Four Square Is Great Fun and Great for Development
Remember Four Square, that game with the bouncy red ball you played with your friends back in elementary school? Your school probably had a playing area painted in white on its blacktop – or at least marked out with chalk or tape.
Or you might know the game by one of its other names, like Box Ball or King’s Corners. It has been around since the early 1900s after all.
Regardless of what you call it, Four Square is a lot of fun and surprisingly beneficial for kids, which might make you feel better the next time your kids want to stay out on the playground longer.
Here are just a few of the benefits of the game:
1. Playing Four Square helps develop your kids’ hand-eye coordination and concentration. This is the type of ability kids develop when they catch a ball and/or hit one with a bat, but its benefits go far beyond sports. Hand-eye coordination is vital for activities that utilize eye-tracking and eye-guiding skills, like reading and writing, and use of it develops the areas of the brain responsible for focus and concentration. This has obvious applications to kids’ schoolwork and ability to learn. So it’s a win-win situation for you and your kids: they get to play ball and you get the satisfaction of knowing they may do better in school as a result.
2. As they serve and bounce the ball and move about their square in Four Square, your child learns to stretch and flex their body. This in turn improves their flexibility, making them less prone to: injury on the playground, developing poor posture, and suffering from cardiovascular disease later in life. Flexible and agile, your kids will feel more calm and confident from the inside out after playing Four Square.
3. Playing Four Square helps improve proprioception – the body’s ability to react to outside stimuli to move, balance, and position itself – since in the game the body’s movements need to be coordinated as players move, catch, and pass the ball. Well-developed proprioception helps children know how their bodies and limbs are affecting the world around them. It can be great for helping kids with the following activities (aren’t you glad?): closing a door with the right amount of force, moving around in a crowded hallway without bumping into others, and staying balanced on their feet without knocking things over.
4. Playing Four Square helps develop children’s fine and gross motors skills. Gross motor skills are for activities likerunning and jumping while fine motor skills guide smaller movements like tying one’s shoes and cutting with scissors. A child with poorly developed motor skills may feel awkward at school and may avoid participating in games or other physical activities. This can have lifelong effects on their health and well-being, yet bouncing the ball in a simple game of Four Square can have huge benefits for their motor skills and their confidence.
5. Finally, playing Four Square helps children use and improve their social skills – including cooperation and self-regulation – by requiring them to work together to set and follow rules, such as what type of “moves” and throwing techniques will be allowed in the game, and have fun together. A child who learns to honor fair play on the playground today is more likely to do so as an adult as well.
This is an impressive list of benefits for a simple ball game and a great reason for you to encourage your child to play Four Square and similar games with their playground ball. Your kids get to have fun, and you can feel good knowing that they’re taking part in a beneficial, enriching activity.
Can you think of any benefits we missed? Let us know in the comments section below.