Top 14 Basketball Games for Children

Top 14 Basketball Games for Kids

It is always good to have your kids interested in a sport. One of the most popular sports is basketball. Encouraging your kids to take up a sport like basketball not only provides physical exercise and rule-following skills but also promotes teamwork, discipline, and self-confidence.

Basketball offers a wide range of games, from classic matches to creative variations like “HORSE” and “Around the World.” Engaging with your child in these activities fosters their love for the sport and strengthens your bond. So, whether it’s a friendly shoot-out or a full-court game, basketball offers endless opportunities for enjoyment and growth. Read on for some fun ideas for basketball games for kids.

Fun Basketball Games for Kids

If your child is showing interest in basketball, there are a few games that you can introduce them to. These can often be played right in your driveway. All you need is a hoop and a ball. Here are some fun basketball games for kids:

1. Around the World

This is one of the best basketball shooting games for your kids to play if you are trying to have the children work on their accuracy at shooting and endurance.

How to Play

  • With some sidewalk chalk, mark five spots around the court from which you want the kids to take shots.
  • Have the kids take turns to take a shot from each of the marked spots.
  • Whoever makes all five shots in succession is the winner of the game.

2. Line Dribble

This is a game that will allow your children to get good practice with dribbling the ball.

How to Play 

  • With some sidewalk chalk, draw a few lines. You can make them straight or curvy.
  • Have the kids take turns to dribble the ball along the lines that you have drawn.


  • You can have the children switch hands as they dribble to make it more challenging.

3. 21 Points

This is an exciting, fast-paced shooting game that incorporates free throws, demanding speed and focus, two vital elements in basketball. You can adjust the point system based on the players’ ages or the available time.

How to Play

  • Position all players behind the free-throw line.
  • The first player shoots from the line. A successful basket earns them one point and the chance for another free throw.
  • If the shot misses, the player must quickly retrieve the rebound and attempt another shot. A made shot here is worth two points.
  • If the player misses the rebound shot, the next player takes possession and restarts from the free-throw line.
  • The game concludes when a player reaches 21 points.
  • If any player exceeds 21 points, their score is reset to 13.

4. Musical Basketballs

This game needs a lot of balls, but promises to be a fun variation to the usual Musical Chairs.

How to Play

  • You will need to get one ball per person.
  • Place the balls in a circle.
  • The players should form a circle outside the circle of balls. When the music starts, the players need to start walking around the balls.
  • When the music stops, each player needs to grab the ball near them and shoot the ball.
  • The player who makes a shot should sit down to signify that he or she has finished making the shot.
  • Each player should continue to try to make shots and sit down when they are successful.
  • The last person left will be eliminated.
  • This should be repeated until only one player is left in the game.
  • This player is the winner.

5. H.O.R.S.E

This is one of the more fun basketball games for preschoolers.

How to Play 

  • Any number of kids can play this game.
  • The child playing first needs to choose a place in the driveway to take a shot from.
  • The first player can try to invent any kind of shot. For example, the player can sit on the ground and try to make the shot.
  • If the shot misses the hoop, then they are rewarded with the letter “H” If they miss the shot the next time their turn comes, they get the letter “O” and on it goes until the word HORSE is spelt. If this happens, they are out of the game.
  • If the first player makes the shot, the second player must imitate the exact type of shot the first player took.
  • If the first player misses the shot, then the second player can invent their own type of shot to take. For example, they can try making the shot while standing on only one leg.


  • If you want the game to be shorter, spell out PIG instead of HORSE.
  • You can set the rules for specific shots so the kids get to practice.

Basketball Games for Children

6. Sharks and Minnows

This game is quite common and is played by almost all beginners in sports. You can play this anywhere you have a hoop and enough space for a group of children.

How to Play

  • If you have a large group of children, then you can have two sharks, but if the group is small, you should pick only one shark.
  • The rest of the children are the Minnows. They will need to form a line near the baseline and face the sharks.
  • Each of the Minnows will have a basketball, but the sharks will not.
  • The Minnows will need to dribble the ball from one baseline and back again.
  • The Sharks will need to try to steal their ball or knock it out of bounds.
  • If the Shark manages to steal or knock the ball out from a Minnow, the Minnow is turned into a Shark for the next round.
  • One round is when a Minnow journeys from one baseline to the other.
  • The last Minnow standing is the winner.
  • For the next game, the last two Minnows will serve as the Sharks. If the group is small and started with only one Shark, the winning Minnow will be the Shark.

7. Basketball Tag

This game will really test dribbling skills, so it is a good game to play when you want to make the kids practice.

How to Play 

  • Here, the kids will need to spread themselves out on a line on the basketball court.
  • If the group is big, you should designate two taggers.
  • If the group is small, designate one tagger.
  • The kids on the line will need to keep dribbling their ball without moving off the lines.
  • In the meantime, the taggers will try to eliminate as many of them as possible by either forcing them off the line, making them lose control of the ball or by simply touch-tagging them.
  • Whoever is the last still standing and dribbling is the winner.

8. Dribble Limbo

This is a bit harder than regular limbo, because not only do you have to bend down lower and lower, but you have to maintain control of a ball as well.

How to Play

  • Two of the kids will need to hold the limbo stick while the rest of the players will need to line up.
  • The players will have to go turn by turn, dribbling the ball and going under the limbo stick.
  • After all the players have gone under the limbo stick, the two players holding the stick have to lower it a little.
  • The players in the limbo line repeat the process, except they have to bend a bit more.
  • The limbo stick will be lowered more and more after all the players in the limbo line go under.
  • Those who either lose control of the ball or fall over are eliminated.

