Kickball Games and Variations

Kick your game up a notch with these twists on classic kickball.

Girl kicking kickball in game
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Kickball games are common on many school playgrounds, and leagues for adults are becoming popular too. Part of kickball's appeal is its simplicity. It's very easy to learn and play. But if you or your kids are getting a little tired of playing the usual way, you can always change up the rules—or try one of these alternative options.

For most of these, just as in regular kickball, you should set basic rules before you play: How many outs until the kicking team is retired?

Where is the foul territory (or is any kick fair)? How many innings will you play? and so on.

Big Base

Your kids may play this in the gym at school, using gym mats as bases (hence the name "Big Base"). On your own, you can play outdoors if you have a large enough playing area. Use chalk or small orange cones to delineate your big bases.

Play is similar to regular kickball, except runners can cluster on the big bases. Each base can hold several players instead of just one. You can even require runners to circle the bases twice before scoring, either two laps around or one lap counterclockwise and one clockwise. Or in a variation on the variation, play "crazy style." Players run from home to first base, then third base, then second, then back to home plate.

Soccer-Base-Basketball

You need a basketball hoop for this kickball game (at a playground, in a gym, or at home in your driveway). The kicker stands under the hoop and the pitcher rolls the ball to her.

Once she kicks, she starts running the bases while the defense recovers the ball. Once a defensive player has the ball, he tries to shoot a basket. If he sinks it, the kicker is called out.

Line Kickball

Instead of splitting into two equal teams, start this game with just one pitcher. Everyone else is the kicking team—for now.

They all line up, single file, at home plate. Once the first person in line kicks the ball, everyone (except the pitcher) starts running the bases. They must tag each base, but can't remain on base. They must continue running around the bases and toward home plate.

Once the pitcher recovers the ball, she can tag runners out by throwing the ball. Anyone who's out then becomes an outfielder and starts helping the pitcher. If you like, you can make a rule that only the pitcher can actually tag a runner out; the outfielders can only recover the ball and throw it to the pitcher.

Once the last person in the kicking line has rounded home plate, start again with a new kicker at the front of the line.

No-Pitch

This is like the T-ball version of kickball. Instead of a tee, place the ball directly on home plate. Play starts when the kicker kicks the ball into the field. If the defensive team catches the ball in the air, it's an out. But if they miss, or the ball is a grounder, the fielders must recover the ball, then roll it back toward home plate.

Their catcher grabs it and places it back on the plate. As soon as the ball hits the plate, any runner who isn't on a base is out.

Activity Kickball

Play this game just like classic kickball, with one exception: At each base, give the runner a task or activity to complete: Hop on one foot, say a tongue-twister, do a push-up.

You can also extend this variation by requiring the fielding team to participate too. Once an outfielder recovers the ball, she throws it to her teammate at first base. He must then do the same activity that the runner has to do. Once he's finished, he throws the ball to second base, where the second baseman does the second-base activity, and so on around the bases.

One Base

Streamline the field with this variation: You just need one base plus home plate. Put the base directly across from home plate (where second base would normally be). In order to score a run, the kicker has to run from home plate to the base and back home. He can stay at the base if he needs to (to avoid being tagged out), but he has to run when his next teammate kicks.

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