Four Square (also known as Handball) is a fun and popular game with groups of children in middle grades through to high school, primarily due to its simple equipment requirements, easy rules of play and the game requirement for 4+ players – making it a great choice for groups of children who wish to play together. If you are unfamiliar with the game, read on for instructions on how to play Four Square.
How to Play Four Square or Handball
Number of players: 4+
Recommended Age: 8+ years
Equipment needed: A small to tennis ball sized bouncy ball is used in the game.
How to play Four Square:
Four square is typically played on a square hard court space, divided into four equal squares. The squares are named clockwise around the square as 1,2,3 and 4. One player stands in each square. The player in square 1 (the highest value square) is the server. Additional players form a waiting line.
Play begins when the server serves the ball by dropping it once into his/her own square and then hitting it with his hand into any of the other three squares.
Each player needs to hit the ball with any part of his/her hand into an opposing player’s square after it has bounced only once in their square.
A player is out (and returns to the waiting line) if;
- The ball lands on a line
- The player hits the ball and it bounces again in her/his square
- The ball goes out of bounds before it bounces
- The ball is returned without bouncing in the player’s own square
- The player catches or holds the ball
A player who is out returns to the waiting line for another try. The remaining players on the court advance to the next available square – for example, if the player in square 2 is out, the player in square 3 moves up to square 2 and the player in square 4 moves up to square 3.
The open square 4 left by a player being out (following all of the other players moving up a square) is filled by the person at the front of the waiting line.
For more fun outdoor games for kids in middle grades, be sure to check out our 10 Tag Games for Kids article with free printable.