How to play Castle Ball

For many of us, there are a few more weeks of summer. Now's the time to gather with friends and family to play some fun new games! Today's game is a variation on dodgeball, but you won't aim for people! Instead, you aim for a castle built out of hula hoops. The Game of the Week is Castle Ball!

Group Size:  10+

Age Group:  Grade 2+
Length of Activity:   Less than 10 minutes
Developmental Goal:  To practice working together as a team while playing both offense and defense.
Equipment:  Dodgeballs and 10 or more hula hoops

Before You Start: ​

  • Split the group into two teams.
  • Identify the play area (large enough for players to run) so that everyone understands the boundaries.
  • Tell players that Castle Ball is like building a “house of cards” out of four to six hula hoops or cones. The structure will stand on its own but will fall when a ball strikes any part of it.
  • Begin by showing the players how to build a castle. Teams can place one hula hoop on the floor and use four hula hoops to form the sides, adding another one on the top.
  • Allow players to practice building castles until they can do it themselves.
  • Demonstrate safe throws–low to the ground so that it can hit the castle and avoids other players' faces.

Set Up: 

Use cones to mark clear boundaries for play–a large rectangle that is split in the middle, such as a basketball court.

How to Play: 

  • Play begins with both teams have built one (or more depending on number of players and hula hoops) castles on their side of the play area.
  • Soft foam dodgeballs–approximately one ball per five players or as available–are used to attempt to knock down the other team's castle while protecting your own.
  • One point is awarded each time a castle is knocked down, even if a player bumps into his/her own castle.
  • Castles that are knocked down should be set up as quickly as possible so players can continue playing. The other team may not throw at a castle while it is being built.
  • The game is separated by a center line, which players cannot cross to retrieve a ball.
  • Players should be encouraged to pass the ball to teammates to surprise the defenders or to make sure everyone gets to throw the ball. 
  • In defending the castle, players should be alert, on the balls of their feet, and cooperate with their teammates to form strategies that will best defend their “castles”.
  • Once all castles are knocked down a new round is started.


  • If many hula hoops are available and teams are large, have each team maintain 2-3 castles.
  • If a lot of space is available, you can have multiple games going on at the same time, with teams of three-on-three or four-on-four.  
  • Add additional balls. 

Alternative Name of the Game: Sandcastle

Love implementing Game of the Week? 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.


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