Castle Ball – Bay Area Discovery Museum

Castle Ball

Create a hula-hoop castle and protect it from falling over! Castle Ball is like building a “house of cards” out of six hula-hoops. To build the castle, place one hula-hoop on the floor, four hula-hoops on the sides, and one on the top. Once the castles are built, each team throws the foam ball, trying to knock down the other team’s castle. This collaborative group activity helps children develop problem-solving skills.

Materials Required

  • Cones
  • 12 hula-hoops
  • Soft foam balls


1. Make a large play area and designate clear boundaries using cones. The play area should be separated by a center line, designated by cones. Players on each team must stay on their sides and cannot cross the center to retrieve the ball.

2. Split the group into two teams. It works best when each team has a minimum of three players, but more players work as long as teams are roughly even. With more players, increase the number of hula-hoops to make more castles.

3. Each team builds a hula-hoop castle a designated distance from the center line. To build the castle, place one hula-hoop on the floor, four hula-hoops on the sides, and one on the top.

4. The goal is to protect the castle you built, while trying to knock down the castle of the other team with a ball. One point is awarded each time a castle is knocked down, even if a player bumps into his or her own castle. Once a castle is knocked down, it should be set up as quickly as possible to continue playing. Play continues until one team reaches a certain score or a certain amount of time has passed.

5. In defending the castle, be alert and cooperate with teammates to form strategies to defend the castle. Remember to pass the ball to teammates to surprise the defenders and to make sure everyone gets to throw the ball.

Additional Tips

Try this add-on activity:

  • Add additional balls or castles to make the game even more challenging!

Links to Creativity

Building these hula-hoop castles is no easy task. The balancing act required to build each castle requires children to solve and find problems in creative ways. Meanwhile, the collaborative strategies and breadth of attention that occurs during ball sports can contribute to greater creativity on complex tasks. In other words, when children are tracking the moving bodies of their friends, a moving ball, and the target, they are balancing a very complex scenario that will suit them well when later working on complex and creative projects.

Supporting research includes:

Getzels, J. W. (1975). Problem-finding and the inventiveness of solutions. The Journal of Creative Behavior, 9(1), 12-18.

Memmert, D. (2007). Can creativity be improved by an attention-broadening training program? An exploratory study focusing on team sports. Creativity Research Journal, 19(2-3), 281-291.

Runco, M. A. (Ed.). (1994). Problem finding, problem solving, and creativity. Norwood, NJ: Greenwood Publishing Group.


This activity was contributed by Playworks. For more information and resources please visit ©Playworks.

Castle Ball

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