14 Fun Basketball Games For All Ages, With Instructions (2023)

I’ve played basketball my entire life, and over the years I’ve compiled a list of the most fun basketball games that anyone can play. These fun basketball games are a good way to keep from getting bored while shooting at the hoop, but will still improve your skills as you play.

Top 14 Fun Basketball Games:

  1. Knock Out
  2. Horse
  3. Basketball Golf
  4. Sharks And Minnows
  5. Around The World
  6. Firing Squad
  7. Fox In The Hen House
  8. Basketball Pirate
  9. Dribble Knock Out
  10. Red Light Green Light
  11. Home Run
  12. Basketball Tag
  13. Buzzer Beater
  14. All Star Shoot Out

Of course, you can always fall back on the team setup games like 2 vs 2 classic style basketball. But here are some popular basketball games that will keep you having fun on the court for hours on end.

14 Fun Basketball Games For All Ages, With Instructions (1)

1. Knock Out

Knock is one of the most popular fun basketball games and is at the top of the list for a reason. This game requires two basketballs and at least 2 or more players. If you’re playing in your driveway or not on an official court, you will need to designate a free throw line to shoot from.

Here are the rules:

  • Players line up at the free throw line
  • The first two players get a basketball
  • The first person at the line shoots for a basket
  • If he makes it, he passes the ball to the next in line and gets in the back of the line
  • If the first shooter misses the basket, the second shooter has a chance to ‘knock them out’ by making their basket before shooter 1
  • The first shooter may rebound his ball and try for a basket again from anywhere on the court
  • If shooter 1 makes the basket before the shooter behind them, they pass the ball to the next player in line and get in the back of the line
  • Game continues until only one player is left

As you play you will notice it can get pretty hectic down by the hoop as the players are trying to make a basket. Normally, you are not allowed to touch another players ball. But we like to add a rule where you can hit another players ball further from the hoop with your own ball. Only your ball can touch another players ball.

Here’s a video explaining how to play knock out and some example play.

2. Horse

Horse requires one basketball and at least two players or more. This is a game of shooting skill. You won’t need to be on an official court and you won’t need any other special equipment.

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How to play:

  • Find out who will be shooting first, flip a coin or play rock paper scissors
  • The first shooter picks any location on the court to shoot from
  • If player 1 makes their basket, they remain shooter 1 and all other players must make the same shot from the same location
  • If shooter 1 misses their basket, the second shooter will now get to shoot from anywhere on the court
  • If you miss a shot made by an original shooter you get a letter, the first letter being ‘H’
  • When you have enough letters to spell out ‘Horse’ you are out of the game
  • The game continues until only one player is remaining

For shorter games we will often play ‘Pig’. It follows the same rules just with less letters for a quicker game. We also like to add moves into the mix. For example, if shooter one does a layup, the rest of the shooters must also do a layup.

This can get a little ridiculous, but can also make the game much more fun. Try spinning around three times and then taking a shot, if you make it now the rest of the players must also spin around three times and sink a basket, or get a letter.

14 Fun Basketball Games For All Ages, With Instructions (2)

3. Basketball Golf

Basketball golf is fun game that helps you get better at shooting from different locations around a basketball court. You will need one basketball and at least 2 or more players. Start by picking ‘holes’ or locations the players will need to shoot from on the court. Set a smaller amount of ‘holes’ for quicker games.

Here’s how you play:

  • The first player starts on the first ‘hole’ and shoots for a basket
  • If a player makes the basket, it counts as one shot
  • If a player misses, they must try for a basket again wherever they rebound the ball
  • Every shot a player takes counts as one ‘stroke’ or one shot until they make a basket
  • Then player 2 goes and so one through all the ‘holes’ or shooting locations that were set before hand
  • The player with the lowest score at the end wins

This game can get a bit frustrating for players that have a bad ‘hole’ and can’t seem to make a basket. So sometimes we implement a 4 or 5 shot max at the holes to keep the game interesting and the scores closer together. If a player misses 4 times on the same hole, they move on to the next hole without incurring any more ‘strokes’ or shots.

4. Sharks And Minnows

Sharks and minnows is fun basketball game that doesn’t even require that you have a hoop. You will want four or more players and enough basketballs for at least half the amount of players you have. This game works best on a court with a half court marking, but can be played anywhere.

