If you want a wide game that’s easy to play and doesn’t require half an hour to explain the rules, try team handball. It’s really simple and anyone can play.
All you need is two soccer nets and a ball. (You may also want pylons to mark the goalie’s crease.) A ‘gator skin’ ball works best: it’s soft and squishy so head shots don’t hurt so much, but it has enough weight that you can throw it with power. The distance you place the nets apart depend on the size of your group. Try 75 feet for 20 people and 200 feet for 100 people. The goalie’s crease should be a half-circle around the net with 15 foot radius – maybe a bit smaller if you have younger players. You will need two teams – each with a goalie.
Playing the Game
The objective is to throw the ball into the other teams net. The game is started with a jump ball in the center. Once a player has possession of the ball, the player may take three steps and/or hold the ball for three seconds. After that the player must either pass the ball to a team member or throw the ball at the net. No players from either team are allowed within the goalie’s crease – with the exception of the goalie (who is not allowed out of the crease).
Depending on how rough you want to play the game, you can allow or disallow players from ripping the ball out of the another player’s hands. If you disallow it, players must only try to intercept or block the other team’s passes – they are not to touch the other players.
For the Ref
Most infractions result in the loss of possession, however, you may want to award penalty shots if the defending team breaks a rule during a scoring opportunity (such as being within the goalie’s crease). If the game ends in a tie, a shoot out will decide the winner.
This variation is better with smaller groups (20 – 30). The rules and gameplay are the same, just the setup is different. The field is smaller (75 ft), the nets are hockey nets face down with the bottom end open towards the field (and the goalie crease is removed), and the ball is a large foam dice (about 8 inches square). Whenever the dice is thrown in the net, whatever number on the dice is showing up, that’s how many points are awarded.
Just slightly different from the original, replace the nets with large buckets (plastic garbage cans work great). The goalie no longer tries to prevent goals, but goes to the other team’s side, stands on a chair, and holds the bucket up so his team can put the ball in his bucket. There is no goalie crease, but players are not allowed to interfere with the goalie.
Indoor Team Handball
If you are playing indoors, place hockey nets upright, facing the end wall about 2 ft away from it. There is no goalie, but still a goalie crease. To score, the players will need to bounce the ball (or dice as mentioned above) off the wall.
You can find other great wide games in Six Wide Games Kids Love.