The old playground favorite with a TWIST!  Challenge your students minds by incorporating academic concepts while playing standard foursquare. Simple math problems, sight words, and even science terminology can be the focus as your students bounce the ball around the grid.  

Group Size: Any
Age Group: Grades 1- 6+
Equipment: Bouncy balls

Development Goal(s):

To categorize items, think of an item and say it out loud while playing.

Before You Start:

  • Get everyone's attention.
  • Explain to them that this is a game similar to four square.
  • Have them repeat the rules four square or go over them again yourself
  • Explain what a category is and give a few examples, such as fruit is a category. Ask what could go in that category? What wouldn't go in that category? What are other categories?

Set Up:  

Make sure you have enough playground balls and a four square court, one large square split evenly into four squares.

How to Play: 

  • Following standard foursquare rules. With one additional rule… before you can hit a ball out of your square you need to say something in that round's category.
  • If you do not say something in the category or repeat something already said, you go to the line.
  • The server starts by indentifying the category outloud, such as fruits.
  • The server would then say a fruit and serve the ball into someone else's square.
  • The player could say pear and hit it in someone else's square and so one.
  • Categories can be repeated, a category's round ends when a person makes a mistake and goes to the end of the line.  


  • For younger players, you may need to give them a few simple categories to pick from, such as colors, animals or shapes.

Love implementing Game of the Month? Playworks offers professional development programs that will teach your staff to use recess and playtime to improve health and support learning. Curious to learn more? Submit the Training Assessment form and a local Playworks representative will respond directly.

More Resources

April 29, 2021

Leveraging Play to Address Learning Loss ›

In order to help kids recover from learning loss, we must ensure their emotional needs are met. We need to prioritize every child’s wellbeing, and that starts with acknowledging that many kids are healing from traumas caused by the pandemic, including social, emotional, and physical impacts of COVID-19.  “When children experience stress and trauma, it…

January 5, 2021

Top 6 Games to Play Virtually ›

Many educators have risen to the challenge of transitioning their lessons to accommodate virtual education, and Playworks has been helping educators ensure play remains in every child’s day, even online. Kids prioritize play, and with our support educators are leveraging play when teaching virtually in order to keep kids engaged, active, and to build community.…

kids and adult doing yoga
kids and adult doing yoga

October 6, 2020

Using Play to Foster Social Connections and Physical Activity ›

Play isn’t just fun and games – it’s a vital aspect of our health and well-being. When we play, we engage our bodies, minds, and senses, creating opportunities for increased physical activity, learning, and connection with others. Play can even help relieve stress and support the development of important social-emotional skills, including communication and cooperation.…