Learn how to play Four Square - a classic playground game that's been around since the 1950's! Read the Four Square game tutorial at GameOnFamily.com to learn the Four Square rules. Game on!

How to Play Four Square

Four Square is one of those games that most people remember from childhood and the playground. It was always a simple game, but nevertheless a fun one, and if you want to teach your kids how to play Four Square you might want a refresher on how the game is played. It’s like soccer, but with your hands, which is about as general as you can get, but of course there are still particular rules.

Four Square Requirements

The first step of playing Four Square is establishing the rules that everyone wants to play by. The rules of Four Square are always mostly set by the players, so establishing rules that everyone thinks are fair is important to the game. Basically speaking, you should at least have the general rule of thumb that puts you out of the game if you drop the ball.

Naturally, to play Four Square you need four squares for the players to stand in. You can draw that pretty easily with chalk, simply by drawing one big box and then dividing it into our equal parts. These squares will need to be numbered as well, since you will need to know the number of each box to play the game. Generally you’ll number the top left square as one, the one next to it as two, then three below that and four to the left of three. Four is obviously the highest ranking square.

Illegal Moves

Believe it or not, there are actually illegal moves in Four Square. You wouldn’t expect that out of a recess game, but they do exist. The most common illegal move is known as the Four Square Cherry Bomb, in which the player slams the ball hard into the ground so it will bounce high above the court and the other players. This move isn’t allowed of course, if only because it interrupts the flow of the game. It is also illegal to slam the ball into one of the other player’s squares.

How to Play Four Square

  1. To begin the game, the player in square four will ‘serve’ the ball by bouncing it once in his or her square into the first square. The ball needs to stay within the lines of the square, even though you can’t be disqualified by a bad serve.
  1. Once the ball is initially served, the receiving player must simply hit the ball back to any other player. This continues until one player either allows the ball to bounce twice in their square or they accidentally hit it out of the square altogether. At that point the player that did one of those two things is out.
  1. The player who is out will be shifted to square one, known as the joker square, unless there is more than four people that want to play, in which case the out player will go to the end of the waiting line and a new player will be shifted to the joker square. When someone is out, every player will move up one square. This is essentially the entire game.
  1. There is no real end to the game unless the players want there to be. Four Square can be played indefinitely, until the end of recess or whatever period of time the game is going on. Because the game is so simple, there really is no strategy to it. The game is quick, easy, and fun, and requires nothing more than hitting the ball with relative accuracy to the other players, making it a great outdoor choice to pass the time.

Of course, while there is no technical winner in Four Square, the one considered the winner by most of the player is usually the one that holds the ace position the longest.

Four Square Game Variations

There are many variations of Four Square out there because the basic game is so vanilla. These variations include different ways of playing the game entirely, or they can affect only one rule, such as how the ball is served or how the other players are allowed to hit it back. Some variations allow the aforementioned Cherry Bombing, and some allow players to hit the ball back with their entire body rather than just their hands. In the end, you can make up whatever rules you want, because Four Square is a casual game.

Four Square has been a staple component of playground recess for years. There’s a reason for that, because no matter how you slice it, the game is always exciting.

Four Square Video Tutorial