The Best Ball Throwing Games for All Ages

The Best Ball Throwing Games for All Ages

Ball throwing games are a great way to exercise while also improving hand eye coordination. In this article, you will find three different sections with five games each. The first section contains great ideas for ball throwing games for young kids, the second section includes five games for middle schoolers, and the last section has five ball throwing games for high schoolers.  

Ball Throwing Games for Elementary Age  

1. Catergory Catch 

Category Catch combines a leisurely game of catch with a brain exercise. Mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise. Your brain needs to stretch and strengthen itself every day, and this is the perfect ball game to provide your mind with a flexibility exercise. 

To play, you will need a small ball or a red kickball. Each player joins a circle, standing with only a little space between each person. The person holding the ball choose a category such as "animals" or "celebrities." Some great category ideas include: 

  • Shoe brands 
  • Disney movies 
  • Famous women 
  • Marvel Superheroes 
  • Dog breeds 
  • Countries

After choosing the category, they underhand toss the ball to the next person in the circle. That person says something that fits the selected category and then tosses the ball. Players aren't allowed to repeat words. If someone can't think of a new world within five seconds, they're out of the game and must take a seat. Also, if someone repeats a word, they're out.  

This game encourages kids to think of words in advance, paying close attention to everything said to make sure that nothing repeats. 


2. Laundry Basket Ball

Laundry Basket Ball is another game that encourages kids to focus on their aim and accuracy. To play, you will need balls (either red bouncy balls, balloon balls, beach balls, or hard balls) and a laundry basket for each group. If you're playing with a large group of kids, split the kids into different groups, each with their own laundry basket. If playing with a small group of kids, only use one basket and have the kids keep track of their points. 

The game's goal is to get your ball inside the laundry bucket. Each ball that lands inside the laundry basket earns one point. As the groups land their balls inside the basket, have them yell out their points, encouraging the other teams to pick up their pace or risk falling too far behind.  

This competitive game is fun for kids of all ages. Because there's a team aspect to it, the kids will learn how to manage a team and be a part of a team. 

3. Ball Catch 

One of the simplest games to play with a group of elementary-age kids is catch. Catch encourages young kids to learn hand-eye coordination and develop gross motor skills. It improves their reflexes and helps them become better athletes at a young age.  

To play catch, all you need is a ball (or several balls). Group up the kids in a circle, facing inwards. Start with one ball and have the kids toss the ball from one kid to another. Once the kids get the hang of it, add it a second ball and then a third. This constant addition of new balls makes the kids focus on multiple things at once, teaching them to multitask.  

Ball catch encourages kids to focus and learn new skills, making it one of the best games for kids still learning coordination and multitasking.



4. Sock In the Box

For this game, you will need a box full of new rolled-up socks. Sock In the Box is a straightforward game where kids throw the socks into a cardboard box or bucket. There are no fancy rules or tricks. Instead, this game focuses on teaching young kids how to toss. Instead of a sock, you can also use a small ball. 

To play, line up the kids in front of a box. They will each get a chance to throw their sock ball into the box. If they miss, they get a second chance. If they make it into the box, the group cheers, and the kid goes to the back of the line.  

Sock In the Box is a great game because of its simplicity. If you want to switch up the game, use a cardboard target instead of a cardboard box. This version of the game encourages the kids to try and knock the target over (which focuses more on overhand throws than underhand). 

5. Hula Ball

Hula Ball is similar to Bocce Ball or Marbles. Instead of playing with tiny marbles or bocce balls, you play this game with a hula hoop and balls of all different sizes. The goal is to get your ball inside the hula hoop. 

With everyone standing at the same starting point, roll your ball towards the hula hoop, trying to get it inside the hula hoop. After your turn, the next person rolls their ball with the same goal. However, the next person has the option to hit your ball outside of the circle. Each person has a chance to roll three or four balls towards the center of the hula hoop, earning points for hitting someone else's ball outside the hula hoop.

