GaGa Ball Game Rules: How to Play

learn the rules of gaga ball.

Gaga Ball game summary: GaGa Pit Ball game is taking America by storm! It is an action-packed ball game that can be played by children of any age.

The rules are simple and it is easy to organize a game. The best part of playing GaGa Ball is that it doesn’t require kids to have a strong throwing arm or excellent hand-eye coordination. 

That means children of any skill level can get into it!  This guide will give you everything you need to know about GaGa Ball.

Table of Contents

Gaga Ball Rules and Game Instructions

The rules are very simple. However, before you start the game, you will have to choose a referee. It’s usually best to choose a teacher, counselor or supervisor of some kind. They are responsible for ensuring fair play and declaring players “out”.

  1. Pick a referee (a teacher, counselor, supervisor)
  2. Between 6 to 12 players enter the GaGa pit.
  3. Players must place one hand on the wall of the GaGa pit fence
  4. The referee waits until everyone is ready to commence play. The referee or a player then throws the GaGa ball onto the ground in the center of the pit so it bounces.
  5. On the first two bounces, the participants will yell “GA!” then they will yell “GO” on the third bounce.
  6. Players will then attempt to hit the ball at the legs of their opponents with an open or closed hand. Each player can only hit the ball once.
  7. If the ball hits a player below the knee, that player is out and must leave the GaGa pit. If the player is hit above the knee they can remain in the pit.
  8. If the ball is caught before it bounces, the player that hit the ball is out.
  9. If a ball is hit out of the GaGa pit, the last player to touch the ball is out.
  10. Players are allowed to use the walls of the GaGa pit to jump higher, but they cannot sit on the wall.
  11. Players cannot hold the ball unless they have successfully made a catch
  12. When there are only two players remaining, the ball can be hit up to 3 times in a row. The ball can be “rejuvenated” by contact with the wall, which resets the hit counter.
  13. If the game is taking too long, a second ball can be thrown into the GaGa pit
  14. The last player left in the pit is the winner and everyone jumps back into the pit for another round.

There are many variations of these rules and you can tweak the rules to suit the age of the group that is playing.

GaGa ball is even more fun when you play music while everyone plays. Most gaga ball rounds take between 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the number of players and their skill level. 

It is a very fun, action-packed, and addictive game. It’s also a great way for kids to burn off some energy.

Rules in infographic to download

A printout on how to play gaga ball and what equipment is needed for gaga ball.

What is GaGa Ball?

The best way to describe GaGa Ball is as a “safer and more exciting version of dodgeball.”  The entire game is played inside of a GaGa ball pit, which is an octagon-shaped or hexagonal-shaped area surrounded by a 3-foot fence. 

The surface of the ball pit can be any hard surface, including cement, grass, dirt, bitumen, and compacted sand.

What do you need to play GaGa ball?

To play GaGa ball, you will require:

  • A GaGa ball pit
  • A ball – any kind of playground ball will do
  • A stable surface – concrete or bitumen works best because the ball can bounce and travel more easily
  • A set of rules (see below)
  • A referee – usually a counselor, supervisor, teacher, or parent.

Gaga Ball Pit Dimensions

Pit typePit sizePlayers
Mega36′ X 36′Up to 44 kids
Official26′ X 26′Up to 28 kids
Junior20′ X 22′Up to 20 kids
Mini15′ X 18′ Up to 12 kids

How big is the GaGa Ball Pit?

The GaGa ball pit is a hexagonal or octagonal boundary wall that surrounds the players. The walls that form the pit can be made from any sturdy material, including timber, polyethylene-coated timber, steel, plastic, or aluminum.

Blow up plastic GaGa pits are also available. They are a great choice if you want to play GaGa at a friend’s house or while on holiday.

The size of a GaGa ball pit can vary. Depending on how much space you have for the pit and how many players want to play at once, you can choose from four general pit sizes: Mega, Official, Junior and Mini.

For small groups of up to 12 kids you don’t really need more than the Mini pit which is 15′ in diameter but if you have many kids, go with the Mega that can hold up to 44 kids at once with a diameter of 36′.

The height of the GaGa ball pit wall is also a factor because it determines which shots will stay in play. Most GaGa ball pits have a height of between 18′ to 36′ inches. 

Some pits have a section of wall which is lowered or a doorway so younger children can get into the pit easily.

Gaga pit surface

Ideally, the surface of the GaGa ball pit should be hard and smooth. Concert or asphalt works best, but the game can also be played on grass, dirt, stone dust, or compacted sand. 

It’s often a good idea to have timber chips or sand surrounding the pit in case anyone falls over the wall.

Many people have begun installing GaGa ball pits in their back yards for the children. You can either make a pit yourself if you are handy with tools or purchase a pre-made one. 

