We borrowed a semi-portable GaGa Ball pit from a generous church for a couple of weeks last summer. We loved it. It seemed that each time there were kids in the area, the kids would begin a pick-up game and the parents or grandparents would enjoy some bench time to chat and visit. We knew the ball playing would be fun, but the added benefit of building community was a bonus. Last December, we made the big purchase from Coach Cliff’s and just held onto the boxes until I could find a great carpenter to buy the wood and put it together.

GaGa Ball is believed to have originated in Israel, and slowly spread across the U.S. over several decades. Ga means “hit” or “touch” in Hebrew. In the rules of GaGa ball, the ball must touch the ground two times before it is considered in play, hence the name. The game moves fast and kids of all ages and stages can play together.

The goal was to have the pit ready for the Sunday after Easter, but we didn’t want to just put it out there without some expression of gratitude and ceremony. We wanted to let the children know that their church loved them so much they provided the pit for them, but ultimately all good things come from the Lord. So, we promoted a Blessing of the GaGa Ball pit to take place immediately after all Sunday services along with freeze pops on the Sunday following Easter. The freeze pops gave us a chance to offer direction since there will be no eating inside the pit. Once they finished their freeze pops, they could enter to play AFTER we gathered to remember that all good things come from the Lord and it is good and right to give thanks.  The pit will stay up until the first week of November, then packed away until the Sunday after Easter the following year.

Leader: Thank you, God, for this Gaga Ball pit.
All: This is a day to remember God’s love.
Leader: We know that everything we have ultimately comes from you, because you are the Creator of all things.
All: This is a day to remember God’s love.
Leader: We ask you to help this Gaga Ball pit to grow in us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control as we play.
All: This is a day to remember God’s love.
Leader: We ask that as we play, we would remember to play by the rules.
All: This is a day to remember God’s love.
Leader: We ask that you help us remember that as we play, it is more important to be kind than to argue. Let us celebrate when we play well and when my friends play well.
All: This is a day to remember God’s love.
Leader: Let us invite the old friend, the stranger, the new friend, and all who want to play.
All: This is a day to remember God’s love.
Leader: As we play, let us remember God’s love.
All: This is a day to remember God’s love. Amen!

Two bouncy balls stay inside the pit making a pick-up game available anytime kids are around. That same afternoon of the Blessing of the GaGa Ball pit, upon our return from a 3rd-5th grade shared-event, the lingering began. The returning students started a game and the kids who were at church helping their parents set up for the following week’s consignment sale, came bounding downstairs to join in. Our families stayed another 30 minutes chatting, laughing, telling stories, and watching their kids play ball. This is going to be fabulous.  Thank you, Lord! This is a day to remember Your love.

“Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.” Psalm 33:3