Large Group Game: Jail Break

As posted earlier, large groups can be difficult to keep every kid engaged. One large group game that most folks know (and play often) is Dodgeball. Jail Break is a variation of Dodgeball. It is great because children are never considered “out” of the game like they can be in Dodgeball. Jail Break is best played in a gym or another large, indoor area.


Equipment: A large area with boundaries, dodgeballs or foam balls, cones or boundary markers. 

Set-up:Divide group into two teams.  Line dodgeballs up along center court. Also, place cones on each baseline so they form a “jail”  for each team.

Rules: Each team line up behind their boundary line. When an adult says, “GO!,” everyone races to the center to get a ball. Teams throw the balls at each other trying to hit a member of the opposing team. If someone is hit with a ball or if someone hits a player above the shoulders, the players must report to the opposing team’s jail (stand behind their end boundary). Teams can retrieve dodgeballs from their own jail as long as no one is in there. Once an opponent is in jail, that team may no longer venture to jail to get a ball. Instead, you must get a dodgeball from inside their boundary area.  Once a player is in jail, they may get out of jail by retrieving a ball that comes into the jail. When a child gets a ball from the other team’s jail, they walk to their team’s side of the court before  being “live” again.  The game continues until an adult or someone else ends the game. This game is continuous and never-ending, unless an entire team is in jail.

Variations: At anly point during the game, an adult may yell, “jail break!” At that time, all prisoners are released and may return to the game. Another variation would be that once a person is in jail, they stay there the entire game. But if they retrieve a ball, they can attempt to hit an opponent from behind to send them to jail.


Feel free to comment with any other adaptations you can think of. Have fun!



Jessica Herrell, Department Intern, loves to play games… in fact, that’s what she studied in college! Jess posts lots of games on the blog, so check them out to find some you can use

Jessica Herrell

Jessica is a Maryville College grad with a Physical Ed and Health degree, and has worked at camp since 2009. Jessica joined our office team as the department intern in August 2011.

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