9. Beat the Buzzer

This game is very simple, but also very challenging.

How to Play

  • Have your child stand a little farther from the basket than they are comfortable with.
  • Now set your timer for around 30 seconds.
  • See how many baskets your child can make within the time limit.
  • If you have more than one player, whoever makes the most shots within the time limit, wins.

10. Basketball Relay

This game is best played with a group of children.

How to Play 

  • Divide the children into at least two teams.
  • Each team needs to form a line.
  • Each of the teams should have a ball.
  • The first person in the line should dribble the ball all the way to the opposite end and back.
  • When they reach their starting point, they pass the ball to the next player in the line.
  • The first team that completes the relay will win.

11. Hot Shot

Hot Shot is a fantastic game for improving shooting accuracy.

How to Play 

  • Designate different shooting areas around the court.
  • Each child takes turns attempting shots from these spots.
  • If a child makes a shot, they move on to the next spot.
  • If they miss, they stay at the same spot until they make it.
  • The child who reaches and makes shots from all the spots first wins.

12. Dunk Contest

Unleash your child’s inner basketball superstar with a Dunk Contest, a game that allows them to showcase their creativity and athleticism.

How to Play 

  • Set up a mini hoop or adjust the height of a regular hoop to make it reachable for the kids.
  • Each child takes turns attempting to perform the coolest dunk they can imagine.
  • Judges (parents or fellow players) rate each dunk, and the player with the highest score wins.

13. Obstacle Course

Combine basketball skills with agility and speed in this fun obstacle course game.

How to Play 

  • Create an obstacle course using cones, hoops, and other items.
  • Players dribble the ball through the course, weaving in and out of obstacles.
  • Time each player, and the one who completes the course the fastest wins.

14. Freeze Tag Basketball

Add a twist to the classic game of Freeze Tag by incorporating basketball dribbling skills.

How to Play 

  • Designate one player as “It.”
  • The “It” player tries to tag other players by touching them.
  • To unfreeze a tagged player, another player must dribble a basketball through the tagged player’s legs.
  • The game continues until all players are frozen or a time limit is reached.

Basic Rules of Basketball Games

The fundamental regulations that dictate the game of basketball entail several key aspects. Firstly, each team is limited to having only five players simultaneously on the court. Secondly, victory hinges on a team outscoring their opponent, with a game clock tracking the time for scoring opportunities. Furthermore, players have the freedom to pass the ball in any direction and can hold it in their hands, while holding it against any other part of their body is strictly forbidden. Any acts of foul play are considered violations, and players are required to adhere to the decisions of the game’s official, typically referred to as the referee or umpire. Additionally, teams or individual players are allowed to request timeouts in specific situations.

Some Interesting Facts About Basketball for Children

Here are five interesting facts about basketball that can engage children and pique their interest in the sport. These facts can add an element of history and wonder to a child’s understanding of basketball, making the sport more engaging and exciting for them.

  • Basketball was invented by Dr. James Naismith in December 1891. He came up with the game to keep his students active during the winter months at the International YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts.

  • The first basketball was a soccer ball. Initially, Naismith used a soccer ball as the first basketball.

  • The National Basketball Association (NBA) was founded in New York City on June 6, 1946. The league has since become a global powerhouse in professional sports.

  • The tallest NBA player ever was Gheorghe Mureșan, who stood at 7 feet 7 inches (231 cm). Conversely, Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues, at 5 feet 3 inches (160 cm), was one of the shortest players to ever play in the NBA.


1. At What Age Children Can Start Playing Basketball?

Children can start playing basketball as early as ages 3-5 through introductory programs and activities. Organized basketball leagues often begin around age 5-7, where children can learn the basics in a structured setting. However, it’s essential to consider a child’s physical development and interest when determining when to start.

2. What Are Some Risks of Playing Basketball for Kids?

While basketball offers numerous physical and social benefits, it also carries some risks for kids, including:

  • Sprains and strains from sudden movements and physical contact.
  • Risk of injury from falls or collisions, such as ankle sprains or fractures.
  • Overuse injuries, like tendonitis or stress fractures, from excessive play.
  • Heat-related issues during intense training or games.
  • Psychological stress, like performance pressure or burnout if not managed properly.

3. How to Encourage My Child to Enjoy Basketball Games?

To foster your child’s enjoyment of basketball:

  • Emphasize enjoyment over competition in the early years.
  • Attend their games, offer positive feedback, and avoid excessive pressure.
  • Shoot hoops or have friendly games to bond and build their skills.
  • Ensure they have appropriate shoes and attire.
  • Help them make friends on the team and develop teamwork skills.
  • Encourage a well-rounded childhood by involving them in various sports and hobbies.
  • If they lose interest, consider other sports or activities they might enjoy.

There are so many games that can be played with a basketball by children of all different ages. Most of the games mentioned will help your child learn the techniques needed to play the real game, even if they don’t have access to a proper court. So, go on and give some of these basketball games to play with kids a try. Kids playing basketball can also be made a family affair.

Also Read:

Park Games for Children
Running Games for Kids
One Minute Games for Children
Music Games and Activities for Kids

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Gauri Ratnam completed her Masters in English Literature from the University of Pune. She began her journey as a German translator soon after completing her graduation, but later moved on to pursue her passion for writing. Having written for both digital and print media in a varied range of industries, she has the ability to write relatable and well-researched content, benefical for anyone seeking advice or direction.