How to play:

  • Start with 1 or 2 players as sharks
  • The sharks stand at half court without a basketball
  • The rest of the players start at one end of the court and have to dribble a basketball to the other end, they are the minnows
  • The sharks will try to steal a basketball or knock it out of bounds
  • If a minnow loses their basketball before crossing the court, they will be sharks in the next round
  • Once all the minnows became sharks or made it to the other end of the court, the next round will begin
  • The minnows will have to dribble back to the other end of the court avoiding the sharks again
  • The game ends when there are no more minnows left

We like to pick the last two minnows to be sharks if we start another game of sharks and minnows. Kids love this game and will spend hours playing. You can implement your own ‘house rules’ for example, sharks must stay within 10 feet of half court.

14 Fun Basketball Games For All Ages, With Instructions (3)

5. Around The World

Around the world can be played alone with just a basketball and a hoop. This is a shooting skill game and is usually done behind the three point line, but you can mark wherever you want the shots to be taken yourself.

How to play:

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  • Player will start to the side of the basket behind the three point line and take the first shot
  • Once that shot is made the player moves to a 45 degree angle from the basket for another shot
  • The third shot is taken directly in front of the basket
  • The player continues until they have made it all the way around the perimeter of the three point line and back to the starting position
  • If the player misses a shot, they must start back at the beginning

To make this game more fun, we don’t start back at the beginning when we miss a shot. Instead we keep shooting at that point until a basket is made. If you have more than one person, try having another player start on the other end of the three point arch and see who can make their way around the arch and back first. If you have more than 2 people, try the firing squad variation instead.

Here’s a video of some guys playing around the world with their own variation of shooting locations.

6. Firing Squad

Firing squad is a lot like around the world but you will need more than two people and a basketball for each player. The setup is the same as around the world though, you will need to designate where shots will be taken in an arch around the hoop, usually the three point line, or closer for kids.

How to play:

  • Each player starts with a ball and starts at one of the shooting points
  • The game will start and everyone will be able to shoot at the hoop all at the same time
  • You are not allowed to touch another players basketball
  • The game is over when a player makes at least one basket from each of the shooting positions

To add some competition to this game we allow hitting another players ball only with your own ball in your hands. Once the game starts, under the hoop becomes a mad house of players retrieving their ball.

14 Fun Basketball Games For All Ages, With Instructions (4)

7. Fox In The Hen House

This game is similar to sharks and minnows but can involve shooting if you’d like. You will need at least 3 players and a basketball for every player except one.

Here’s how to play:

  • Start with every player except one dribbling a basketball on the court (the chickens)
  • The fox then runs out and tries to steal or knock the ball away from the chickens
  • If a chicken loses their ball they will then become a fox
  • The last chicken left is the winner and will become the fox for the next game

We like to add a little variation to this game where the chicken has a redemption shot at the hoop. If they can sink a basket from wherever the fox got them out, they can remain a chicken.

8. Basketball Pirate

You will need at least four players and three basketballs. This game works better with more players though, more than 6 players is best. Select one pirate for every four players you have.

Here’s how to play:

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  • All the non-pirate players will start by dribbling the ball on the court
  • The pirates will run out and try to steal a ball from another player
  • If the pirate steals the ball or knocks it away from a player, those players switch roles now. The player dribbling now becomes a pirate and the pirate will now dribble the ball
  • When a player becomes a pirate they must run to the sidelines before attempting to steal a ball from another player
  • This game can last as long as you’d like
  • The winner is the player who was a pirate the least

Sometimes to keep the games shorter, we’ll play pirates until there is only one player left who has not been a pirate yet. That player is the winner.

14 Fun Basketball Games For All Ages, With Instructions (5)

9. Dribble Knock Out

Dribble knock out is fun game that will test your hand eye coordination and dribbling skills. You will need at least two players and a basketball for every player, but you won’t need a basketball hoop. This game is sometimes referred to as ‘Island’.

How to play:

  • Designate an area for the game to be played in (half court, inside the paint, etc.)
  • Each player will start by dribbling their ball
  • Players will try to steal or knock out of bounds the other players ball while still maintaining their own dribble
  • If a players ball is knocked out of bounds, they are out for the rest of the game
  • The game ends when one player is left still dribbling

We like to start with a full court area and shrink the court as players are knocked out. For example, more than six players will use the entire court, once there are six players left we shrink to half court. Once there are three players left we shrink to inside the paint. If a ball leaves the designated area, it is considered out of bounds. This shrinking court helps speed up the game a bit.

To play the ‘Island’ version of this game, set up cones in a circle. Players and their basketball must stay inside the circle or they are out of bounds.

10. Red Light Green Light

This is a well known game for kids to play in the yard as a group, but with a basketball it can help train dribbling skills and body control. You will need at least three players and a basketball for every player. Select one player to be the traffic light.

