This rotational style basketball game allows more students to play and equalizes skill level.

Basketball is a favorite game on many elementary school playgrounds. Unfortunately, space is often limiting and allows only the biggest fans to practice their skills. By introducing rotational style basketball, more players can join and highly skilled players can become leaders instead of dominators. A favorite on many Playworks playgrounds, the Game of the Week is Three Lines Basketball.

Group Size:


Age Group:

Grades 3+

Length of Activity:

10 minutes or more

Developmental Goal:

To develop teamwork and communication.


One Basketball, Three Cones, One Basketball Hoop and marked boundaries

Before You Start:
  • Place three cones across the half-court line.
  • Explain the rules of the game and the rules of basketball.
  • Ask the players to explain the game back to you.
How To Play:
  • Have every stand in three single-file lines, one behind each cone.
  • The first player in each line steps forward past the cone and turns and faces the next player in line.
  • The three people that have stepped out are a team of three and will play defense.
  • They will be playing in a half-court game against the next players in line behind each cone, who form another team of three.
  • Other players in line wait their turn to play while cheering.
  • The defenders get ready as the first offensive player, behind the middle cone, starts with the ball.
  • This player passes the ball to one of her/his teammates to start the game.
  • The object of the game is to be the first team to score.
The following rules apply:
  • If a player shoots and misses, either team can rebound the ball and shoot again immediately.
  • When a point is scored the team that made the basket stays on the court to play the next three people in line.
  • The team that scored starts on defense.
  • The team that did not score returns to the end of their respective line.
  • If a foul is called, the player who has been fouled gets to throw the ball in from out of bounds.
  • If a game is taking too long, count down from ten, nine, eight etc.
  • The last player holding the ball takes a free throw shot. If the player makes the shot, her/his team stays on the court.
  • If the player misses, her/his team returns to the end of the line and the other team stays on the court.
  • If a team wins three times in a row they have earned three claps and return to the end of the line.
  • Players cannot dribble, in order to move the ball they must pass.
  • When players on defensive rebound the ball, they must pass it one time before they can shoot the ball.

Find more new and exciting games in our games database!


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