How to play Wall Ball

It’s time to head back to recess! One favorite game on many playgrounds is wall ball. Played with a playground ball and a wall, this game can be for two, three or even more players! On some playgrounds, kids and adults call the game hand ball, but play is nearly identical. The Game of the Week is Wall Ball!

Group Size:  2+

Age Group:  Grade 1+
Length of Activity:   Less than 10 minutes
Developmental Goal:  To develop basic ball handling skills and hand-eye coordination.

Equipment:  Bouncy Ball

Before You Start: ​

  • Demonstrate how to hit the ball against the wall.
  • Choose players to help demonstrate game.
  • As they play, point out various rules and directions.
  • Ask the players to explain the boundaries and how to hit the ball.

Set Up:

Use a play area with a smooth, wide wall and marked boundaries are helpful.

How to Play:

  • The game begins when one player serves the ball by hitting the ball towards the wall.
  • The ball must bounce one time on the ground before it reaches the wall.
  • The receiving player must let the ball hit the wall and bounce once before returning it.
  • The player can then return the ball by hitting it and reaching the wall in one bounce off the ground.
  • Play continues until the ball:
    • Bounces on a line or outside the boundaries.
    • Hits the wall without bouncing off the ground.
    • Bounces twice before it is returned.
    • Is not allowed to bounce.
  • When a player stops the play, s/he goes to the end of the line and a new player comes into the game.
  • The remaining player is the server and begins the next game.


  • For lower skilled players, allow them to catch and return the ball.
  • After play has advanced past this basic game, players can add special rules. For example, instead of requiring one bounce before returning the ball, a player could allow returns before the ball bounces as well as on a single bounce.


And here’s a fun video explaining how our Southern California team plays!

Find 156 fun games in our newest Game Guide.

Includes everything from games you can play in a small space with no materials, to games you can play in a big group during recess. Search for games by age level, time/space/materials available, and by the life skills used (like problem solving or teamwork).

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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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