GaGa Ball Game Rules and Variations

Outdoor game of GaGa Ball

GaGa Ball, also known as Octoball, is an action-packed game in which players in a low enclosure called a GaGa Ball Pit try to eliminate opponents by hitting them in the legs with a rubber ball. GaGa was invented decades ago, although its origins remain somewhat unclear. What is clear is that the game has become immensely popular in camps, schools, scouting, child care, and youth organizations. ABC News called it the “kinder, gentler version” of dodge-ball and many recognize it as a safe, inclusive, easy to learn way to provide engaging physical activity for kids of any age and athletic ability.

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GaGa Rules

  1. Players start inside the GaGa pit and touching a side wall. One player throws the gaga ball up in the air towards the middle of the pit. On each of the first two bounces, players yell “Ga” as the ball hits the ground, then it is in play for anyone to hit (“Ga-Ga-Go”).
  2. Players can hit the ball with one hand, but cannot pick it up and throw it.
  3. If the ball touches a player anywhere on or below the knee, that player is eliminated. This is regardless of who touched the ball last - sometimes a player gets themselves out by mistake!
  4. A player cannot touch the ball two times in a row – the ball must first touch another player or the pit wall or it is called a “double touch” and that player is out. Note that players can "dribble" the ball off the wall as many times as they want to setup their next shot as long as it touches the wall each time.
  5. Players may not kick the ball since this means touching the ball below the knee.
  6. If the ball is hit out of the pit, then the last player to touch the ball is out.
  7. Players who are out must leave the GaGa pit immediately.
  8. The last player out is the winner and gets to start the next game. (If it seems to be taking too long for the last two players to end the game, the players waiting outside the pit can count down from 20 to end the game in a tie).
  9. (Optional, just make sure to agree before starting the game!) Some places also play that catching the ball in the air eliminates the person who hit it.

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GaGa Variations

GaGa Ball Pit action in school cafeteria

Domination GaGa

This variation is great for “leveling the playing field” among players of various ages and/or athletic ability. Gameplay is as above except that when a player gets “out”, any player who was previously gotten out by that player can re-enter the pit.

Mayhem GaGa

Use up to 4 balls for this game (different colored balls work best to help keep track of “double touches”). Players may not see it coming!


Team GaGa

Players stay on opposite sides of the pit (which can be re-shaped into a rectangle or even “figure 8”) and play until one team is totally eliminated. Getting each opponent out allows a teammate to re-enter.

Defender GaGa

Each player picks a wall panel to defend from being hit by the others, like a goal keeper would. Keep score by number of hits and high score loses!