Since my husband and I were both avid basketball players, it has been fun to watch our kids play all of the driveway basketball games for kids that we played when we were younger. At every opportunity, my kids are out in the driveway dribbling, shooting and pretending to make that game-winning shot!
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With March Madness coming to an end, we thought it would be fun to share some of our favorite driveway basketball games for kids with you today!
The Best Basketballs for Kids
First, let’s talk about what size ball your child should have. Did you realize that there are different sizes of basketballs for kids of different ages?
–A regulation size basketball is 29.5” in diameter. This is the perfect size for boys and men ages 15 and up.
-A 28.5” basketball is for boys ages 12-14 and girls and women ages 12 and up. This is the regulation size for women’s basketball at the high school, collegiate, and pro level.
-Boys and girls ages 9-11 would do best with a ball that is 27.5” round. This is the standard youth basketball size found in stores and online. We love this multi-colored version!
If you need to work on your child’s shooting skills before you start these games, here are a few tips and tricks on how to shoot a basketball.
Basketball Games for Kids
H.O.R.S.E. || The first player chooses a spot in the driveway and takes a shot. If they miss, the next person goes. As soon as a shot is made, the other person must take a shot from the same place, in the exact same way. If they miss the shot, they get a letter (H).
The process is repeated until one player receives all the letters to spell HORSE, meaning the other player wins!
Anything goes in this game. Take a wacky shot to try to eliminate players early. Or, work on fundamental shots like lay-ups, foul shots, etc. For a shorter game, spell PIG instead!
LIGHTNING || Two basketballs are needed for this game and the object is to shoot a free throw under pressure. A larger group of kids makes this game much more fun!
Create a free throw line wherever you like (regulation distance is 15’ from the basket). Line everyone up behind the free throw line and give the first two players one basketball each. The first person takes a shot and, immediately after they release the ball, the second person shoots.
If the first person makes his shot before the second person, they give the next person in line their ball and they go to the back of the line. If the second person makes the shot first, the first person is O.U.T. — outta here! This continues until only one player remains.
21 || This game is just a friendly game of 1 on 1. The first player to reach 21 points win! The first person with the ball tries to score while being defended by the second person. If they make a shot, they earn a point and the defender gets a try.
As the ball changes hands, it must always start at a designated spot — typically it is just beyond the 3-point line at the top of the key. But, you can make your starting point anywhere you choose.
AROUND THE WORLD || The goal of this game is to take a series of shots from marked areas around the court. This game requires endurance and accuracy.
Start by marking 5 spots on the court from which the shots will be taken. We like to use sidewalk chalk to make our marks. Typically, a good starting point is right around the baseline area at the side of the hoop and spots continue in a circular pattern around the hoop.
Mark with chalk or tape. They can be any distance from the hoop that you want. Check out this diagram as an example:
(printable key diagram is from apollostemplates.com)
The first person to make one shot from every spot in succession (meaning you can’t miss any shots as you move between spots), wins the game!! If you miss, start from that spot on your next turn and keep trying until you make it!
DRIBBLE CHALLENGE || Kids LOVE to dribble and they can see improvement with their skills each time they practice. It is almost instantly gratifying! Grab some sidewalk chalk and make some lines. They can be curvy or straight. Long or short. Have your kiddos try to dribble the ball on the line as they walk. See if they can use their left and right hands as they go.
Now, try having them stand in one spot. Mark some “Xs” all around them. See if they can hit an X each time they dribble without skipping an X between. Have 2 colors of chalk? Make the Xs different colors and try dribbling patterns (hit a blue then a green, then a green then a blue). Get it? Good!
Finally, grab some cones, set them up in a line, spaced about 2’ apart, and have your child dribble around them as if they were a defender. How fast can they go? How slow? How low can they go? Make it a race between friends…anything is possible!
If you want to throw in a bit of a cognitive challenge too, try this Dribble Challenge that we posted awhile back.
What are your favorite basketball games for kids? Share them in the comments below!Sign up to receive our newsletter, a roundup of our favorite posts and other great finds from around the web delivered right to your inbox!