Basketball Activities for the Classroom

Here are some fun basketball activities for the classroom including a Book Tournament Brackett freebie linked at the end of this post!

March Madness is a fun time in the classroom and in our home. I love watching basketball because it is such a fast-paced game. In the classroom, we always have a March Madness event and invite dads (or any adult from home) to spend a little time with us at school. As a team, we wear referee shirts, put the kids in groups, and rotate through our classrooms doing basketball-themed activities. It is a great way to share with our parents and guardians what we are learning at school and make that home-to-school connection. Today I’m going to share some of my favorite basketball activities for the classroom from Basketball Theme Day and my new Basketball Snack Mix.

Basketball activities for the classroom

Basketball Reading Comprehension

Before our big day, we learn about basketball. We spend time learning about the sport with my nonfiction reader. We use either a KWL chart or my Schema and New Learning chart to collaborate and build their learning. We work on the informational text standards and complete digging for details and do a nonfiction text feature hunt.

Basketball Bulletin Board & Craft

We also do the adorable basketball craft! We hang all of them in our hallway as a fun way to decorate for the arrival of our family members.

basketball craft and bulletin board

Basketball Theme Day

To begin our basketball theme day, you can print the center cards and the big sign to display it in the classroom. Hang that sign up in the classroom and you will bring instant excitement for learning. I have several different sayings and sizes of posters you can print. I also made some posters with basketball sayings if you want your centers to be labeled that way too.

basketball theme classroom decor

I send home a letter encouraging students to come dressed in their favorite team’s colors or jerseys.

basketball day letter home

When our family members arrive, we begin our center activities together. I give each child a 12×18 piece of orange construction paper folded in half so they can keep all their papers together. Each classroom has something different in it. If you don’t want to invite family members, you could just enjoy this theme day with your class and set up centers around your classroom.

In the phonics rooms, we work on real vs. nonsense digraphs, long or short vowels, cvcc words, syllables, making words, compound words, alphabetizing, and a word search for vocabulary. We have two classrooms designated for phonics.

basketball reading activities

In the math rooms, we play lots of games that focus on addition, subtraction, time to the half-hour, balancing the equation, and doubles.

For writing, we make a book together called, “I love you like…”. Students fill in different things such as, “I love you like a basketball loves a hoop.” There are also some other fun writing activities too. They love doing the “#1 Fan” page for whoever comes to visit on that day.

basketball writing activities

One classroom is designated for fun silly basketball games. Here are a few pictures of things we have gathered over the years to make this classroom extra fun.

The last classroom is designated as our snack break station or as we call it, “Half Time”. We have done different things throughout the years for this such as donut holes and juice boxes. Now, we can use my fun Basketball Madness Mix in a Cup. I would make this mix ahead of time and have it ready for the event if you are doing one. If not, this would just make a great snack and learning activity to do together as well.

basketball snack mix

Basketball Snack Mix

This snack mix is very low prep, you just need the ingredients, a bowl, cups, and a spoon to mix. I have a donation letter for this as well.

I put all the ingredients in paper bags right before making it, and I make sure I have a bag for each student. We read the mini-book and add the ingredients as we read about them.  When you’re done, you have a yummy snack to enjoy. 

basketball snack mix in bags for students to help mix

There are several extensions that go along with this snack. You can graph and match the items. There is a sequencing activity and several writing extensions and a craft.

Basketball Book Tournament

Finally, with all the basketball fun going on, I wanted to create a Basketball Book Tournament to complete. This bracket is the perfect way to bring literature into the month of March. Choose 16 books to compete in this challenge. Put the titles on the basketballs and begin reading. Once you have read two books, you can score them for a little extra fun. I made a 4-point scale to make it extra easy. Students can follow along with their own paper bracket too. This would be great to do in a classroom, as a parent, or as a homeschool parent too. I’m doing it with my daughter Charlie and we can’t wait.

If you don’t want to do the bulletin board, but want a bracket and a scoring sheet, you can grab those goodies here!

basketball book tournament bracket freebie

Here’s what a few buyers had to say about my basketball activities for the classroom:

“This basketball resource made for a fun March Madness themed week ! My students loved learning about basketball and enjoyed the basketball themed activities to reinforce concepts such as ABC order, short and long vowels along with balancing equations. Definitely a fan favorite!”

“This is my first year doing a March Madness learning theme. This has so much included in it for my basketball loving boys! I even learned a few things about the sport! Thanks for another useful resource!”

I hope you embrace the madness and have a little basketball fun with your students.

Check out these other fun theme days:


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I’m Megan, a first grade teacher and a mother to 7 amazing children. I love to create and collaborate with teachers. When I’m not teaching, I love spending time with my family, baking and playing tennis.

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