After everyone has rolled their balls, those left inside the hula hoop win extra points. Count up each player's points and congratulate the winner. You earn points for: 


  • One point for landing inside the hula hoop 
  • One point for hitting another player outside of the hula hoop 
  • Three points for having a ball inside the hula hoop at the end of the game 


This game is perfect for medium-sized groups or as a PE activity. It encourages kids to learn to aim and teaches them accuracy. It also teaches kids how to be good team members and good sports. 


6. Beginner's Dodgeball 

Beginner's Dodgeball takes the typical game of Dodgeball and makes it easier for kids who are still learning to throw a ball. This version of the game is best for small groups of only a few kids. To play, you will need several small, soft balls.  

Start by having one player stand in front of a fence. A second player will stand ten feet away and try to hit the first player with the ball while he or she is dodging. If the player hits the other with the ball, they earn a point. After throwing the ball once, they switch positions. The first player to ten points wins.  

This simplified Dodgeball teaches kids how to aim during a game of Dodgeball. Make sure that the kids are aiming for the legs and not for the head. Any shots that land above the waist won't count as a point.



7. Large Marbles 

Large Marbles is a combination of Marbles and Bocce Ball. To play, you will need several different ball sizes or whatever you have on hand. Some of the best balls for this game include soccer balls, basketballs, small bouncy balls, or large exercise balls. Use one designated ball as the "It" ball. The kids will try to roll their balls towards the "It" ball. Whoever has the closest ball wins the game.  

The other kids can roll their balls to move other players out of the way. This game encourages the kids to be competitive without doing any real damage. The kids get to focus on how to roll or toss a ball and perfect their aim.marbles


8. Monster Ball 

Monster Ball is a fast-paced game perfect for young kids. In the center of two teams, place a large exercise ball--the "monster ball." The goal of the game is to push the monster ball across the line of the opposing team. To do this, each team will have small balls that they will throw overhand towards the monster ball. When the monster ball crosses the line of the opposite team, the other team gets the point. 

This game is perfect for large groups. The kids can practice throwing balls at a moving target and catching balls thrown by the opposite team. The kids cannot advance closer to the ball and must stay behind their team's line.ball


Ball Throwing Games for Middle School Age 

1. Gaga Ball

Gaga Ball is a thrilling and fast-paced game that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. The objective of the game is to be the last player standing while avoiding being hit by the ball. Here's how to play:

  1. Setting up: Create a large octagonal or circular playing area using walls or fencing. Mark the boundaries clearly and make sure the surface is safe for movement.

  2. Starting the game: All players stand inside the playing area, with their hands placed on the walls. One player begins by throwing the ball into the air, and as it bounces, everyone shouts "Ga!" on each bounce until it reaches waist height.

  3. Gameplay: Once the ball reaches waist height, players can start hitting it with an open hand, trying to strike others below the knee. Players can move freely within the boundaries, but no holding or catching the ball is allowed. If a player is hit, they're out of the game.

  4. Bouncing the ball: The ball must always stay below the waist level. If a player hits the ball out of bounds or above waist height, they're out. The ball should stay in constant motion to keep the game exciting.

  5. Last player standing: The game continues until there's only one player remaining. They are declared the winner, and a new round can begin.

Gaga Ball is a fantastic game that encourages agility, reflexes, and friendly competition, making it an ideal choice for family picnics and gatherings.


2. Keep Away

Keep Away, or Monkey in the Middle, is a great game for any situation. Traditionally, you play Monkey in the Middle with three people. There are two throwers on either end and a catcher in the middle. The throwers toss the ball (overhand or underhand) back and forth while the person in the middle tries to intercept the ball. If they intercept the ball, they take the place of the person who last touched the ball.  

The game's premise is incredibly simple: keep the ball away from the person in the middle. Depending on the players' age group, you can add additional rules such as, "You can only throw the ball underhand." 

The limitation to the game of keep away is that only three people can play. However, who's to say more people can't play? In our version of Monkey in the Middle, everyone can play. There are still two people throwing on the outside, and everyone else groups together between the two throwers. You can fit as many as twenty people in the center. Their goal is to intercept the ball and become throwers.  

