Pass the Ball (A.K.A. “Signs”)

Adapted from

Here’s a new (to Crossroads) game we think your kids will love. It involves stealthiness and tends to work well with medium to large sized groups. This stationary game works well with both kids and adults and in many settings (gym, classroom, outdoors)

Object of Game
To pass the imaginary ball without being caught by the guesser.

Equipment Needed

How the Game Is Played
Have everyone sit or stand in a large circle, facing inward toward each other. Every player chooses a unique “sign,” which is some kind of movement or motion. A sign must be easily detectable by others, although not so obvious that it attracts a lot of attention. Good examples of signs include:

  • Waving your right hand
  • Squeezing your nose
  • Patting the top of your head twice
  • Sticking your tongue out
  • Making two thumbs up

Once each player has created a sign, go around the circle and ask each person to demonstrate their sign to the rest of the group. You’re now ready to play the game.

The goal of Signs is to be stealthy and to try to keep passing an imaginary ball to other players without getting caught by a guesser who must stand in the center of the circle. The guesser tries to figure out where the ball is within the group and catch the person who currently has the ball at that specific moment.

To play a round, choose one person to be the “guesser.” Have the guesser stand in the middle of the circle, close their eyes and count slowly to ten. Choose one person in the circle to be the person who starts with the imaginary ball.

While the guesser is counting with their eyes closed, the player with the “ball” will pass it on to any other player. To pass the ball, this player must perform their own sign and then any other player’s sign. For example, if Player 1’s sign is make two thumbs up, and if Player 3’s sign is to pat the top of their head, Player 1 must make two thumbs up and then pat the top of his head in order to pass the ball to Player 3. Player 1 is now safe and Player 3 has the sign. Player 3 must perform their sign and then someone else’s in order to continue passing the ball.

After counting to ten, the guesser opens their eyes and looks around the circle trying to guess who has the ball. The guesser constantly looks all around the circle, trying to detect any movements. The guesser is allowed three guesses. To guess, they point to one player and ask, “Do you have the ball?” If they guess correctly, then the guesser wins the round and the person caught with the ball becomes the new guesser. If the guesser makes three wrong guesses, then the guesser loses the round and has to close their eyes and count to ten again.