Aaron Waid
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Your youth are going to be OBSESSED with Spud and want to play it all the time! This game is a fantastic alternative to dodgeball that’s less physically demanding, not as aggressive, and better for playing with groups that have a wide range of ages. However, it still has all of the fun and action of dodgeball, while being more social and friendly.

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Number of participants – 5 Minimum – No Maximum

Materials and Equipment – A large, safe ball and open space

Can Be Modified For Social Distancing

Spud is one of the most beloved games that I used to play as a youth. I have brought this game to my youth groups and they have LOVED it because it’s, super fun, easy, and for small or large groups. Also, be sure to check out the social-distancing friendly modification below. It should be noted that our directions vary from the original version of this game because the original version takes way too long with groups bigger than three.

A big, softball (think kickball) and some open space is all that you’ll need for this action packed game. It can be played indoors (such as on a basketball court or other open area) or outside in a field or parking lot.

Spud Game Rules And Instructions (Read Aloud To Group)

Everyone gathers in a circle and one player is “It.” To start gameplay, “It” throws the ball in the air and shouts out another person’s name while everyone else runs away. The “New It” grabs the ball and shouts “STOP” as soon as they have possession of the ball. Holding the ball, the “New It” picks a “Target” and can take 4 big steps (Saying S-P-U-D if they like) toward the “Target” – no jumping! The “New It” then tries to hit the “Target” with the ball, without skipping the ball and no aiming for the head! The “Target” cannot jump out of the way, but can dodge with their feet planted on the ground or catch the ball. If the “Target” dodges or catches the ball, they become “It.” If the “New It” hits the “Target” with the ball and they don’t catch it, the “New It” becomes “It” and everyone gathers in a circle again. Gameplay continues until a final showdown between the remaining two players to determine the winner.

Spud Detailed Rules And Instructions

  1. Have everyone share their name aloud. Then, choose someone to be “It.”
  2. “It” gets the ball and the rest of the players stand in a circle around “It.”
  3. “It” throws the ball up into the air and calls out any one person’s name.
  4. As soon as “It” throws the ball into the air, everyone runs as fast as they can.
  5. The person called out by “It” runs back and grabs the ball and screams STOP.
  6. Everyone must stop at once. (Be aware that youth will try to get away with not stopping immediately. It might be good to have another adult just watching and making sure everyone is stopping when STOP is called-just a tip from playing this sooooo many times.)
  7. Once STOP has been called, the “New It” (the person’s whose name was called and is now holding the ball) has 4 steps they can take (S P U D) to reach the closest player.
  8. The “New It” can’t jump, but can take as big as steps as they can – no more than 4.
  9. The “New It” then picks out a “Target” person to throw the ball to try to get them out.
  10. “New It” must hit the “Target” they choose, but no head shots.
  11. If “New It” misses the “Target,” or if the “Target” catches the ball, then “New It,” is now out and the “Target” is now the new “It.”
  12. If “New It” successfully hits their target, then the “Target” is now out, and “New It” remains “It.”
  13. Return to Step 2 – Gather everyone in a circle again and keep playing until only one person is left.

COVID/Social Distancing Game Modifications

This game already requires social distancing by its very nature, except at the very beginning of each round. To improve on social distancing, when all the youth circle around “It” in Step 2,” make sure they do not get close to one another. In other words, make sure they stand further away from “It” as the round starts.

However, to balance the scales of the game with the social distancing rules in place, there will be no throwing the ball in the air. Instead, when the round begins, It will place the ball on the ground, then yell out a person’s name, rather than throwing it in the air (See steps 3-5). This way the person who called can get to the ball faster, giving the youth a shorter time to run further away. Then, if needed, allow “It” 5 steps instead of 4 (see step 8).

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Spud Game Rules | Youth Group Games | No Prep Games