How to Have a Snowball Fight – Are There Rules?

After waiting all season, the snow that fell last night finally has the right moisture levels to make snowballs (and snowmen). Perfect winter days like these don’t come around all that often, so you and the kids want to make the most of this one with a snowball fight. Are there rules to snowball fights or are they no holds barred?

Snowball fight rules vary depending on the players, but there are a few consistent ground rules to follow, including:

  • Only use white snow, not yellow or brown/black snow
  • Don’t make snowballs with rocks in them
  • You get more points for the face/head than the body

In this article, we’ll go over the above rules in more detail as well as the other rules that you and the neighborhood kids might decide to implement for your snowball fight. Then we’ll talk about the basics of snowball fights. We’ll even share some pointers on how to win, so keep reading! 

rules to a snowball fight

These Are the Ground Rules of a Snowball Fight

Let’s start by delving into the basic ground rules of snowball fighting. As we said in the intro, the following rules are the ones that most snowball fight players will always agree upon. Even still, these rules are not unspoken, so make sure you mention them to your opponents! 

No Yellow or Brown Snow, Please

This is arguably the biggest rule of a snowball fight. Brown snow is dingy with dirt, car exhaust, and other pollutants. No one wants to be hit with a brown snowball, as that will kill the fun of a snowball fight very quickly.

Even worse is a yellow snowball, as that means the snow has been urinated on. More than likely, it was a neighborhood dog that did it. Think of how gross it would be to have a yellow snowball whizzing by your face. Don’t subject your opponents to that either. It’s disrespectful. 

Don’t Put Stones in Your Snowballs

Snowballs can hurt, especially if you hit your opponent in the right spot, but they’re just snow. Or at least, they’re supposed to be. Although it would give your team the advantage to roll small pebbles or stones in a snowball, doing so is cheating. If you tell the opposing team to refrain from this behavior, then you must do the same.  

The Head/Face Is Worth the Most Points 

This is a more flexible ground rule, so feel free to omit it. If you’re having a snowball fight with young kids, for example, then you probably don’t want to hit anyone in the face or the head. That’s also true if you have parents playing with the kids. Perhaps the rule is that the kids can hit the adults in the face or head but not vice-versa. 

Either way, be very clear on which body parts you and your opponents cannot hit during the snowball fight. This will prevent injuries!

Other Important Rules to Establish Before the Snowball Fight Begins

You got the ground rules out of the way, but you and the other kids in the neighborhood will still have to set a lot of other rules before you can start playing. Let’s talk about those now. 

The Number of Rounds

The first matter of business is determining how many rounds your snowball fight will last. Maybe you do four or perhaps you do six; it’s all up to you.  

The Duration of Each Round 

When deciding the number of rounds to play, you also must consider the duration of each round. For example, you and the opposing team throw snowballs for four rounds and each round lasts three minutes. 

That’s only 12 minutes of play, so even young kids will be able to keep up and enjoy the thrills and fun of a snowball fight. By taking breaks in between rounds (maybe two minutes apiece), everyone can maintain their stamina from round to round. 

What the Points System Is

Now that you’ve got the game structured, you must decide what your snowball fight scoring system will be like. 

We talked in the last section that the face and head typically earn a snowball thrower the most points. If that’s the case for your game, then assign the head/face a certain number of points, like five points. Then maybe the torso is three points, and the limbs are two points.

Next, you have to pick how many points a team needs to win. Perhaps the rule is that the first team to 10 or 15 points wins. You can also play so that after four rounds, whichever team has the most points is the winner. It’s your choice, so give it some thought.

How Many Snowballs You Can Keep 

Now we need to get into the fairness of the fight. You can’t win a snowball fight without snowballs, but how many snowballs the participants can keep at the ready must be decided upon. Otherwise, one team can have 20 snowballs and another team five, which is unfair to the other team. 

While we do recommend having people available on your street to oversee the snowball fight (more on this a little later), no one is going to stand there and count the number of snowballs available on your side except for you and your team. Thus, you’re operating on a bit of an honor system. Be a fair player! 

