One of the new GaGa Ball Pits at Union Ridge Elementary School

The recess areas at Union Ridge Elementary School are visited by hundreds of kids each day. But with only one play structure for two buildings, play activities have been limited. Now, thanks to the Union Ridge PTO, there are now three new “GaGa Ball” pits for Union Ridge students—and the kids are going gaga for GaGa Ball.

GaGa Ball is fast-paced and high energy, making it a popular recess game. It is similar to dodgeball, but with limits on how the ball can be used. Players stand in an octagonal pit, keeping one hand on the wall. When the ball is thrown into the pit, the players say “Ga!” for the first bounce, “Ga!” for the second bounce, then “Ball!” on the third bounce. At that point, the ball is in play.

Any player can hit the ball once with an open or closed hand to try and “tag” another player. If the ball hits that player below the knee, they are out. If they catch the ball, the person who hit the ball is out. If the ball leaves the pit, the person who hit the ball is out. Any player who is out must leave the pit. 

Players can use the walls of the pit to hold themselves up to jump and avoid the ball. They can also bounce the ball against the wall to get another chance to hit the ball. The last player standing wins the game. 

GaGa Ball lets students practice aiming, dodging, striking, running, and jumping. It helps instill good sportsmanship as students work their way through elimination rounds. Because the pits are large, many students can play at once. And the games end quickly, so lots of students have the chance to play over the course of a short recess period. 

Additionally, GaGa Ball provides an inclusive play opportunity. The gate and play surface are ADA accessible, so students with assistive devices like wheelchairs can participate in GaGa Ball. The play area is designed so all Union Ridge Elementary students can enjoy a game of GaGa Ball. GaGa Ball has been wildly popular with Union Ridge Elementary students. Many thanks to the Union Ridge Elementary School PTO for making this exciting new recess activity possible!