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Kickball: One of the Best Outdoor Games to Play With Kids

Old-Fashioned Activity is Fun For All Ages


Kickball is played much like softball or baseball, but with a larger, softer ball.

The large ball used in kickball makes it easier for the little ones to play.

Photo © Stockbyte / Getty Images

Kickball has been the game of choice for neighborhood play for many years. Baseball may be the American pastime, but play it in the backyard and you risk broken windows and jammed fingers. Kickball is a safer and easier alternative.


Kickball is appropriate for school age children.

Equipment Needed

For kickball, use a playground ball, around 8 to 10" in diameter. Choose a lightweight one for small children and a heavier one for bigger kids. You'll also need something to serve as bases.

Where to Play

A large yard or park area is perfect for kickball. The ball will roll better for the kicker on a hard surface, but grass is more kid-friendly. If played on a hard surface, you can draw in the bases using chalk.

How to Play

Kickball uses the basic rules of softball and baseball: four bases to run, three chances to kick the ball and three outs to an inning. Almost anything can be used for bases; old throw pillows or pieces of shingle will serve well. The pitcher rolls the ball to the kicker. Bouncing, other than the little bounces that you get when the ball rolls over grass, is not allowed. If the ball rolls over home plate and is not kicked, that is a strike. If the ball is kicked but goes foul, that is a strike.

The fielder can catch the ball and tag the runner, or step on the base, or throw the ball at the runner to make the out. The ball should not be thrown at the runner's head. If the ball is thrown at the runner and misses, the runner may advance only one additional base. A kicked ball that is caught in the air is an out.

The team that is in the field should space themselves out according to the numbers of players. They will, of course, move in for the smaller players and out for the stronger players.

Other rules can be agreed upon before play begins. Since you won't have a standard "batting order," you may want to kick in order of ages, or in alphabetical order. You may have to have special rules for balls that go over fences, into the street or into a ditch. Agreeing upon special rules is part of the fun!

You may want to play shorter games than the standard nine innings.

See More Classic Kids Outdoor Games

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