What it is: A way fun classic, one I mostly played in elementary school.

Best for: Big group of at least 8 players.

What you need: A big, open area indoors (like a gym). And lots of non-hard balls (like ones made of foam or rubber). And lots of people to play.

How to play: Divide your players into two teams, and divide your gym into two sides with a line (real or imaginary) down the middle. Place all the balls on the line and instruct the players on both sides to stand a designated distance away from the line.

The purpose of the game is to get players on the opposite team out by pegging them (from the neck down) with a ball. So when someone says “go” or a whistle blows, all the (brave) players rush to the line to grab a ball and start trying to get people on the opposite side out. If you’re pegged anywhere from the neck down, you’re out and have to go stand against the wall. But if you catch the ball or get pegged above the neck, the person who threw the ball at you is out. Balls end up bouncing around on the floor, and you can pick one up at any time, but be careful no one pegs you in the process! Also, players aren’t allowed to cross the line in the middle.

The game turns into a big crazy melee, with balls flying and players running, throwing, and, of course, dodging, until one team has completely vanquished the other by getting all players out. There’s one catch, though: if everyone else on your team is out and you’re the last player in, and someone throws a ball at you to peg you, but you catch it, your whole team is back in, hooray! Then the game keeps going.

Variations: I’ll admit that I was never a huge fan of dodgeball—I’m just too afraid of things heading at high speeds aimed at hitting me, I think. But for some reason, I love glow-in-the-dark dodgeball, though it could be said that it’s decidedly more risky and intense. For a much less risky and intense version, try playing with softer balls with kids on a playground. I also think every-man-for-himself dodgeball is more fun, so give it a try!

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