Whether You Can Use a Snowball Maker

Another aspect of fairness is whether all players must roll the snowballs themselves or if you’re allowed to get assistance from a device like a snowball maker. If it’s the former, then you and your opponents must determine what the uniform diameter of the snowballs is for them to be allowable for the fight.

Should you opt to use a snowball maker, both teams should have the same device so no team has an advantage. 

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How to Have a Snowball Fight

For the kids especially, all the rules talk was boring, but you know how necessary it is. With that out of the way, you can finally get to the part that everyone has been waiting for, the snowball fight! Here’s how to play. 

Choose Your Teams and Their Roles 

Snowball fights have two teams. Each team should have an equal number of people. If the adults are playing, then select an equal number of adults per team as well. 

Once you have your teams, it’s time to give them roles. Yes, that’s right, there are roles in a snowball fight. The snowtroopers are the ones who will leave the base and attack their opponents. The mechanics will make snowballs. Snipers will stay behind cover and attack. Then there’s the team captain, who leads everyone else.

Pick Your Bases

Both teams have home bases. This is where you hide, make snowballs, go over strategy, and fight. Depending on where you’re having the snowball fight, a base might already be available to you, or you might have to take the time to build a snow fort. Examples of preexisting bases might include a grouping of trees or a driveway behind a truck. 

Have a Timekeeper and a Scorer 

You can’t recruit everyone in the neighborhood for a snowball fight, as you need some people to take on a more passive role. One such job that will keep the game moving smoothly is a timekeeper. They’ll announce the start of every round as well as its end and inform the players of how many more rounds are left.

The scorer will review the game from a safe distance, keeping track of who’s hitting what and where and then assigning points to each team. 

Use a Safety Word  

Kids can get tired and cranky after too much playing. They might also be hurt if they get hit by a particularly hard snowball. You need a safety word the kids can use when they want to take a break. Select this word before the game begins. Make sure it’s not a word you’d use during normal gameplay or in everyday conversation. 

Tips for Winning a Snowball Fight 

You’re in it to win it and so is the rest of your team. Here are some of our best tips for beating your opponents and coming out victorious in your snowball fight! 

Take Cover

Whether you’re at your home base or elsewhere, you cannot stand or otherwise be out in the open during a snowball fight. If you do, then you’re an easy target. At all times, you and your fellow teammates must obscure yourselves, whether that requires ducking or hiding. 

Wear Gloves When Rolling Snowballs

Some people use the warmth of their hands to help snowballs stick. This is okay if you’re only rolling three or five snowballs, but 10, 20, or 30? Your hands will start freezing in no time. We’re sure we don’t have to tell you this, but you’re not a very valuable player if your hands have gone numb.

Wear gloves when rolling and throwing snowballs. Mittens are too thick and can limit the finger dexterity you need during a snowball fight. 

Choose the Right Winter Gear

Your outdoor winter gear is everything during a snowball fight. Layer up to stay warm, but avoid cotton, especially for your base layer. Cotton doesn’t absorb sweat, so the sweat will be cold on your skin, making you feel even colder.

Pick moisture-wicking layers. Yes, you will start sweating between all the snowball-rolling, throwing, and running around. Avoid bulky winter coats and snow pants, as these garments hinder your flexibility, which could cause you to lose the game!

Take Aim

Throwing snowballs in random directions will not lead to victory. You need to find your target, set your sights on them, and aim in their direction. Remember though that your targets will be constantly moving around, so this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Watch your target as they move and don’t lose sight of them. 

Master Your Throw

The art of throwing snowballs is easier to learn if you and your teammates have practice playing baseball. You have to stand in the right position before you throw. Turn your feet towards your opponent and keep your knees somewhat bent. Your feet should be shoulder-distance apart.

With the snowball in hand, raise your hand and rotate it back beyond your head. Then propel your arm forward, letting the snowball go. Keep your grip on the snowball tight but not so tight that you destroy the snow in your hand. Always throw with your dominant hand.

Final Thoughts

Having a snowball fight is a great way to get some exercise, make fun wintertime memories, and bring the community together. Set the ground rules as a group and then get ready to play your best. Good luck out there!  

Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

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