Team Building Basketball Activity – Practicing Dribbling Skills

basketball dribbling lesson pe

Basketball is an extremely popular and highly engaging sport with elementary age children. I am a physical education teacher at PS 457 in the Bronx, NY. I developed this game because my program uses a lot of small group/station work. I am always looking to give my students opportunities to try activities they may not otherwise have access to.

This game focuses primarily on dribbling a basketball. It works for students K-5. It’s also great because it encourages teamwork. You can add in peer/self assessment. Most of all- it’s new and unique and students just LOVE it. The game itself works well because you can teach students about building muscular strength and endurance (components of health related fitness). What’s also great about it is that you can do it in a gym or even on a rooftop (which I have done before). It’s universally designed to be inclusive of all students and can be modified to fit your space and the skill level of students.

Based on your availability of basketballs, you can use the following instructions. Once the students get started, this game can last awhile.


Depending on your class size, ball availability, skill levels and space, you can tweak this game several ways. When I teach it, I show a GIF of a person dribbling or shooting a basketball so they can refer to the whole time.

Basic Set-Up

Put one hula hoop in the middle which is the nest. Fill with basketballs. Set up different teams around the perimeter of the area. Each team has their own hula-hoop and a circle to form a line behind.

Empty nest activity basketball Full Nest basketball activity

For K-2:

Full Nest

Version A) Have one person from each team one at a time come to the middle, pick up a ball and dribble back. They place the ball in their circle, and another person goes. The team with the most balls in their nest wins a point for the round. Play multiple rounds.

Version B) same basic set up and game play as version A. After the middle nest is empty, students can 1 at a time go and steal balls from other teams’ nests.

For 3-5:

Students can play same game listed for K-2.

Empty Nest Version

Version C) You can add another level. Goal is to get rid of all the balls in your nest. Start with balls in middle nest. One person from each team one at a time gets the ball, has to make a basket successfully before can discard a ball to another team (put it in their hula hoop) You could also have every team start with equal number of balls in their hula hoops and then they have to take a ball from their nest and make a basket successfully. Then they can dribble it over and put it into another team’s hula hoop.

basketball pe activity

Note: I only made it with 4 teams. However, you can have more.

About the Author:

Jim HambelJim Hambel  is a PE teacher in the Bronx, NY. He has taught for 8 years. He is also certified in Childhood Education and Special Education grades 1-6. He has over 25+ years of bowling experience and was inducted into the US National Bowling Hall of Fame for a 300 perfect game and 800 series. Presenting workshops on bowling at the city and state level, he works diligently to promote good practices in PE. When Jim is not teaching or bowling, he enjoys spending time with his wonderful wife and amazing daughter.

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1 thought on “Team Building Basketball Activity – Practicing Dribbling Skills

  1. I have done this same game with pictures of food on cards. Each team has a food group color and they have to run to the middle and get the same food group card that is assigned to their group. the cards are turned face down so they really need to know the food group. great warm up activity and after each round rotate one food group to the right. We use the center ring of the basketball court and six colored hula hoops to get as many cards as possible before they are all gone. WE also use locomotive skills to travel to the middle. Side slide out, skip back…:)

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