Kickball and dodgeball have exploded in popularity - not only with kids at recess, but with adults looking to rekindle their childhood passions. If you're too late to join an organized summer league, try these simple games at a backyard cookout.

Kickball and dodgeball have exploded in popularity - not only with kids at recess, but with adults looking to rekindle their childhood passions. If you're too late to join an organized summer league, try these simple games at a backyard cookout.

Knockout

Equipment needed: Two basketballs, one hoop, big dreams

Useful skills: Good outside shot

How it works:

1. Line up behind the foul line with the first two players holding a ball.

2. The first person shoots. If he makes it, he passes the ball to the third in line. If he misses and the person behind makes his shot, the first person is out.

3. Game play continues until only one person remains.

Quick tip: If you're not a great shot, attempt to knock away the other person's ball for more time

Red Rover

Equipment needed: Open space, arms

Useful skills: Speed, recklessness

How it works:

1. Players form two lines and hold hands.

2. The first team calls over an opponent, shouting, "Red Rover, Red Rover, let Ranston come over."

3. If Ranston breaks through, he selects someone to come back to his side. If he fails, he joins his opponent's team.

4. The winning team is the one with all the players.

Quick tip: After targeting the opposing team's weaker links, put them on the ends to avoid breaks on your side

Spud

Equipment needed: Red rubber ball, open space

Useful skills: Decent arm, lack of mercy

How it works:

1. Form a circle and count off.

2. The person chosen to be "it" throws up the ball and calls a number. Everyone runs except the one whose number was called.

3. That player must retrieve the ball and yell, "Spud." Everyone freezes, and the ball-holder takes four steps toward an opponent.

4. If he hits the opponent with the ball, the opponent gets a letter. If the thrower misses, he gets one. You're out when you accumulate S-P-U-D. Whoever gets a letter is "it."

Quick tip: Always attack the opponent with his back to you

Four Square

Equipment needed: Red rubber ball, sidewalk chalk

Useful skills: Quick reflexes, haughty demeanor

How it works:

1. Mark off a giant square that contains four smaller ones, each roughly eight feet long.

2. Each player occupies a square. Squares are ranked, highest to lowest, as king, queen, prince and princess. The object is to stay in the top box.

3. The king serves the ball by bouncing it once in his square and then hitting it with his hands into one of the other three.

4. Each player must hit the ball before it bounces twice in his square and land it safely within an opponent's area.

5. If an opponent fails to do so, he's out. The three other players move up to a higher square. A new player - or the eliminated one - takes the lowest space.

Quick tip: As in any monarchy, lower players should form alliances to depose those above them

Ghost in the Graveyard

Equipment needed: Open space

Useful skills: Good eyesight, affinity for the occult

How it works:

1. Kind of like hide-and-seek in reverse, one person hides while a group counts to 100.

2. When a seeker finds the ghost hiding, he yells, "Ghost in the graveyard!"

3. Everyone runs back to an agreed-upon base, and the ghost attempts to tag one of the seekers.

4. Whoever is tagged becomes the next ghost.

Quick tip: Try to find an actual graveyard

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