Defend the castle

What it is: A playground game that’s hard to play unless you have the right place and people, but if you do, it can be a lot of fun

Best for: Three to six children and one to two adults or older teens

What you need: You play this game at a park on a playground structure. It needs to be the right type, though. Not too big, provides enough places to hide, but offers enough open space, too. And not dangerous to move around in. You also need balls–the more the better! Not balls as hard as dodge balls or soccer balls, but those softer, air-filled plastic balls, or foam balls.

How to play: If I remember right, my family made this one up. Basically all the children are on the play structure, and it’s their castle. The adults are out on the ground around the castle. And then they just peg balls at the kids. 🙂 Lightly, of course, not aiming for heads. (This is why you don’t want to play with dodge balls.) The kids try to avoid getting hit by the balls, and also try to throw them back out of the castle as fast as they can. There’s probably a lot of laughter and screaming involved. There’s no winning, losing, or being eliminated. Just play for the fun of it.

Like I said, I think my family made this one up. We lived close to a park with a play structure in the shape of a giant castle, which made the game perfect there. I remember my dad running all around, picking up balls, throwing them at us, and all of us laughing. It’s probably one of those games that, when you’re a kid, seems all too short because the grown-ups get tired. We didn’t ever play it as a formal game. We probably didn’t play it more than a few times. But I remember loving it. So I wanted to document it here. 🙂

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