10 Turbo-Charged Basketball Activities

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Basketball Tabata

This Tabata-style workout will increase heart rates while strengthening core muscles.  Students will exercise for 20 seconds, then rest for 10.  My students will complete multiple rounds depending on age and ability.

Recommended age: 3rd-12th Grades

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Basketball Tabata in Action

Dynamic Dribbling Lines

Dribbling lines are nothing new to many PE teachers.  After all, they’re an awesome tool for improving ball control while changing speed and direction, using both hands.  Here are three more ideas to add to your line dribbling arsenal.

Recommended ages: 1st-12th Grades

Basketball Stations

Basketball stations can be a great culminating activity for your basketball unit.  They also give you an opportunity to assess your students.  Below are a list of station we recently presented to our classes.  The eight stations focused on passing, shooting, dribbling and fitness with a dash of competition!

Recommended ages: 3rd-12th Grades (with modifications)

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Basketball Stations in Action

4-Corner Passing Challenge

4-Corner Passing is one of my favorite drills.  Set up a square of cones.  One defender stands in the center of the square.  The other three players are on offense.  The goal of the offense is to pass the ball around the square without the defender stealing it.  A pass can only be made to an adjacent corner.  Therefore a diagonal pass is NOT allowed.  The offense needs to move quickly by sliding from corner to corner.

Recommended ages: 4th-12th Grades

Dribble Pass Exchange – Level 1

The Dribble Pass Exchange can be modified to fit various ages.  Set up a square of cones.  The size of the square is determined by ability.  Two students stand in diagonal corners.  On the signal, students continuously pass the ball to each other.  Following each pass, each student trades places.  The student who passes the ball sprints to the opposite corner while the student who receives the pass dribbles to the opposite corner.  To differentiate for advanced players, I will have the student without the ball stop in the center of the square in a defensive stance (she will NOT try to steal the ball).  The player dribbling to the opposite corner must do a crossover, spin dribble, or dribble through the legs in order to get around the defender.

Recommended ages: 1st-6th Grades

Dribble Pass Exchange – Level 2

Level 2 has the same set up.  Once each student passes or receives the ball, they each move clockwise to the next corner.  Upon hearing a whistle, students change direction, moving counterclockwise.  Encourage students to use both dominant and non dominant hands.

Recommended ages: 1st-6th Grades

Rainbow Light Basketball

A huge thank you to my colleague, Coach Jedd Austin (@jeddaustin) for this exciting game. Rainbow Light Basketball is derived from the game Red Light, Green Light.  However, this game has countless colors and lights, each determining a specific movement.  It challenges students to think quickly while associating the color of the light to the appropriate movement.  The game includes multiple colors and other lights including Disco Light, Rock and Roll Light, Sunlight, and Super Light.  You can create your own lights and movements.  Be sure to check out some of ours in the link below.

Recommended ages: 1st-5th Grades

Constant Dribble Challenge

One of my goals during the basketball unit is to keep a ball in the hands of my students at all times.  Constant Dribbling Challenge is one of my games that does just that.  Set up a square of cones.  One student dribbles in the center of the square (crossover) while another student dribbles around the square two times, once clockwise using the left hand and a second time counterclockwise using the right hand.  Then each student switches. Sometimes I’ll have a student perform an exercise in the center of the square instead of doing the crossover dribble.  This option may work better if you have a limited number of balls.

Recommended ages: 1st- 3rd Grades

1,2,3 GO!

This is a simple shooting game based on the larger group game called Knockout.  We play this with either partners or in groups of three.  Each person in the group has a ball and stands side by side. At the same time, they each say, “1,2,3, Go!”!  At this point, they each shoot their ball and try to be the first to score a basket.  The first to score, receives a point and gets to choose the next shooting spot.

Recommended ages: 3rd-12th Grades

Poly Spot Relay

In relay fashion, arrange the class in groups of no more than three.  Set up as many poly spots (or anything else, i.e.:  cones, stuffed creatures, etc.)  as possible on the opposite side of the playing area.  The first student in each line dribbles across the playing area and picks up one spot without stopping the dribble (I allow younger students to stop dribbling).  Students then return to the starting line, drop off their spot, and tag the next player.  Play until all spots are picked up.  With my younger classes I play this cooperatively.  I time the whole group to see how long it takes to clear the spots.  We play a second round to see if we can beat the first recorded time.

Recommended ages: 1st-6th Grades

Pivot, Pass, Catch Relay

There are different variations of this relay.  I like to have small groups of no more than four students.  Each player lines up at an equal distance from his teammates.  The first student in line pivots and passes to the next person in line.  When the ball gets to the last students in line, that student dribbles the ball to the front of the line.  Teammates move back one spot so the student dribbling to the front can take over the first position.  Teams score a point each time the last person in line receives the ball.  The relays continues for two minutes.

Recommended ages: 1st-12th Grades

When I have larger teams, players waiting for a pass must perform an exercise such as squats or jumping jacks.


Thank you Paul Ward for the photographs.

Thank you Jedd Austin, Laura English, and Brian Balocki, my colleagues, for sharing ideas for this post.


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February’s Nutritious Breakfast Challenge

Students and families have enjoyed each of the first five monthly fitness challenges I’ve presented to them this year.  However, for February, I’m offering a nutrition challenge instead of a fitness challenge.  This idea came to me as I overheard a group of 5th grade students discussing their morning routines before school.  Several of the students mentioned that they either didn’t have time for breakfast or just didn’t like to eat breakfast.  I then took a quick survey of the class and soon discovered that some students eat breakfast everyday, others sometimes eat breakfast, and more than a few never eat breakfast.

