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Edison Insider

Four square bounces into gym classes  

Photo by Erin Meade
Eighth graders Marlee Mendelson, Maya Greenberg, Lila Aronowitz, and Mia Gerstenfeld play four square during recess.

Do you remember playing four square? Four square reminds everyone of fond memories from elementary school. Recently, four square has made a comeback, and returned to the middle school gym at Edison Intermediate School (EIS). Physical Education teacher at EIS, Todd Custer, explained, “We decided to add four square to the gym curriculum because we noticed that many students enjoyed playing outside during recess. It is also a good no-contact game after Covid.”

The origin of four square dates all the way back to the 1900s and originated from a French lawn game.  “Historians believe the game evolved from a variation of French lawn tennis, which divided the court into four sections, handball, and a game called ‘Paume’… Eventually, box ball evolved into the four square playground leaders know and love today” (Banks). 

This game is loved by many because of the vague rules and its competitive nature. There are many variations of how to play four square, like, mini-games, double touches, slams, etc. However, the basic rule is to hit the ball into someone else’s square, and the object of the game is to get your opponents out, so you can become king of all the squares. EIS seventh grader Alex Natt, stated, “My favorite part of four square is that the rules are very lenient, and that I can make up my own rules while being king.”

Even though the game has become a unit in many Physical Education classes, people still notice less four square games as they get older. The game is most popularly played in elementary schools. Fifteen students and staff at EIS were asked if they noticed less or more of four square playing recently. Only two students said they noticed more of the game and 13 students and staff members said they noticed less of it. A sixth grade student at EIS, Sofia Fricke, shares her opinion, “Some people still play four square at recess, and it was a gym unit, but everybody played in elementary school.”

Although four square is just a simple game, it has many kinds of benefits for people who play. Dr. Krish Tangella describes the physical benefits of four square. “It improves hand-eye coordination: four square requires players to track the movement of the ball and anticipate their opponent’s movements…Enhances balance and agility: The game’s quick changes in direction and the need to stay within the square can help improve balance and agility.” 

Not only does four square have numerous benefits, it is also a fun game many like to play with friends. Louis Mattielli, a seventh grader at EIS expressed, “The game itself is okay, I just really enjoy playing it with my friends, that’s the best part of the game.”

Despite the fact that you may have not played four square since elementary school, the game is growing. As you can tell, four square has many benefits and allows children to play an enjoyable, competitive game.

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About the Contributors
Maya Greenberg
Maya Greenberg, Writer
Maya Greenberg is an eighth grader at Edison Intermediate School, and she is a journalist at the Edison Insider. Outside of Journalism, Maya loves to hang out with friends and family. She also loves to listen to music in her free time. She enjoys relaxing at the beach and during the summertime she goes to sleep away camp. Maya likes to go shopping with her friends, and her favorite season is summer because she loves the hot weather. She also loves the color pink. 
Marlee Mendelsohn
Marlee Mendelsohn is a writer for the Edison Insider. She likes playing soccer and hanging out with her friends. She likes shopping and her favorite stores are Lululemon, Brandy Melville, and Mixology. Marlee also likes to read, and her favorite book is Princess Diaries. Her favorite food is pasta. She likes drinking seltzer. Her favorite class is science, because she wants to be a doctor when she’s older.

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