I’m excited to show you how to build a Gaga Ball Pit. This is a super simple project. It doesn’t require a lot of tools, and is a good beginner woodworking project.
Gaga ball is super popular at my kids’ elementary school! All of the kids love it, so when my friend, who is a middle school PE teacher, asked me to help her build a gaga ball pit, I was so excited to work with her on this project.
As I researched how to build a gaga ball pit, I found a lot of really complicated methods, but then I found this video by Chico’s custom Creations, and it checked all of the boxes for me.
First, this is a really easy and efficient way to build a gaga ball pit. You don’t have to piece a million boards together, and all it took was a few sheets of 3/4″ plywood.
The other reason we liked this way of building a gaga ball pit is because we knew we needed it to be portable. My friend is going to have to put this up and take it down when she wants to use it. So we wanted something that wouldn’t be too complicated and would be easy to move.So, I drew up really easy gaga ball pit building plans based off that video, and it turned out so great! You can download the free building plans here: [Download not found]
How to Build a Gaga Ball PitFirst, download my free building plans for more detailed instructions, dimensions, supplies, and the drawings:[Download not found]
- 8 sheets of 3/4″ plywood (I used this from The Home Depot)
- Circular Saw
- Circular Saw Guide (Kreg Rip Cut is my absolute favorite!)
- Jig Saw
- Drill with 1/2″ drill bit
- 200 grit sandpaper
Before you start: Decide on your size
You can build this gaga ball pit whatever height you’d like, and use as many panels as you’d like. You can also use only 5, 6, 7, or 8 panels, if you’d like.
For the purpose of the plans, each gaga ball pit panel is 96” x 30”. I recommend this size for teens and adults.
If you are building this for small children, I would recommend a 24” panel height
If you are trying to save on materials, I would recommend making the panels 96” x 24”, because you can rip each panel exactly in half.
For reference, the child in the photos is 11 years old and going into middle school. These panels are 30” high, and she can climb over them just fine.
Rip plywood at desired height. For our gaga ball pit, we ripped each panel at 30”. But if you are building for smaller children or would like to save materials, you may consider ripping the plywood at 24”.
Leave the width at 96″, so you should have 8 panels of plywood (96″ x 48″)
Use a circular saw and a jig saw to cut two slits on each panel. You will want them to be on opposite sides of the length of your panel.
The slits will be 1 ¾” wide, 4” from the side of your panel.
You want these slits to be half of the height of your plywood. So if you are building a 30” high gaga ball pit, you want the slits to be 15 ½” long or longer. If you are building it 24” high, you will want your slits to be at least 12 ½”.
Measure 32” from each side, and down 2 ½” from the top of your plywood panels. Then measure a box about 5” x 3”.
Use a ½” drill bit to drill pilot holes, and cut the hand holds with your jig saw.
Sand the hand holds to remove any rough edges.
Assemble the gaga ball pit. Like a jigsaw puzzle, slide one slit of the panel inside the other. It works best with two or three people holding the panels steady.
The last panel is a little tricky to get into place, but once you’ve put it together a few times, you get used to putting it together and taking it apart.
Now that you have your gaga ball pit all built, you might have questions about what gaga ball is, and how to play gaga ball.
All about Gaga Ball
But before we get started building our pit, you may want to know more about gaga ball.
What is Gaga Ball?
Gaga Ball is kind of like dodgeball. But it’s played in a gaga ball “pit”. The objective is to be the last player who doesn’t get hit by the ball. Players hit the ball at each other with their hands, and are eliminated if the ball hits them below the knees.
What are the rules to Gaga Ball?
All of the players stand inside the gaga ball pit. Each player must have a hand touching the side of the wall on the “pit”.
One player (or a referee) throws the ball into the air, and everyone yells “Ga, Ga, GO!!” as the ball bounces three times. Once the ball has bounced three times, players start hitting the ball with their hands.
The objective of the game is to not get hit by the ball, while hitting other people with the ball. A “hit” only counts if it is on or below the knees.
Players are not allowed to catch the ball and throw it. You should not “scoop” the ball or punch it. Players should only hit the ball with an open hand.
Once the ball hits you, you are “out” and you exit the gaga ball pit.
If the ball is hit out of the pit, the last person to touch the ball is “out”
If you touch the ball twice, without the ball touching either the wall or another person, you are out.
If you hit another player above the knee, you are out.
You are allowed to touch the walls of the gaga ball pit, or lean on them to help you jump, if needed. But you are not allowed to sit or hop onto the walls during the game play.
How many people can play Gaga Ball?
You can have as many players as you’d like to play gaga ball. Typically, you would have between 6 to 12 players in the pit at one time. My family always plays with 8 players in the pit. There are two ways to play. You can play one round at a time, or in a rotation.
If you play one round at a time, players exit the pit once they are hit, but no new people come in for those who exit. In this type of game, the last player standing wins.
My kids often play gaga ball at school, with a lot of kids, so they play in a rotation method. When one person get “out” by being hit by the ball, they go to the end of the line. Then, the person in the front of the line gets into the pit and starts playing. You always keep 8 players in the pit. This is kind of like a never ending game.
What kind of ball do you use for Gaga Ball?
There is an official gaga ball. However, gaga ball can be played with any soft foam ball, a dodgeball, or a kickball. Generally between 8 to 10 inches in diameter. It just needs to be big enough that the kids can throw it accurately, but small enough they are able to jump over it and dodge it.
How big should a Gaga Ball Pit be?
Gaga ball pits should be about 15-20 feet in diameter. The gaga ball pit plans that I have make a 17.5 foot gaga ball pit. It should be anywhere from 24 inches to 48 inches tall. You want it high enough to keep the ball in, but low enough that players can easily climb over the wall when they are out.
Can you play Gaga Ball with more than one ball?
If you are an experienced gaga ball player, you may find one single ball rather boring. If your group is up for a challenge, you may try adding a second ball into play. However, all of the original rules apply.
If only a few players are left, you may want to add a second ball into play to expedite the game. If you have a couple of really good players, you can be waiting on the last few players to get out for a long time.
Is Gaga Ball played on grass?
Gaga ball is not played on grass. It should be played on a solid surface, where the ball can bounce easily. Concrete or asphalt works well. For my photos, I show it set up on the grass, but that was just because we were testing the size.