Looking at a picture of my three year old self in a bandanna and with my chubby hands clutching a basketball half my size brings a grin to my face. I can see the joy that basketball brought to me back then.
It’s the same joy that I feel when I play it now.
(Here I am playing with my dad at night a couple years ago.)
Basketball is a great game for children of all ages. Even really young kids can find all kind of entertainment in playing it. If your children are too young to play a full game, the whole family can enjoy one of the many basketball offshoots. These games cater to all sizes.
And parents, you don’t have to be a pro either. You should see my mom. She just started a few years ago. And my dad just started learning it in his 30′s.
What You Need For A Family Basketball Game
First things first – here’s the essential . . . a basketball.
We have about 4 official-size basketballs rolling around our yard. But if your children are younger, you might want to start with a smaller size that’s easier for them to hold. Here are two links to basketballs on Amazon:
Then you need a place to play. Basketball courts are everywhere – at schools, parks, the beach. So usually it’s easy to find a place. When I go to my sister’s soccer games, I often bring a basketball along.
The good thing is these games are not big on dribbling. So you can play them even if you just have a rim – not a whole court.
If you want to set something up on your driveway like we do, you can get one of these basketball hoop setups:
This one’s pretty basic. If you have a garage – just nail it up there and you’re all set.
This is what we have and it’s lasted for years! You can adjust the height a little and it only needs water to hold it up. (Although you might want to empty it a little in winter so when the water freezes, it doesn’t crack.)
Also, we’ve been able to move it around as we find better spots on our driveway to play!)
This is a great set up for little kids since you can adjust it’s height as your kids grow.
Finally, you don’t need fancy basketball shoes. We always play in any old sneakers we have on.
Now . . . onto the games themselves . . ..
Family Basketball Game #1: Game Of Ten
One of my favorite games to play with my family is called a Game of Ten. The rules are simple enough:
- Everyone gets their own ball and they shoot at the hoop.
- You keep playing until one person reaches 10 and becomes the winner.
- Sometimes if you want to make it longer you can make it a game of 15 or 20.
You don’t even take turns. So as you can imagine it can get quite chaotic. If you knock someones ball out then that’s too bad for them. Plenty of times I knock my dad’s ball out on purpose to get the lead. Every game changes but the one thing that stays the same are the grins on everyone’s faces after the game and the connection we feel.
You can make it even more interesting too – We’re learning Japanese as a family so we practice counting in Japanese. Spelling words, counting by 2′s, etc. are other variations you can add into it.
Family Basketball Game #2: Knock Out
I like to play this during recess at school.
- Everybody gets in line facing the hoop.
- The first and second person each have a ball.
- When the game starts the first person shoots.
- As soon as the ball leaves his/her hands the second person shoots.
- If both miss their shot you keep taking layups or shots until someone gets it in.
- If Player #1 gets it in first then they go to the back to wait for their turn again and and Player#2 becomes Player#1. The next person in line becomes Player#2.
- If Player#2 gets it in first Player#1 is out of the game and Player#2 goes to the line and wait for their turn.
- The point is to be the last person left in the game.
Family Basketball Game #3: Passing Game Of Ten
This next game is an offshoot of the offshoot a Game of Ten. We don’t really have a name for it but it sure is a great game, especially for little kids.
- Just like Game Of Ten, the goal is to be the first team to get to ten baskets.
- There are two teams and each team gets a ball (if you have two children it is best to make the teams 1 child/1 parent).
- One person is the passer, the other is the shooter. The shooter only shoots the ball and can’t move at all, so the passer has to get all the balls. Since younger children may not have the strength to shoot the ball this game is great for tots. I still remember my sister and I chasing after the ball, trying to get in each others way and laughing until our lungs hurt and we could not breath.
- To spice it up some you can play it so that after each shot you and your teammate switch positions. This way you are constantly running back and forth between shots. Great exercise!
Family Basketball Game #4: Around The World
Around the World tests the shooting prowess of its players.
- You have twelve or so stations at different distances and angles away from the hoop that form a half oval around the hoop. We scratch marks with stones on our driveway. Or you can use chalk. If you have a regular court, you can use the markings that lead up to the 3-point semicircle.
- You start at the first station, which is closest to the hoop.
- You take a shot. If it goes in then you continue to the next station and so on until you miss.
- If you miss, your turn is over and you have to go back a station.
- The goal of the game is to be the first to reach the end “going around the world”.
We often joke that someone’s getting stuck in Boston (the city close to where we live) or celebrate making it to China (when you’re halfway around the court.) There is nothing quite like the agony of being on the last station and then missing a shot and continuing to miss until you end up back at the beginning. Ouch.
Family Basketball Game #5: Twenty-One
Twenty-One is basically a normal basket ball game except that there are no three pointers.
- When someone gets a ball in they get two points. And then they get two free throws each counting as one point. If either free throw misses then the ball is played on.
- If both go in then the person gets the ball back and the cycle repeats.
Family Basketball Game #6: Horse
Horse is a trick shot game.
- One person does a shot and if it goes in then everyone else has to do exactly that. For example is to spin twice jump and shoot. Everyone would have to do just that.
- If they miss or don’t do the exact same shot then they get a letter (the letters should spell “horse” or any word of your choice).
- If someone spells H-O-R-S-E then they are out.
- The objective is to be the last man standing.
Be creative in this game. The things you do don’t even have to involve basketball. You could have something like roll twice and do the worm then shoot. Or recite a line of poetry and then shoot.
Little Kids, Big Kids, Parents . . . Go Play Basketball As A Family
All these games are great for families with children of all ages. Some of those games I played when I was five and still love today at the age of thirteen. It doesn’t take much to come up with great games: Just a little imagination and enthusiastic kids. I hope this article will help you on your mission to become a Fit Family Together!
Got some games you play to add to the list? Please add them in the comments below!