How to play:

  • All the players except the traffic light stands at one end of the court, and the traffic light stands at the other
  • The traffic light will face away from the other players and yell red light or green light
  • When the traffic light yells green light, the players will dribble to the other end of the court
  • When the traffic light yells red light, the players must stop dribbling and stop moving wherever they are
  • When the traffic light yells red light, the traffic light will turn to face the other players and call out any who they saw still moving or dribbling
  • If a player gets caught by the traffic lights they are out
  • The game ends when a player reaches the other end of the court
  • The winner gets to be the traffic light for the next game

We like to allow a player that gets caught by the traffic light, to simply start over from the beginning. That way no one is left out sitting on the side, but is still fair to the players who didn’t get caught.

14 Fun Basketball Games For All Ages, With Instructions (6)

11. Home Run

This is a team game and is best played with 6 or more players and 2 basketballs. Split up into two teams, a dribbling team and a shooting team. The dribbling team lines up at a corner of the court and the shooting team lines up at the free throw line.

How to play:

  • When the shooter yells ‘Go’ a player from the dribbling team will try to dribble the ball to half court and back to the corner
  • If the dribbler is successful (home run), they receive one point and the dribbler gets back in line
  • If the shooter makes a basket before the dribbler gets a home run, the dribbler is out and the next dribbler may begin
  • The shooter will shoot until they make a basket and then the next person in line will shoot

For younger players we sometimes get a few runs in before they make a basket. In cases like that, we like to allow the younger player to shoot closer to the basket to keep the game fun.

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12. Basketball Tag

Basketball tag requires a court with lines. For example, three point line, half court, sideline etc. It’s best played with 6 or more players and a basket ball for every player except one or two. Although you can play with just two people, this game is a lot better with more than 6 people.

How to play:

  • All players start on a line (three point line, sideline, etc)
  • One or two players will not have a basketball and will be ‘It’
  • The other players will dribble their ball and avoid being tagged by whoever is ‘It’
  • If a player is tagged, steps off a line, or loses control of their ball, they are out for the rest of the game
  • The game ends when there is only one player left still dribbling

We don’t always go to a court with lines to play this game. Sometimes we play in the driveway and we’ll dry lines with driveway chalk. Honestly it’s more fun that way because the lines end up being wherever you want them. You could even make a Pac-Man maze if you’d like.

14 Fun Basketball Games For All Ages, With Instructions (7)

13. Buzzer Beater

Buzzer beater requires at least two players and as many basketballs as you can shoot in 10 seconds. If you have more basket balls available try changing the time limit to 30 seconds.

How to play:

  • The first shooter will line up at the three point line some basketballs nearby
  • When the timer starts, the shooter will try to make as many baskets as they can in under 10 seconds
  • Continue this for each player
  • The player with the most baskets wins

We like to mix up where the shooting line is, it doesn’t always have to be at the free throw line. Try playing buzzer beater at the three point line or half court. Sometime we implement a house rule that after the buzzer, you get to go for one layup that will count towards your score. That way you have an easy shot for at least one point.

14. All Star Shoot Out

All star shoot out can be played with 2 or more players and some cones or ground markers of some kind. Mark out 5 or more locations on the court the players will need to shoot from. Keep in mind skill level when marking locations.

How to play:

  • Each player will pick a shooting location to start from
  • When the game starts players will shoot from their location until they make a basket
  • After a player makes a basket they will move to the next shooting location
  • Players may not touch another players ball
  • The game ends when the first player makes a basket from every shooting location

We like to add that a player must then make a lay up after making a shot from every location to win. You could imagine that under the hoop can get pretty busy at times. So sometimes for fun, we’ll allow hitting another players ball with only your own ball in your hands.

If you’re looking to get a basketball hoop for yourself, you’ll need to decide between a portable hoop or a permanent hoop. Check out my Recommended Basketball hoops here


How do you play basketball 48? ›

If you're new here basically we're playing 48.

How do you make basketball practice more fun? ›

Things like dribbling through cones and using chairs are great ways to keep them moving. Use Multifaceted Drills: It's more fun to use drills that incorporate a variety of skills. For example, a drill where kids dribble through cones, pass, and shoot a lay up is more entertaining than a simple lay up drill.

How do you play poison basketball? ›

Have the person who is selected to go first stand at the free throw line with the basketball. Attempt a shot if you are the first player and standing at the free throw line. If your shot goes in, rebound the ball on exactly one bounce and then shoot again from the spot where you rebounded the ball.

