Come Out And Play – Box Ball

Foursquare, or Box Ball as it was known in much of Philadelphia, is a popular playground game across the United States. The game has been compared to a miniature version of tennis that originated in Europe centuries ago. The Foursquare that is common today became popular around World War I and World War II. Of course, the rules changed slightly as years passed, and the game spread across the country. Regardless of where it came from, Foursquare is still a favorite playground game.

Here are the rules:

• To play you need a group of friends (more than four), chalk and a ball.

• Step one is to draw the court which is four boxes surrounded by one larger box.

• There is no specific rule about how large the boxes must be, but they should be large enough to stand in with some space to bounce the ball.

• Number the boxes one through four.

• One and four should be diagonal to each other.

• The court should be on a hard surface like wood, concrete or asphalt.

• Usually, the courts are 10 feet by 10 feet.

• The goal of the game is to advance to the highest numbered square.

• Players bounce the ball between each other until someone makes a mistake and is eliminated.

• When a player is eliminated they leave the court and players in the lower numbered squares advance to fill the squares. A new player can come in to fill the empty square at number one.

• To start the game, the player in square four must serve to the player in square one.

• The ball should always bounce once before it is hit.

• Wherever the ball bounces, the owner of that square must bounce the ball into another square.

• The ball can’t be held or caught and it can’t bounce more than once in a square. It must be hit to inside another square. It can’t be hit by anything but hands. It can’t be hit by a person from a different square.

• Anyone who breaks these rules is eliminated.

• Sometimes there are special rules depending on where the game is played, like no hitting with a closed hand.

The person in square 4 must call the rules before each game, so everyone knows how to play.

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