How To Play Four Square

One of the most popular games among elementary students at recess is four square. As simple to learn as it is fun to play, four squares is a game that can keep children entertained for hours with little to no effort. All that is needed is a bouncy playground ball, a hard surface, sidewalk chalk for drawing boundaries, and a minimum of four people.

Before play begins, you'll need to draw the court boundaries. Four square is played in a square court that is divided into four equal sections. Label the squares from one to four. Four squares is played as a series of games that end as a result of a player error. The object of the game is to advance into the first square. Upon making an error that ends a game, a player moves into the lowest square, while the next player moves into his old square. If the person in the top square makes an error, he must go to the lowest square.

  • The game begins with the person in the first square "serving" the ball into play.
  • Players must then bounce the ball into each others' squares, allowing the ball to bounce only one time in their own square.
  • Four square players may hit the ball using any part of their hands and may hit it over or underhanded.
  • However, catching or holding the ball for more than a second constitutes "carrying" and is considered to be an error.
  • A round ends when a player commits an error, by hitting the ball out of bounds, onto a line between squares, breaking a rule set by the first player, or allowing the ball to bounce twice in his own square.
  • Also, a player may not hit the ball while it is in play in another player's square.

Upon making it to the first square, a player may institute his own rules in the game. These rules must be followed while that player is in the first square. Once he loses his position, however, those rules may be abolished in favor of rules set by the next player in the first square.


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