Activity 149/150

4-Square

Four square is a schoolyard ball game played by four players on a court divided into quadrants.

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History
Although it has been played for decade the origins of the game are uncertain. In Canada it is believed that four girls brought Four Square to Westmount, Quebec in 1968.

Where
Four Square is played on a max. 20 x 20 foot quadrant hard court, like a schoolyard, making it the perfect game for urban centres.

How to play
Each player starts in a quadrant of the court and has a different ranking: king, queen, tower and jester. Note: names may change based on the schoolyard the game is played in. The object of the game is to eliminate the players in higher squares by bouncing a rubber ball into their squares. If the ball bounces twice in their square or they fail to hit the ball back into another person’s square, the player is eliminated. If you cannot find four people to play with, you can play the game on the same ‘square’ with two people and have each person responsible for two squares – twice the fun!

Suggested equipment
- 20 x 20 Four Square court with quadrants (or draw with chalk)
- Basketball or other bouncy ball

Adaptations
Physical activity in Canada includes everyone, regardless of any ability or circumstance. Some sports and activities may, however, require a few adaptations to make them as accessible as possible. Below you’ll find recommendations and suggestions on how to accommodate individuals that may have limitations or different needs. With a positive attitude and a little ingenuity, any activity can be made enjoyable for all.

Sensory

Use bright colored squares to help visually impaired individuals distinguish the 4-square outline (for example: neon green, bright orange or bright yellow).

Consider different versions of the ball such as brightly coloured, larger, lighter or auditory.

Learning/Cognitive Disabilities

Allow individuals to have a partner assisting them and create double coverage in their square (prolonging the duration of the game and opportunities for the individual to hit the ball).

Consider allowing the participant to catch the ball if necessary (for a limited amount of time) and then throw it.

Only permit underhand touches to the next square. No overhand spikes.

Mobility Limitation

For wheelchair users and individuals with mobility limitations, make the squares smaller than the standard 8x8 to allow them increased opportunities to retrieve and hit the ball.

Some individuals may prefer to use their feet instead of hands to pass the ball around.

Allow double bounces instead of one to increase the amount of time an individual has to hit the ball. Also, only permit underhand shots to decrease the speed of the game and the velocity of the ball.

Benefits of 4-Square

The Canadian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines outline the amount and type of physical activity you need at every age and stage of life. And, for the first time, the new 24-hour Movement Guidelines for Children & Youth also include sleep. Following the guidelines will help reduce the risk of chronic disease, lead to a more focused mind, a stronger, fitter body, and all in all, a more enjoyable life.

See Benefits and Guidelines

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Michelle Murray
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