Basketball doesn't have to be a sweaty, competitive game of 5-on-5. Maybe there are only three children playing, or the game is being dominated by more athletic children, leaving others without the opportunity to play. Either way, there are numerous games played with a ball and basket that youngsters of all skill levels will enjoy.
Here are five H-O-R-S-E alternative kids can play with just a basketball and hoop.
1. Knock Out1 of 6
This game does require a low level of shooting ability, but remains an ideal game for kids with varying skills because everyone gets a chance.
Knock Out requires two basketballs and two or more players. The players form a line at the free throw line with the first two receiving basketballs. The first player shoots, and if he or she misses, the second player can "knock out" the first player by making the basket before the first player is able to corral the rebound and put his or her ball in the basket. If the first player is able to make the shot before the second player, they pass it to the next player in line, who then tries to knock out the second player while the first player returns to the end of the line. The game goes on until all but one player is knocked out.
2. Around the World2 of 6
There are many variations of this game, but this one requires at least two players and a single basketball. The object of the game is to "go around the world" by making consecutive shots from predetermined spots around the court.
The first player must make a layup, followed by a shot between the basket and the free throw line, a free throw, a 20-foot shot from the wing, a 3-point shot, and a shot from half court. Once this is accomplished, the player must make every shot again on his or her return to the basket. The game ends with the layup.
Normally, the player must make all predetermined shots in a row or start over. But to make the game quicker, allow the player to stay on the spot where he or she missed while the other players take their turns. The player can start again from this point on the next turn.
Note: There are other variations, with the most common being shots ordered around the three-point line.
3. Firing Squad3 of 6
This is a variation of Around the World, but instead of taking turns, all players shoot at the same time until a player has made a basket from each predetermined spot on the court.
4. Golf4 of 6
A perfect merger of that age-old Scottish game and James Naismith's wonderful invention, the object of golf is similar to that of links, but on the hardwood. The lowest score wins, and strokes (or shots, in this case) are tallied with every shot it takes for the player to make it in the basket.
As a game for kids, golf teaches young players to shoot from spots all around the court. The game requires two or more players and one basketball. The first player begins on the first hole, a predetermined spot where he or she must shoot. If the player makes the shot on the first attempt, the score for that "hole" is one. If the player misses the shot, they must shoot from where they grabbed the rebound. The score for that hole is the number of shots it took the player to make the basket. Just like a golf course, you can do this from 18 different spots on the court. The lowest score wins.
5. Musical Basketballs5 of 6
Like musical chairs, but with basketballs, this game requires one ball per player and a source of music. Put all the balls in a circle and have kids, similar to musical chairs, walk around the balls while music plays. Once the music stops, the players grab a basketball and shoot. Once a player makes a basket, he sits down to show that he's finished. The last player standing is out.