Most commercial GaGa ball pits use timber that bolts onto steel brackets. They can be set up fairly easily and are a great addition to your home.

Another great option is to use an inflatable GaGa ball pit. This allows you to quickly set up the pit and take it down when the fun is finished. 

You can also take the pit with you when you go on holiday or visit a family friend.

What kind of ball is used for GaGa Ball

GaGa ball can be played with any kind of bouncy ball, including soccer balls, basketballs, and volleyballs. 

However, to have the most fun in a GaGa ball pit, it helps to have a ball that is very lightweight. This allows the players to obtain more velocity when they hit the ball with their hands. 

Having a ball that bounces well is also a great idea because it makes the game more unpredictable and exciting.

The size of a GaGa ball can be anywhere between 8 to 10 inches in diameter. It just needs to be big enough for the kids to accurately hit and small enough so they can jump over it.

Playground balls like the School Smart Playground Ball, Champion Sports Playground Ball, and Voit Playground Ball can work really well. 

They are tough rubber balls that are textured – making it easier for the kids to hit or catch them. 

They are also available in many different colors, which is useful if you are organizing other types of playground activities.

You can also buy official GaGa balls from SCS direct. They are super lightweight balls made from durable rubber. 

At 8.5 inches in diameter, they are the perfect size for young children playing GaGa ball for the first time. They also featured a textured exterior and are super bouncy.

GaGa Ball Game History

Although GaGa ball is a relatively new game for kids in the United States, it has been around for many years in other countries. 

“GaGa” means “Touch Touch” in Hebrew and it’s believed that children have been playing GaGa ball in Israel for many years before it got to the US. The popular opinion is that the game was invented there.

The game was first played in the United States at Jewish summer camps in the 1970s. 

In 2010, a man named Cliff Silverman saw his daughter playing GaGa ball and having the time of her life. 

He decided to design some GaGa ball pits that could be easily installed in schools, parks, and people’s homes. This helped to accelerate the popularity of the game.

Benefits of playing Gaga ball for kids

Here are just a few benefits of getting kids involved in GaGa ball

  • GaGa ball is an inclusive game that can be played by children of all ages. An individual’s level of athletic ability is less important when playing GaGa ball.
  • It is a fast-paced game with rounds that end within a few minutes. This means the kids that get out early will only be sidelined for a short amount of time. 
    This is much more exciting than other sports where getting out involves sitting around for a long time!
  • GaGa ball helps children develop their physical skills, including their hand-eye coordination, reaction speed, jumping skills, and dexterity
  • The rules of GaGa ball are simple to learn
  • Children are happy to play GaGa ball for an entire recess period because it is so much fun
  • The skills that kids learn while playing GaGa ball will translate into other sports like soccer, football, and basketball
  • It’s easy to set up a GaGa ball pit and they can be moved around easily
  • It is a very safe game because the ball is aimed below the waist
  • GaGa ball requires very little equipment so its easy to have a quick game (or ten).

Pro tips to play the game

Here are some simple tips to help the kids become great at GaGa ball.

Learn the rules well

While the rules of GaGa ball are very simple, there are a couple of small tricks to learn. For example, the children should learn that the ball can be hit up to 3 times in a row by hitting it off the wall and resetting the hit count when there are two players remaining. 

This will help them win a few games. They should also learn that it is ok to use the GaGa ball pit to help them jump higher and that they can catch the ball to get someone out.

Practice the swatting technique

A child can improve their swatting technique by hitting the ball against a wall repeatedly. This will help them learn how to get the most velocity out of the ball.

Learn some trick shots

One of the best ways to get someone out is to pretend that you are going to hit the ball forward, then hitting it sideways. Kids can work on strategies to trick the other players on the direction of their shots.

Use the angles of the pit to bounce into the back of people

The advantage of playing in a hexagon or octagon is that the walls are at different angles. Children can bounce the ball off a wall to make it shoot off at an unexpected angle and hit someone from behind.

Alternate ways to play GaGa Ball

Here are a few variations of GaGa ball that are a ton of fun

Redemption GaGa Ball

In a normal game of GaGa ball, players who are out will stand around watching the rest of the game. 

In redemption GaGa ball, if they catch a ball that has been hit over the fence on the full, they get to come back into the game! This is a great way to keep all the players involved.

Unlimited GaGa Ball

This is an endless game of GaGa ball! When a player gets hit by the ball, they must remember the person who hit them with it. 

When that person gets hit, then they can return to the game. That means the only way to end the game is for a single person to get almost everyone out. This version of GaGa ball can get pretty intense!

Double GaGa Ball

This is the same as standard GaGa ball, but with two balls in play. It works well for more advanced players who are good at dodging the ball.