What are different basketball games? ›

  • 3.1 H-O-R-S-E.
  • 3.2 Airball.
  • 3.3 Fives.
  • 3.4 In and Out.
  • 3.5 Around the World.
  • 3.6 Knockout.
  • 3.7 King of the Court.
  • 3.8 Beach basketball.

How do you play tip 21? ›

When a player makes his 21st point and is playing with "tips" or "taps" the shooter must miss his free throw but also hit the rim. This gives the other players a chance to spoil the win and steal points from the shooter.

How do you play pig in basketball? ›

How to Play Pig and Improve Your Basketball Skills - YouTube

What is the game 21? ›

21, Bagram, or Twenty Plus One is a drinking game. The game progresses by counting up from 1 to 21, with the player who calls "21" suffering a drinking penalty before the next round starts. The loser may add one new rule to the game, and starts the new round.

How do you play knock out? ›

How to Play Knockout - YouTube

What are 3 types of sports activities? ›

The different types of sports categories are: Individual Sports. Partner Sports. Team Sports.

What are lead up games examples? ›

Lead-up Games
  • Golf Around the Clock. Partner Putting Challenge. Putt-Putt Golf.
  • Beanbag Bowling. Bowl Ball. Slide Bowling. Team Bowler-Rama.
  • Crazy 8s. Short-Court Mini Tennis. Alleys Tennis. Aerobic Tennis. Toss & Catch Tennis.

What are 3 drills for basketball? ›

Fun Basketball Drills That Improve Court Skills
  • Bulldog Drill. This drill helps players develop dribbling skills while running at high speed, such as on a fast break. ...
  • Terminator Drill. ...
  • 3-Man Weave Drill. ...
  • Knockout Drill. ...
  • Loose Ball Drill.

How do you make sports practice fun? ›

Here are five ways to make practice more fun.
  1. Break up the routine.
  2. Incorporate games into practice.
  3. Think outside the sport.
  4. Run efficient and effective practices.
  5. Focus on the person, not just the wrestler.
31 Jan 2019

How do you play Lightning in basketball? ›

Basketball Games, Lightning - YouTube

How do you play skunk basketball? ›

Enforcing the Skunk Rule

The skunk rule applies to a game with a large disparity in the score. It exists so that both teams or players can save their time or start another game. The skunk is commonly applied when there is a difference of 20 or 21 points.

How do you play basketball freeze? ›

Freeze Tag - YouTube

What is a game 7 in basketball? ›

In the National Basketball Association (NBA), a game seven is the final game of a best-of-seven series in the NBA playoffs. Based on the playoffs format arrangement, it is played in the venue of the team holding home-court advantage for the series.

How do you play the game horse? ›

H-O-R-S-E is a game played by two people on a basketball court. The idea of the game involves matching baskets. The player who makes shots that the opponent does not duplicate, wins the game. Example: The second person shooting must duplicate the first person's shot, if it is made.

How do you play king of the courts? ›

Essentially, King of the Court is a continuous game of 1-on-1, using make-it-take-it rules. The main difference is that if the defensive player does not get a stop, then he goes to the end of the line, and the next defender comes in to guard the player who just scored.

How do you play donkey basketball? ›

The first person throws the ball against the wall and dodges aside. The second person must run forward and jump the ball with legs apart. RULES FOR DONKEY: 1.

Can you get 5 points in basketball? ›

Yes, it is possible to score five points in one basketball possession. One possible scenario to score five points is when a player is fouled in the act of shooting a three-pointer and makes the shot.

How do you play money in the bank basketball? ›

Divide the players into two groups, one at each basket. Each group starts with 1 point "in the bank", each player takes one free throw then change the shooter, on a make add one point to the bank, on a miss the player gets all the points in the bank and there is 1 point in the bank for the next shot (no free misses).

How do you play camels? ›

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What is a donkey basketball game? ›

Donkey basketball is a variation on the standard game of basketball, played on a standard basketball court, but in which the players ride donkeys. A donkey basketball game is usually staged as a one-time fundraising event, typically in public schools.

How do you play sevens basketball? ›

On a signal, the players on the court begin shooting. Each player retrieves his/her own ball, returns to his/her shooting spot, and shoots again. The players off the court dribble figure eights and in unison count out loud the baskets scored. When seven baskets are scored, the teams switch roles.

How do you play 25s? ›

How to Play Twenty Five | an Irish trick taking card game | Skip Solo

How do you play Jack Black? ›

How to Play (and Win) at Blackjack: The Expert's Guide - YouTube

What is the 20 questions game with a guy? ›

For those who don't know, '20 Questions' is a fun game you can play with your boyfriend! The basic idea is that your partner thinks of a place/ object/ person and you have to guess that in 20 questions or less with him answering in just 'yes' or 'no'.

