Everyone loves basketball! From the plastic hoops that you can set up in your house to the ten foot hoops that pro players use, people of all ages enjoy the simple action of shooting a ball into a basket, especially kids. But sometimes it can get boring just taking turns shooting and dribbling. Next time you take your kids to the court, try one of these games to make their basketball experience that much better.
The games listed here are broken down into three categories: shooting, dribbling, and all-around. Ask your kids what they want to work on and pick whichever game looks the most entertaining.
Here are 6 basketball games for kids who love the sport. All you need is a basketball court and a few balls for each game!
Requirements: 3+ players, 2 balls
Goal: Be the last player remaining by “knocking” other players out!
Rules: Players line up single-file at the free throw line, and the first two players each have balls. The first player shoots until they make a shot. The first shot must be from the free throw line, but subsequent shots can be from anywhere. As soon the first player takes their first shot, the second player can shoot as well. If the first player makes their shot first, they pass it to the next player in line and go to the end of the line. But if the second player makes their shot first, the first player is out for the round. Play continues until only one player remains.
Knockout is a fast paced shooting game that forces kids to be accurate and steady under pressure. To make the game more challenging, start from the three-point line!
Around the World
Requirements: 2+ players, 1 ball
Goal: Be the first to make a shot from all five spots!
Rules: There are five spots on the court where each player will shoot from: the left corner, the left wing, the free throw line, the right wing, and the left corner, in that order. When it’s a player’s turn, they must make a shot from the given spot. Each player has two shots from each spot on their turn. If they make one of the two shots, they move on to the next spot. However, if they miss both shots, their turn is over and on the next turn they must go back to the beginning. If they don’t want to risk going back to the beginning, they can forfeit their second shot and pick up at their spot on the next turn. The first player to make all five shots wins!
Around the world is an incredibly simple game that is purely about shooting. It rewards patience, discipline, and strategy, not to mention great shooting! To make the game more interesting, you can add more spots or make the spots farther from the basket.
Sharks and Minnows
Requirements: 3+ players, balls for every player but one
Goal: Be the last player to get caught by the shark.
Rules: One player is designated the shark while the rest become minnows. The minnows all line up with balls at one side of the court while the shark stands in the middle without a ball. When the shark says “go” the minnows must try to get to the other side of the court while dribbling the ball. If the shark steals the ball or a minnow loses control, the minnow is out. Rounds continue until only one skillful minnow remains.
Sharks and Minnows makes practicing dribbling fun! Encourage your kids to use their body to protect their ball and dribble at different speeds to avoid the sneaky shark.
Requirements: 2+ players, balls for each player
Goal: Knock other players out and be the last one to keep control of your ball.
Rules: Players spread out across the court with a basketball. When one player says “go” players must try to steal each other’s balls by knocking the ball out of the court. However, they must do so while maintaining control of their own ball. The last player remaining wins. The rules are very similar to Sharks and Minnows, but instead it’s every player for themselves.
Dribble Knockout helps kids work on their ball handling skills, especially with learning to keep their head up while dribbling. If they’re looking down the entire time, they won’t see other players coming and they won’t have time to guard their ball!
Requirements: 4+ players, 2 balls
Goal: Be the first team to finish the race!
Rules: Divide up the players into two even teams. If there is an extra player, they can play on both teams. Each team will line up single file under one basket. After the players at the front countdown from three, they must dribble the ball to the other end of the court, make a basket, and then dribble back to their team. Once they finish, they hand the ball off to the next player on their team, who must complete the same task. Whichever team has all its players finish the race first wins.
The Relay Race combines dribbling and shooting skills in a fun, competitive game that kids will love. Remind them not to pick up the ball when dribbling, as the intensity of the game may cause them to forget!
Requirements: Any amount of players, 1 ball, timer
Goal: Finish the contest the quickest to win the game!
Rules: Create an obstacle course and keep track of how long it takes each player to finish. The player with the shortest time is the winner.
Get creative with this game — let your kids experiment with different obstacles and challenges. You can add boxes, cones, or nets to make the contest more difficult.
Here’s an example of possible course:
Dribble around the court twice.
Make three layups.
Make an underhand free throw.
Dribble across the court and back using only your left hand.
Make a free throw shot with your eyes closed.
The Skills Contest is the culmination of every other game into one large competition. The game forces kids to use what they’ve learned in every part of basketball, including shooting, dribbling, and perhaps even passing.
Have fun with these awesome basketball games, and don’t be afraid to get creative. Add some variations and perhaps even combine parts of different games. We want to see all the fun you’re having on the court, so upload videos of your kids playing to the Campfire on the Happy Camper Live website. Ball out!