Kids don't need much skill to play the game. As long as they're enthusiastic, they have a chance to catch the ball. Encourage the middle players to do anything to catch the ball as the throwers toss it back and forth. Those in the middle can jump, duck, roll, and cartwheel as they attempt to grab the ball from the air.


3. SPUD 

To play SPUD, give each of the players a number and have them get in a circle around the starter. The starter throws the ball straight into the air while calling out a random number. The player whose number was called runs to get the ball while all other players sprint away as fast as possible. As soon as the person catches the ball, all other players must freeze.  

The player with the ball can take four steps in any direction, spelling out S-P-U-D as they walk. Then, they try to hit one of the other players with the ball below the waist. If they successfully hit a player, that person earns the letter S. However, if they don't hit anyone, the thrower earns the letter S.  

The game continues until someone earns the word S-P-U-D. When this happens, they're out. The last two players win the game.  

Spud is a fun game for middle schoolers because it requires them to take better aim. It has more rules, making it intriguing to learn. Additionally, there's no limit to how many people can participate in the game, earning SPUD a place in middle school recess.playing with a ball


4. Cornhole

Cornhole is a great game for parties, gym class, or recess. It's competitive but straightforward. To play, all you need is a cornhole set, including two cornhole boards and eight cornhole bags. Since you'll be playing in a middle school courtyard, there's no need to place the equipment precisely 33 feet apart, which is traditional. Since the kids are still learning how to aim, move the boards closer to make it easier to hit the target.  

The game has two teams. One team stands behind one cornhole board, and the other stands behind the second board. Both groups aim for the opposite panel. Each time one of the cornhole bags lands in the hole, the team earns three points. If it lands on the board, the team earns a point.  

Cornhole is an easy, fun game perfect for all ages. It's a great game for parties, gym class, or recess. Kids will have fun with the competitive aspect of the game while also improving their aim and learning to be better team members.cornhole


5. Detective Dodgeball 

Detective Dodgeball is perfect for middle school because it requires the kids to exercise their memory while also learning how to throw and aim. There's also no limit on the number of players, making it a great game for any situation. 

To play, start by setting up a regular dodgeball game. The twist is that when someone gets hit and is out, everyone that person got out is back in the game. This creates high profile targets that everyone is trying to hit so that their team can come back into the game.  

Other than this small twist, it's a classic game of Dodgeball. Because players are continually coming back into the game, it can be a long game. Most Detective Dodgeball games don't come to a natural end. Instead, the team with the most players on the field at the end of a time limit wins the game.dodgeball


6. Ball Tag 

Tag is a classic game commonly found in the schoolyard. Kids love playing Tag because it gives them a chance to run and scream as their friends chase them across the grassy field.  

Add a twist to Tag by teaching the kids how to play Ball Tag. Ball Tag is similar to Tag, but with one simple rule change. Instead of tagging with your hands, you have to tag other players with a ball. For safety reasons, use a soft foam ball or rubber ball that won't injure the players. 

The tagger can either hold the ball out in their hands or toss the ball at an opponent as they run by. Make sure that the kids know only thrown shots below the waist count. If a thrown ball hits a player in the chest, it doesn't count. However, if the tagger is holding the ball and tags their opponent in the back, it will count.

Ball Tag's gameplay is exactly the same as Tag, making it easy for young kids to get the hang of and add Ball Tag to their daily list of games-to-play.ball tag


7. 500 

500 is a unique game that can be played on land or in the water. To play, all you need is a rubber ball.  

One person starts as the caller. The caller holds the ball while the other groups wait around the caller. The caller calls out a number between one and 500 and throws the ball in the air. The person who catches the ball earns that number of points and returns the ball to the caller. When someone reaches 500 points, they win and become the new caller. 

