An extremely popular game used in many different situations, four corners has simple rules and no need for advance preparation or equipment. The game also works well for any age. It can be used for learning, as an icebreaker, and as a party game.

About the Game

Four Corners is an elimination game; players guess which corner will not be eliminated. One person is selected to be “It” and placed in the middle of the room. The four corners are numbered one through four. Players are given thirty seconds to choose a corner of the room and station themselves there. The person who is “It” calls out a number, and the people in that corresponding corner are eliminated from the game. Those eliminated sit down and do not continue playing. Remaining players then have thirty seconds to find another corner or stay in the one they chose first. “It” calls out another number and those individuals are also eliminated. This continues until only one player (or a few) are left. The director of the game decides if there will be one or more winners. The last person left gets to be in the middle and be “It” for the next round.

Four Corners Game Rules

  1. The player in the middle must close their eyes and count slowly and loudly backward from ten to zero.
  2. While they are counting, everyone must find a corner and stay there or they are out.
  3. The player in the middle points to corner of his/her choice, and then opens their eyes.
  4. Anyone standing in the designated corner must sit down.
  5. If no one is standing in the chosen corner, all the eliminated players sitting may stand up and get back into the game.
  6. When only one player is left standing, he/she becomes the counter for the next round.
  7. Change the middle person when one person has been in the middle for 2 minutes.
  8. When the game gets down to four people or less, each must choose a different corner.
  9. If “It” calls out a corner where nobody is standing, they must call out another corner.

Variations and Uses for Four Corners Game

Four Corners in the Classroom

Objective: Students will develop decision making capabilities.

Use Four Corners for reviewing academic information. Provide A, B, C, and D answers and use corresponding numbers for the corners. Students are asked a question and provided possible answers. They pick what they believe is the correct answer (A, B, C, or D) and go to that corner. Those answering correctly remain in the game and the others are eliminated. After a number of rounds, the ones still standing win.

Indoor Four Corners

The indoor version works well on rainy days or at an indoor party. Indoor Four Corners is essentially a guessing game, where the players must guess which numbered corner may be called next. Usually, “It” will not call the same number two times in a row.

Outdoor Four Corners

The outdoor version of Four Corners relies on speed, timing and observation. Also known as “Canadian Four Corners,” this version is a tag game played in a square playing area. The person designated “It” stands in the center, while the other players stand in the four corners. While players are in the corners, they are safe and cannot be tagged. The object of the game is for players to switch places with those in the other corners without being tagged by “It.” A new player becomes “It” if they are tagged, or the player in the middle moves into an empty corner before other players are able to do so.

Common Problems and Solutions

  • The child chosen as “It” will not keep their eyes closed. A frequent complaint of four corner players is that the person in the middle is peeking. A blindfold will solve this problem.
  • The players in the corners stay still instead of changing corners for the outdoor version, making tagging impossible. The leader can begin counting and any player who has not moved by the count of twenty is out.
  • The players become too loud. The facilitator of the game can announce that “It” will choose the noisiest corner next.
  • If participants are unfamiliar with the game, do a practice round with the facilitator or leader serving as “It.”
  • If players all have a tendency to clump in one corner, announce that players must split themselves equally among the four corners (as closely as possible).

The length of a Four Corner game varies depending on how many rounds are played and how many players there are. The initial game usually lasts about ten minutes.

Four Corners appears at first to be a simple game. However, the game lends itself to a variety of uses. Try it anytime elimination is the goal of an activity or party game.