Backyard Ga-Ga Ball Pit ($300)

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Introduction: Backyard Ga-Ga Ball Pit ($300)

In my never-ending search for ways to get my kids off electronics, I decided to build a backyard ga-ga ball pit for my son as a birthday present. If you haven't heard of ga-ga ball, you're missing out!

Ga-ga ball is a game played in a fenced in "pit" similar to dodgeball. I believe it originated in Israel or became mainstream their. My son learned to play at a summer camp many years ago and we play as a family at public parks that have permanent pits.

A ga-ga ball pit typically consists of a large octagon fence 15-20ft in diameter with a height of 24-36 inches. This Instructable will show you how to build a ga-ga ball pit for your backyard that is 32inches tall with a diameter of ~20 ft in diameter. My total cost came to just under $300 and was complete in about 2 hours with the help of my brother, my son (age 12) and my son's friend (age 13).

Step 1: Gather the Materials

It actually took me more time to load the lumber, pay for it and get it home than it did to actually build the pit. Below are the full materials and tools needed. I had the hardware store cut the 2x4s to length. The 2"x10"s are at stock lengths. My local hardware store had some 2"x10"s that were damaged by a forklift during unloading. I offered to buy the damaged lumber at 75% off and they agreed. That saved me about $20!

Materials:

1.) 2" x 4" Pressure treated lumber at 32" lengths (qty: 16) (I bought four 2x4s at 12ft lengths cut to size)

2.) 2" x 10" Pressure treated lumber at 8ft lengths (Qty: 24)

3.) 3" Course thread wood screws (qty: 200)

4.) 1.5" Course thread wood screws (qty: 100)

5.) 3" Door or Gate Hinges (qty: 16) like this

Tools:

1.) Hand drill

2.) phillips driver bits

3.) Circular saw if you choose to cut the 2x4s yourself

Step 2: Build a Wall #MAGA!...kidding

Build one side walls of the pit by laying down (3) of the 2x10s, squaring them up and laying two of the 32" 2x4's over top at the ends. Set 8 or 9 of the 3" screws in to hold them all together at each end. Each side should have 16-18 screws. Make sure the 2x10s are evenly spaced and flush with the ends of the 2x4s.

Step 3: Build Seven More Sides

Once you have one of the sides built, build 7 more on top to ensure that all wall are square and identical. I had the kids take over for this part. This is probably the first project where my son and his friend helped more then they hindered, making this a huge milestone. I remember when my son was about 4 and always wanted to "help out" with my projects. Looks like that training is starting to pay off!

Step 4: Prepare the Pit Zone!

I have a section of my yard that's too shady to grow decent grass. I chose this area for the pit so it was easy to shave down with my lawn mower set to it's lowest height. Took about 10 minutes to shave it down, pick the rocks out of my shins and rake the area clean.

Step 5: Connect the Side Walls

Using the 1.5" screws and door hinges connect the sidewalls and build the octagon. This is the step where lots of money can be saved. You can buy gaga ball pit braces on line for ~$400 but the $30 in door hinges work great! Shout-out to my co-worker Kevin McMaster for coming up with this idea!

Don't get hung up on making the walls all level and perfect. Let the walls follow the ground surface and it'll be fine. The wall junction on't have to be perfectly flush with each other. If it's +/- 0.5" it'll be fine, no one will notice or even care once the games begin!

Step 6: Have Fun!

Learn the rules if you don't know them and have fun! We've had about 14 people in our ga-ga ball pit playing at one time and there was plenty of room for more. This has been one of the most heavily used projects I've taken on so far and I'm hoping this pit gets many more years of solid use!

Drop me a message if you decide to build you're own ga-ga ball pit from this Instructable!

Backyard Contest

Runner Up in the
Backyard Contest

1 Person Made This Project!

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26 Comments

0
jeanniel1
jeanniel1

2 years ago

Gosh, wish you'd posted the rules of the game so it'd be all in one place! Maybe an addendum or attachment? I love the fact this gets kids out of the house and off electronics. Major thumbs up for this project!

0
stumitch
stumitch

12 days ago on Step 6

Well done! Gaga ball is an awesome game... we use it with our middle school kids and as teachers, we love it because it is self-policing (usually)... kids that are not following rules or playing unfairly are usually eliminated pretty quickly. It is also great for kids of all sizes and abilities, little kids actually do well because the leg (target) area is small! Thanks for posting and if anyone is thinking about trying it, I would say it is an excellent add to any yard!

0
armanni031379
armanni031379

Question 7 months ago

Did you anchor this into the ground somehow to keep it from moving?

0
BDCoop
BDCoop

Answer 12 days ago

24 2x10x8s are not casually moved.

0
sammote
sammote

Answer 5 months ago

no

0
efrltd47
efrltd47

12 days ago on Introduction

Why did you build eight sides, but show only a seven sided fence for the game?

0
stoniewan
stoniewan

2 months ago on Step 6

This was a great plan and materials list. It took us just a few hours! Thank you for posting the idea!

0
joannmillerok
joannmillerok

Question 3 months ago on Step 6

I love your idea uses gate hinges vs ordering the $400 hinges. How has your gaga ball pit held up? I have 9 kids and about to follow your instructions to build .

0
Connor2007
Connor2007

Question 4 months ago

how long did it take to build this?

0
sammote
sammote

Answer 5 months ago

If you want to build a gate then there can be but also someone could hit it or break the hinges or something on it. Best option would to be steps on the outside, and a minature ladder on the inside. ( Big enough for your feet of course )

0
DonnaLPS
DonnaLPS

Question 11 months ago

How do you handle the drainage on the gaga ball pit? From what I've seen, the wood side that are flush with the ground, hold water in, which makes it unplayable and rots the wood.
Thank you!

0
sammote
sammote

Answer 5 months ago

Put a hole under one of the sides, and there is your drainage. Check on it every day though, or else that dirt that you kick around will cover it up.

0
codylong52
codylong52

1 year ago

It’s all fun and games until someone breaks their hand.

0
AubreeReynolds
AubreeReynolds

2 years ago

The content is very valuable. It shows that you spent time researching this and you have managed to turn it into an incredible piece of valuable content. For more information, click here.

0
KimD184
KimD184

Question 2 years ago

Any suggestion on how to make this portable? We would like to make this for our county 4-H program and use it at different events. Thanks!

0
lovejoykim
lovejoykim

Question 2 years ago on Step 1

Do you mind sending me the information on the hinges? The link suggested isn't working for me.

0
cfleis1
cfleis1

3 years ago

Please vote for me in the “Backyard” contest!

0
Jimichan
Jimichan

3 years ago

This looks like it has only 7 sides.