How do you play blind Don? ›

How to Play Blind Don - 2 Player Card Game - YouTube

How do you play knock down ginger? ›

The game is played by children in many cultures. It involves knocking on the front door (or ringing the doorbell) of a victim, then running away before the door can be answered.

What sport is not a sport? ›

Games not Sports

Games such as chess, poker (and other card games), billiards/pool game types games (carom billiards, cribbage (pool), cushion caroms, cutthroat etc) may not be considered a sport by everyone. A game like marbles has the physical skill to be a sport, but lacks regular competition.

How do you play noodle tag? ›

Physical Education Game - Noodle Dance Tag - YouTube

What are example of target games? ›

Target Games involve propelling an object with the aim to place it on, in or near a target to obtain the best possible score. Sports that use target game objectives include archery, bocce, croquet, golf and ten pin bowling.

What are examples of casual games? ›

There are many sub-categories within casual games including: match-3, endless runners, education, trivia, puzzle, hidden objects, adventure, word games, board games, card games, and more.

Which sport is no 1 game in world? ›

Top-10 List of the World's Most Popular Sports
rankSportEstimated Fans
1.Soccer / Association Football3.5 Billion
2.Cricket2.5 Billion
3.Field Hockey2 Billion
4.Tennis1 Billion
6 more rows

What is the best basketball play ever? ›

The 5 Most Important Plays in NBA History
  • No. 5: Ray Allen Ties Game 6 of 2013 NBA Finals.
  • No. 4: Big Shot Bob's Go-Ahead Three-Pointer in Game 5 of 2005 NBA Finals.
  • No. 3: John Paxson's Game-Winner in 1993 NBA Finals, Game 6.
  • No. 2: Magic Johnson's "Junior, Junior Sky Hook" in Game 4 of 1987 NBA Finals.
  • No.

What do NBA players do for fun? ›

Typically, NBA players will relax and take some time to themselves on gamedays. This can include jumping on their preferred gaming console, watching some television, relaxing by the hotel pool, catching up with family and friends, and even spending some time to catch a movie.

What sport is the hardest? ›

Boxing. The Sweet Science. That's the sport that demands the most from the athletes who compete in it. It's harder than football, harder than baseball, harder than basketball, harder than hockey or soccer or cycling or skiing or fishing or billiards or any other of the 60 sports we rated.

What is the least popular sport? ›

11 Least Popular Sports in the World
  1. 1 | Kabbadi. Kabbadi is the national sport of Bangladesh and, from what I can tell, it's a mix of rugby without a ball and red rover.
  2. 2 | Motocross/motorcycle racing. ...
  3. 3 | Fencing. ...
  4. 4 | Polo. ...
  5. 5 | Archery. ...
  6. 6 | Sailing. ...
  7. 7 | Canadian football. ...
  8. 8 | Weightlifting. ...
19 Mar 2018

What games do 15 players play? ›

Number of Players in Each Team
GameNumber of Players
Rugby Football15
10 more rows

What are the 8 types of fun? ›

The Eight Types of Fun
  • Sensation. These are games that engage the senses directly. ...
  • Fantasy. ...
  • Narrative. ...
  • Challenge. ...
  • Fellowship. ...
  • Discovery. ...
  • Expression. ...
  • Submission.
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How do you play smart basketball? ›

How To Become a SMART Basketball Player - YouTube

What is the best skill in basketball? ›

Dribbling is easily the most important skill for any basketball player to master. Without good dribbling and ball handling skills you won't be able to move down the court with the ball, which could mean you'll end up with moving violations instead of points.

What makes basketball a fun and fast game? ›

Basketball is fun to play: Basketball has a very fast and exciting pace of play. Also, each player on the court gets to play both offense and defense and the roles of each player are only loosely defined. Much of basketball easily can be practiced (like shooting or dribbling) with one person making it easy to learn.

What do NBA players eat? ›

But many still elect for a protein and carb mix that may include protein shakes, chicken, fish, whole grains, or fruits. Kevin Durant eats steak, chicken, and rice after a grueling game. According to nutrition experts, NBA player meals after a game should be something natural and organic.

Can you play basketball for fun? ›

Basketball is a great way to stay healthy & fit so you can enjoy basketball all year long! It is a great hobby to develop because you'll have fun while also learning some valuable skills. It can be played with friends and family of all ages. So it's perfect for people looking for an activity that anyone can enjoy!


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