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Basket Ball Lead Up Games


Bowling Basketball




This game seems so simple and silly, but it’s a favorite of my campers/students.


Equipment: 1 basketball, 1 bowling pin and 1 cone per team.


Grades: 1st-6th


  • Make two teams.   Split each team into two groups and place them diagonally across from each other at the corner of the basketball court.


  • Place at bowling pin in the center of the gym.


  • Only two of the four corners will have a ball.  The two players who have a ball (one from each team) will attempt to roll the basketball and knock down the pin.  If they miss, they simply go to the end of the line and their teammate on the opposite side of the gym will receive the ball and do the same thing.  The other team will perform the same process at the same time.


  • If a player hits the pin, than their entire team will line up at the designated basket and proceed to take lay up shots or whatever you choose.


  • The team that didn’t hit the pin, must stand the pin and go to the opposite side of the gym and perform bounce passes to every player in their group twice.  I put them on the lines used during a free throw.


  • Once the team making bounce passes have finished they yell “DONE!”.  The shooting team stops and receives 1 point for every shot they made.  Shooting team will yell out each shot made.  Once this occurs both teams will hustle back to their corner and roll the ball to hit the pin again.


  • Note: The game never stops until time is up.  Many campers/students will go back to their corner and sit instead of immediately going for the pin again, until trained to do so.


  • Note: A team may forget to stand up the pin, before they make their bounce passes, which means none of their bounce passes will count until the pin is up.  It’s their job to figure this out.



Hoop Relay


Equipment: 15 hula hoops(could vary depending on how many teams you have), Basketballs and dome cones.


Grades: 3rd-12th


  • Set up the the teams for a normal relay.  Aprox 5 teams of 5 each behind a dome cone.


  • Place 3 or 4 hula hoops in front of each team aprox 15ft apart with a basketball in each hoop.


  • The first person in line must run to the first ball, take it out of the hoop, dribble to the next hoop put the ball in the hoop and take the other ball out and continue with the same process all the way to the end and back to the beginning.


  • When the first player returns they will high five the next player in line and they will do the same thing.


  • Note: Balls will come out of the hoops.  If this happens the team can let their teammate know, but only the person going thru the course can fix the balls that came out of the hoop.


Steal The Bacon: (I’m not a huge fan of this game, because there’s a lot of down time)


There are a many different versions of this game.


Equipment: Two basketballs, two deck rings, pinnies or wrist bands and two cones.


Grades: 1st-6th


  • Place each team on opposite side lines of a basketball court.


  • Put two deck rings in the center of the gym with a basketball inside of each.


  • One cone on the center of each base line.


  • Give each player a number.  When a players number is called, they’re to run to the center and grab a ball out and dribble around their designated cone.


  • Tip: Color coordinate whenever you can.  Green deck ring, green ball, green cone for one team.  Other team all red.  If one team is wearing red pinnies than their using the red equipment.  If the scoreboard has red numbers, than the points are for the red pinnie team.


  • First player to put their ball back in the deck ring wins. NO SLIDING!


  • Variation: chest pass the ball up against the wall before going around the cone.


  • Variation: (3rd grade & up) 9 yrs and up.  Player must shoot at their basket before going around their cone.  1 point for hitting back board, 2 points for rim, 3 points for shot made, than around cone and 1 point if the player puts the ball back in the deck ring first. Note: Both players could score points. For example: If the red player hits the rim and returns first they would receive 2 points for the rim and 1 more point for returning first.  If the green player made the shot, but returned seconds, they would receive 3 points for their shot.


  • Variation: (Ages 10 & up) 4th grade & up. Call two numbers at the same time and allow team work, but at least one player must go around the cone. Let the kids figure out the best strategy.



Shooting Competition


  • Make a team for every basket you have and give each team at least 3 balls or a ball for each player if you have enough.


  • You can have a competition for foul shots, lay ups, 3 point shots depending on the age.  First team to make 5 basket wins.  Note: Each team should shout out the number each time someone on their team makes a shot.


  • Tip: Move distance of foul shots closer for younger kids.  If they can’t reach it won’t be fun.  Lower basket and smaller ball for 8 years of age and lower  (2nd grade).  I recommend 8″ for 8 years of age.  If it’s a basketball camp, you could go a little bigger.


Goalie Basketball


Equipment: 1 Kick ball, 4 cones and wrist bands or pinnies.


Grades: 2nd-6th


  • 1 kick ball is placed in the center of gym.


  • Each team is spread out on their base line.


  • One cone placed on each corner of the basketball court.


  • Each players is given a number.


  • When a player’s number is called, they become a player on the court and the players remaining on the base line become the goalies.


  • The first player to the ball, must trap it with their foot.  This helps to avoid collisions.


  • After the ball is trapped, they’ll pick up the ball and play with basketball rules with dribbling and passing.


  • The object is to bounce pass the ball past the baseline for a goal.


  • Variation: The bounce pass not only passes the baseline, it also hits the wall.  This would be worth 2 points.


  • Note: I wouldn’t allow stealing off the dribble until 5th grade, but no one knows your students/campers better than you.


If you enjoyed this game, CLICK HERE to check out modified basketball for younger students.




  1. Kegan

    Such a fun way to get the little ones interested in basketball while keeping them entertained and using up some of that energy. Also love the repeated high fives, this encourages a positive social interaction between team mates and opposition too. Do you have any ideas for a smaller group of kids – say 5 or 6 kids?

    • admin

      You just gave me an idea for a new post!  Smaller group activities coming soon.  Some of the games I listed for basketball lead up games would work with two small groups of 3 such as aerobic bowling, relays, steal the bacon and shooting competitions. If you only have 5 kids, you still could play aerobic bowling or shooting competitions or have one player go twice and make two teams.

      Have a great day and keep an eye out for the smaller group post!


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