February’s Nutritious Breakfast Challenge Goals

  • to educate students and parents about the significance of eating a complete, nutritious breakfast
  • to define what a complete breakfast includes (carbohydrates, protein, vitamins/minerals)
  • to give students a variety of options for a complete breakfast

The Challenge: Students will choose one food from each of the three columns (carbohydrates, protein, fruit) listed below for breakfast.  One their calendar, they will mark each of the items they ate.  They only mark the calendar on days they eat a complete, nutritious breakfast.  At the end of the month, students turn in their calendars to receive an award certificate and toe token.

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This Turkey Bacon Egg Muffin Cup recipe hits each column.  Thanks Six Sister’s Stuff.

Click februarys-nutritious-breakfast-challenge for an editable copy of the challenge!

Stay health, stay active, and stay fit over the holiday!


“Breakfast Basics.” KidsHealth. The Nemours Foundation, n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2017.

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Tag Games with Hoops and Noodles

Tag.  I fondly remember playing tag games as a child in my neighborhood.  Little did I know at the time, the benefits of such games were countless.  Specifically, I recall playing a tag game called TV Tag.  The rules were simple.  As a tagger was about to tag you, you had to quickly say the name of a television program and squat down.  If you were able to do this before getting tagged, then you were safe until the tagger left to chase somebody else. Each TV show could only be called out once per round.   “Happy Days” and “CHiPs”  were consistently my “go to” shows for the first few minutes of the game.  Later, as I’d run out of options, I’d rely on shows like  “Rhoda” and “The Odd Couple“.  As my Rolodex of programming continued to dwindle I’d have to resort to desperate measures which included soap operas like “The Edge of Night”  and “The Doctors.”  Okay, now I’m showing my age.

Benefits of Playing Tag – just a few of the many

  • Enhances speed and agility
  • Engages the brain through critical and strategic thinking
  • Can be played with any size group
  • Excellent mode of interval training
  • Minimal Equipment

TAG Games using HULA HOOPS and SWIM NOODLES!

Hula Hoop Shuffle by Benjamin Pirillo

There are several variations of this game.  Each student stands inside a hula hoop.  The only way to move is by shuffling your feet to advance the hoop across the floor.  I choose a certain color hoop to be it.  If tagged, students must spin their hoop five turns on any body part in order to re-enter the game.

I also play a version where one color hoop is always it.  Therefore, if a student is tagged by the chosen color, then they switch hoops. The person who has been tagged becomes the new tagger.

Jumper Cars

This is another form of shuffle tag.  My pre-kindergarten classes love this game.  Every time the students bump into each other, they each need to complete five jumps before continuing.  Sometimes, instead of jumping, I’ll have the students hop five times on the right foot, then five times on the left foot.

Kick the Hula Hoop

I’ve played this game with 1st grade-5th grade.  For a class of 20 students, I spread out around 12 hula hoops on the floor.  On the signal, students attempt to kick the hoop into another student (any student can kick a hoop).  When hit by a hoop, students must go to the sideline to perform 10 jumps on the aerobic steppers.  Of course, you can have the students perform any exercise to get back into the game.  For me, steps add a little extra motivation.

Elf Switch

This is a great game to play around the holidays.  For a class of 20, I evenly space 15 hoops around the gym floor.  One student stands inside each hoop (Elf power station).  They are the elves.  The other five students who are not standing in the hoops are the trolls.  The goal of the game is for the troll to become and remain an elf.  Elves can only be in a hoop for three seconds at a time.  They must make eye contact with another elf and quickly switch hoops.  The trolls try to jump into a vacated hoop to become an elf. With my older classes, I like to play this game without talking.  They have to solely rely on nonverbal communication.

Twister Tag

Students are partnered up.  Each set of partners has a hoop.  One partner (the tagger) spins the hoop. As the hoop is spinning,  the tagger must attempt to tag his partner before the hoop completely stops.  The game takes place around the spinning hoop.  Each partner gets a chance to spin. Switch partners often.

Noodle Nugget Tag

Full Explanation within the video

Toe Fencing Mixer 

I give the students a brief explanation of fencing.  In particular, we discuss the difference between fencing and sword fighting.  Students partner up, each holding a noodle saber.  To begin, students stand in the lunge position with their sabers crossed.  They each say “en guard” in order to begin fencing.  To score a point, a saber must touch the opponent’s foot.  Following a round, each student quickly finds other students to duel.

Scooter Kayak Tag

This is a simple tag game on scooters.  Each student has a scooter (kayak) and a noodle (paddle).  I choose one color noodle to be it.  Students use the paddle as they would in a real kayak.  If tagged, students go to the exercise zone and perform 3 knee tucks on their scooter, then return to the game.

A HUGE thank you to all my friends within my professional learning network who have shared countless activities of Twitter and Facebook! In particular:

Benjamin Pirillo: @coachpirilloCoach Pirillo’s blog

Chad Triolet: @chadtrioletPE Rocks

Physedgames.com


If you enjoyed this post, consider following my blog to receive future posts.

Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/justybubpe.

Check out my Facebook group called Keeping Kids in Motion!

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