family four square rules garage roof walls fence basketball

Four Square Rules for Family Friendly Play

Four Square has long been our family’s favorite outdoor game.  There are countless rule variations devised through the years, but today we’ll present our version.  We crafted our own set of family-friendly rules to enable everyone to participate and have a good time.  We enticed siblings as young as 5 years old to join in, as well as house guests past the 60-year-old mark.  Find out how anyone can enjoy family four square, regardless of coordination or agility.

Where to Set Up Family Four Square?

family four square rules garage roof walls fence basketball

As in real estate, location is vitally important to family four square.  You may be only familiar with the yellow painted square on the recess blacktop, but what’s original about that?  We recommend finding a driveway that ends in 4 concrete panels.  The panels may not all be the same size, and that is fine!  At the end of the driveway, we will often find a garage door on one side, perhaps a fence line, and maybe the side of the house.  For extra special shots, look for a conveniently placed basketball goal.

We want these extra barriers around the court so that shots and can be bounced off the roof or walls.  This leads to fun angle shots and trick shots like in billiards.  Careful about the moon shots though, because you’ll end up chasing your four square ball through the neighbor’s backyard!  Also, put out some outdoor folding chairs for older players to watch and wait in line.

Family Four Square Rules

The main attraction of family four square is that everyone can play, from 5 to 80 years old!  We won’t go into the basic rules of four squares, as many readers will already be familiar.  We do add the special rule of ‘upward hits’ to make it family four square.  This means that every shot from each player must leave the player’s hand and go a little higher before falling into an opponent’s square.

This special rule changes the game by preventing spikes and low shots.  However, this does not mean the game has to be boring!  If you pick a good driveway with fences, or garage doors and roofs, then you can hit all kinds of shots that qualify as ‘upward hits’.  Risk an upward shot at an adjacent basketball hoop to surprise the king.

Optional Advanced Rule: The Battloid

The Battloid rule makes the game more challenging and fun.  However, it is reserved for more capable players and should not be abused.  This rule allows for an exception to the ‘upward hits’ rule.  If you shout ‘battle-oid’ while hitting the ball, you can hit the ball straight or down.  If the ball hits another player while still in the air, that player is out.  However, if you invoke battled and a hard hit is dodged, the hitter is out!  Again, use this with caution and absolutely avoid headshots, and this rule can add tons of fun.

Who can play Family Friendly Four Square?

As we’ve mentioned, adding the ‘upward hits’ rule involves the whole family, from grade school kids to grandparents. The easy rule can also be taught to house guests and relatives.  Also bring it out for your office field day, for fun with coworkers of varying athletic abilities!

For more family fun, see our list of easy beach games for kids!  For backyard fun we have a Step2 Climber and Slide Guide.  If it’s too hot out and you are looking for fun indoor activities, try the old past time of building a fort!

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I'm a sports fanatic and father. I love sharing my love of sports with kids because I truly believe that sports impact the lives of kids like nothing else.

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