Dodgeball is a fast-paced game that offers many variations. You can play it with large groups or small, with older kids or younger children -- or even with adults. The key to creating a successful dodgeball game is tailoring the game to the players who are participating.
As with regular dodgeball, create two teams -- but each team for this variation will include one "lifeguard." The lifeguard is responsible for tagging her teammates back into the game. If the lifeguard is hit, her team loses, and the game restarts. If anyone who is not a lifeguard is hit, she must immediately sit where she was hit -- on the court -- and wait for the lifeguard to tag her back into the game. Seated, tagged players are still allowed to catch and throw balls at the opposing team and its lifeguard.
To play pin-down dodgeball, you'll need bowling pins, cones and foam balls. Create two teams, each with a captain. The captain is responsible for setting up two to four bowling pins anywhere on his team's side of the court. Each team includes players who are pin protectors -- they try to prevent the opposing squad from knocking down their team's pins. All other players are attackers whose primary responsibility is to knock down the pins of the opposing team by throwing the foam balls. The team that knocks down all of the pins first wins, but you can extend the contest by simply restarting the game after one team knocks down all of the pins.
In scatter dodgeball, once a player is hit, she must sit on the court at the spot where she was hit. She remains in this spot until the player from the opposing team who got her out is hit by the ball. That player must then sit while the first player returns to the standing position. Seated players are allowed to throw and catch balls. An advantage of this variation is that the game can continue as long as required. Since any player may have a chance to return to regular -- standing -- play, the competition continues until a coach stops the game rather than when all players but one have been hit by the ball and are thus out of the game.
After the coach sections off a dodging area at about the half-court line, two throwers are chosen and are sent to opposite sides of the court. Everyone else is in the middle, between the two throwers, but inside the dodging area. On the coach's signal, the throwers take turns throwing the balls at the kids within the dodging area. Players who are hit should sit on the sideline until the game restarts. The last two standing in the dodging area become the new throwers in the next game.