Slip N Slides aren’t a new or novel yard accessory. I can remember playing on a Slip N Slide in the 80s. But a relatively new phenomenon that has become a popular youth ministry staple is Slip N Slide Kickball. Though I’ve seen hundreds of youth ministry posts about this awesome game, it seems there is some confusion about how to make the most of it, and how to ensure no one gets injured in the process.
I’ve now played Slip N Slide Kickball with groups about a dozen times, so I thought I’d share a few of the best practices and tips I can to make the best and safest event possible.
Obviously, getting the right supplies is a key ingredient to a great event. I’ll include links to the items we bought below. You should be able to purchase these items for a couple hundred $ or less (I know we’re all working with a budget).
Inflatable pools (do NOT buy pools with hard plastic sides. We bought THESE from Amazon.
Plastic Sheeting (I recommend at least 6mil thickness and I fold it over, so 10′ wide is recommended. We bought our plastic sheeting HERE – this may be your most expensive supply.
Wood stakes – to hold the ends of the plastic sheeting down for safety – THESE worked well for us.
Baby soap – to get everything nice and slippery. We bought about 10 bottles of THIS.
Balls – we prefer the large balls straight out of the Walmart bin (great for 9-square too)
Pool noodles – We cut these and put them over the stakes so people don’t get hurt
Setting up the game properly is the best way to ensure maximum success. If you set the game up correctly, you can have the most fun without injury. Here are a couple key things to note as you prepare to set up the game – I’ve included some pictures of our setup at the end of this post for you to reference.
You NEVER want students standing or running ON the plastic sheeting. That’s a great way to get a broken arm or a concussion. Make sure you give them a runway so they can run on the grass and then dive onto the plastic sheeting.
The inflatable pools serve as the bases. Make sure they are full of soapy water and that the sheeting is wet and soapy before anyone slides.
Before students begin playing, wet them down or have them take a dip in one of the pools to get soapy.
Take the plastic sheeting and double it up for maximum durability. When you get it placed, fold the ends students will be diving onto and then drive the wooden stakes into the folded up plastic sheeting to hold it in place. If you do it correctly, it won’t puncture the sheeting but instead push it into the ground.
The filled up inflatable pools will hold down the other end of the plastic sheeting – DO NOT put stakes at the end with the pool – students could easily slide into them and get hurt.
Give plenty of runway between every “base” and every Slip N Slide. Make sure students can run on the grass before hitting any Slip N Slide.
Have plenty of buckets and hoses (with hose splitters, which are invaluable) so you can keep the plastic sheeting wet, the pools filled, and the students soggy.
Playing (The Rules)
You can play Slip N Slide Kickball in any number of ways, but here are some of the rules I’ve utilized to try to make the most of our time and ensure everyone goes home with all their limbs still intact.
The most important rule I communicate at the beginning of the evening is this: IF you step on the plastic sheeting at any point while running the bases, you are automatically out. This ensures that everyone dives onto the plastic sheeting instead of trying to run on it.
I prefer to play where each team kicks through their entire lineup before switching sides. This means everyone gets to kick the same number of times, and it makes for a lot of fun at the end of the inning when the last people have to try to score on a “home run.”
Outs are determined the same way as regular baseball or kickball. If you kick the ball and it is caught before it hits the ground, you’re out. If you can touch the base on a force out (like at first base), then the person is out. If the bases are loaded and you can get a “force out” at home plate, the lead runner is out and the run does not count.
I also play where you can throw the ball at the runner while they are sliding. This is much harder than you think when you use the larger balls, and creates some crazy moments when people think they have an “easy out” but instead throw the ball into the outfield.
Teams switch sides after everyone has kicked through the lineup, and you can play as many innings as you want.