If you're the person who touched it last when it leaves the pit, you're out.
- Saying "You're Out" - When you say it, either they already know they're out and you're rubbing it in or they don't know that they're out and you aren't giving them the information they need. Saying "I got you" or "double tap" are great substitutions.
- Some people play where you can catch a ball that's hit up in the air, and get the hitter out. I avoid the rule at first, but I'll add it with advanced players.
If you're playing with more than a few people:
I can't stand games where people are out for a long time because waiting is boring. Sometimes I'll play with a jail. In the jail version, there's a line of people who are out. When somebody gets out, they go to the back of the line and the first person in line goes in. But my favorite way to play is Minute-to-Win-it Elimination Style. Use a TV, Tablet, or even your phone and play the Gaga Ball Elimination Timer Video below. When players get out, they don't need to be out for very long before a new game starts.
You can't ignore how much fun it is (and you'll be sore the next day... so many lunges and squats).
Play Gaga Ball By Yourself
Take a ball to a corner in your house and hit it off the wall, trying to hit both walls before you hit it again. See how many hits you can do before you hit yourself in the legs or miss the ball and it goes past you. If you really want to challenge yourself, try to keep the ball off the floor as much as possible.
I couldn't get through the post without sharing a Bob's Burgers clip on Gaga Ball 😂