Beth Kimberly’s No Ball Games

Last week we asked for suggestions of good No Ball Games, those games which can be played where balls are banned. Here Beth from Playworks describes some of her best favorites.


Watch You Back Tag and other games!

For over four years, I’ve been leading games at elementary schools, with organizations or at a gathering of friends. One thing I’ve learned is how to make games work without any equipment. Three of my favorites are Watch Your Back Tag, Rock-Paper-Scissors Rock Star, Wah! and Shadow Shadow.


Watch Your Back Tag

Sometimes called Everybody’s It this is a variety of standard tag in which every player is a runner and tagger. Once a player is tag, s/he must get down on one knee and freeze. This person’s job then becomes to watch the player who tagged them. If that player is tagged, s/he goes down on one knee and the original player becomes unfrozen returning to runner/tagger. If players tag each other simultaneously, they can play a quick round of rock-paper-scissors to determine the one tagged. The game continues as long as you wish.

Rock-Paper-Scissors Rock Star

This game is great for groups of ten or more. Players pair up and play a round of rock-paper-scissors. The player who does not win becomes the winner’s cheerleader, following them and shouting ‘Go _____!’ The winner moves on to play another winner. Each round, the winner advances to play again and the non-winners and any previous cheerleaders are now all cheering for that winner. The game continues this way until it is down to two players and the whole group is cheering for one or the other.


In the game of Wah!, more than three players stand in a circle passing an ‘energy’ around the circle with motions and the word “wah!”. The instructions are a bit long for this space, but worth the read! Check out this fun game in a Playworks (formerly Sports4Kids) newsletter.

Shadow Shadow

This game can be enjoyed with two or more players. The object is to follow a partner, mimicking their moves without touching or running into her/him. After a designated period of time, partners can switch and try the opposite role-leader or shadow.

Hope you enjoy playing some of my favorite games. And don’t forget the best games are often those that children create together–just make sure that everyone is playing by the same rules! Find more games that don’t require equipment on the Playworks website.

Beth Kimberly is Social Media Manager at Playworks (, a US nonprofit organization that supports learning by providing safe, healthy and inclusive play and physical activity to elementary schools. After four years supporting play on the playground, Beth has joined the ranks of online community members working to restore play to children’s lives. But don’t let the job title fool you, Beth spends many hours playing in nature.

2 Responses to “Beth Kimberly’s No Ball Games”
  1. I had the pleasure of playing “Rock-Paper-Scissors-Rock Star” yesterday at the Conference on the Value of Play. It was my first time to play this particular variation of the game, and it was INCREDIBLY FUN. No winners, no losers, just plain wild fun. Thanks for sharing these!

    • Thanks, Amy! So glad you got to play Rock-Paper-Scissors Rock Star. And so jealous you were at the Conference on the Value of Play. Hope you get a chance to bring this game to your friends–always a great energizer.

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