This simple game is fun for kids of all ages. It doesn't require precise aim, as long the kids know how to throw and catch balls.500


Ball Throwing Games for High School Age  

1. Nine Square 

Nine Square is one of the most popular games for high school-aged kids. You play Nine Square on a three by three raised court. The rules of the game are similar to Four Square (a typical schoolyard game). The queen or king square starts with the ball, setting it up and over their head like a volleyball and into another player's square. That player must hit the ball out of their square and into a new player's square. If someone fails to hit the ball, they're out, and everyone rotates to fill that space.  

The game is easy to play and easy to set up. It's fun for high schoolers because it's a twist on the classic game of Four Square, a game most teenagers grew up playing at school. Nine Square is a great game for older kids.nine square


2. Spike Ball  

Spike Ball is another popular game for 2021. The Spike Ball set comes with a small plastic ball and a small trampoline. The game's goal is to hit the ball on the trampoline. The two teams (typically two teams of two) hit the ball back and forth on the trampoline. When one team hits the ball, and it successfully bounces, the opposing team must do the same. There are no boundaries in Spike Ball, and players can make up rules on the spot.  

This fun game is perfect for teens looking to exercise outdoors with their friends. They can learn strategy together and find the ideal pairing to excel at the game.spikeball



HORSE is a fun game typically played with a basketball. To play traditional HORSE, you will need one or two basketballs and a basketball hoop. Decide on the order of who goes first. The first player throws the basketball into the hoop however they want. They can specify rules for their shot, such as, "I'm throwing with my eyes closed." If they make the shot, the next person must duplicate it exactly. If the second person misses the shot, they earn an H. The third person then gets to pick their shot. 

However, if the first person misses their shot, nothing happens. Instead, the second player gets to pick how they want to shoot the basketball. If they make it, the third person must replicate it. The order loops so that when one person misses, the next person creates, and so on.  

Players can alter this game to use a rubber ball and a bucket instead of a basketball and basketball


4. Hacky Sack   

Although you're not throwing anything in the game of Hacky Sack, it does help players improve their aim and their hand-foot coordination. Hacky Sack takes skill, which is why it's better for older players.  

To play, you will need a hacky sack or bean bag. Gather the group in a circle. The starting player uses their feet to pass the hacky sack to the next player. The next player receives it using anything but their hands, meaning they can use their head, neck, shoulder, chest, thighs, or ankles to kick it up and over to the next player. When the hacky sack completes a round around the entire group, it's called a "hack." If the hacky sack goes around the circle a second time, it's called a "double hack." 

There are other variations the team can play with the hacky sack, such as Knockout. In Knockout, when someone drops the hacky sack, they're out of the circle. Knockout continues until there's one person left standing.  

There are four main rules to remember when playing hacky sack: 

  • Don't Let It Touch the Ground. As soon as the hacky sack hits the ground, the round is over. 
  • No Hands. You're not allowed to use your hands, but anything else is fair game. 
  • Pass It. Don't hog the hacky sack. It's always fine to kick it more than once and to add your own creative flair, but don't hog the hacky sack. 
  • Don't Apologize. When completing a round, everyone is going to drop it once or twice. Don't feel bad for dropping it, and don't apologize.
hacky sack

5. Five Dollars 

Five Dollars is a fun game for special occasions (and you’ll only have to play a few rounds of the game). To play, you will need an adult willing to sponsor five dollars for the game. The adult holds the ball and calls out a number between one cent and five dollars, such as, “Twenty-five cents!” Then they toss the ball in the air and the players run to get the ball. 

When someone gets the ball, they earn the number. The adult continues to call out numbers until one person wins five dollars. The player who wins the five dollars is the only player to receive money.  

This fun game is a unique way to hand out allowance to teenagers and a great way to incentivize them to run and exercise while playing outside. It’s also a great game for family reunions to get the kids playing together in a friendly competition.  If you're looking for games check out our other Castle Sports Games

The Best Ball Throwing Games for All Ages

Ian Boggess

About the Author

Ian has been with Castle Sports for the last 4 years. He loves designing games for fitness and activity that get the whole group involved.

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