How to Play the 7-Up Ball Game

Remember this one from your childhood? Teach it to your kids!

7-Up ball game - start with a tennis ball
Philip Lee Harvey / The Image Bank / Getty Images

To play the 7-Up ball game, all you need is a smooth, flat surface (a wall or a floor) and a bouncy ball. If you have a safe, open indoor space (without breakables), you can even play 7-Up inside. Kids can play the 7-Up game alone—no need to recruit an opponent or playmates. And best of all, this game is simple to learn, but challenging enough to keep kids' interest. It really gets them moving as they chase the ball and perfect their moves.

 

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 20-30 minutes

Supplies: Bouncy ball, such as a tennis ball or soft, small rubber ball

Where to play: Garage, basement, driveway, playground,  schoolyard, cul-de-sac

Other names: Sevens, Seven Times

How to Play 7-Up

Find a safe space to play. Outside, you need a flat area where you can safely bounce a small ball, such as a tennis ball or a rubber ball. The 7-Up game is traditionally played against a smooth wall or even a garage door. Brick or concrete works better than aluminum siding, and a broad space without windows works best. If you don't have a good wall to use. But you can also the play 7-Up game against the ground 

The object of the game is to bounce the ball against the wall a set number of times while performing a skill in between bounces. The skills are as follows (although variations are common; these are just a suggestion):

  • Sevensies: Bounce the ball against the wall seven times. Catch it on the seventh time.
    No-wall version: Bounce the ball against the ground seven times.
  • Sixies: Bounce the ball against the wall and then allow it to bounce once on the ground before you catch it and throw it again. Repeat six times.
    No-wall version: Throw the ball up in the air six times (no bounces).
  • Fivesies: Bounce the ball on the ground five times.
    No-wall version: Bounce the ball on the ground five times, but throw it hard enough so it bounces up over your head. Catch on the way down.
  • Foursies: Bounce the ball from the ground to the wall and then back to you (this is the opposite of what you do for Sixies). Repeat four times.
    No-wall version: Throw the ball up, let bounce, then catch. Repeat four times.
  • Threesies: Bounce the ball on the ground first, then use your palm to bat the ball against the wall, then catch it before it bounces on the floor again. Repeat three times.
    No-wall version: Bounce the ball, then hit it down again before catching. Repeat three times.
  • Twosies: Toss the ball under your leg and bounce off the wall, then catch. Repeat.
    No-wall version: Bounce the ball under your leg, twice.
  • Onesies: Throw the ball against the wall, spin around completely (360 degrees), then catch the ball before it bounces.
    No-wall version: Throw the ball up in the air, do your spin while it falls and bounces, then catch.

Want to keep playing? Repeat the whole process, but add in a clap of the hands between each throw/bounce. Then add two claps, and so on. Or change to a finger snap, a knee lift, or some other move.

There is plenty of room for creativity!

P.S.: The game Heads Up Seven Up might have a similar name, but it's an in-your-seat guessing game that doesn't incorporate much physical activity. If you need a classroom game that does include active play, try a brain break!

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