Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sight Word Basketball

It is Tuesday, which means it is time for our Move & Learn series!

Man oh man did we have fun moving and learning this week! My 5-year-old son just started a weekly basketball camp and he loves it! He is also really interested in writing and reading lately. 

I decided to take some of the words that he's been learning and use them to create a simple sight word basketball game. We love finding ways to take his interests and turn them into opportunities for learning!


I went through a basic kindergarten sight word list and selected a few words that he already knows pretty well and a few harder words that he's been getting stuck on during reading and embedded them into our game. 

Our sight word game helped us recognize, read, and spell the words along with allowing us to practice dribbling the basketball, passing, and aiming. Some of you have asked when to start introducing sight words to your kids. My answer is, "it depends on your child." Every kid is develops differently, so introduce the concept in a fun and playful way if you think they are ready for it... and they will let you know if they are not. I always know my kids aren't ready for something when I get a huge headache from it because it isn't working and everyone is frustrated. :)


  • foam sheets (or shapes... we used pumpkins)
  • sharpie
  • basketball (one for each participant)


To get started I wrote several sight words on the foam shapes with a Sharpie.

Next we grabbed our basketballs and headed outside. We placed the foam shapes all over the ground and practiced reading the words. Foam shapes are great on pavement because they don't move around. They will however get dirty!

Then we started playing our sight word basketball game.

Game 1:


Dribble from sight word to sight word trying to bounce right on the word and read it out loud... then move to the next one.

Game 2: 

Player 1 calls out a sight word and Player 2 dribbles to it. Then they switch roles.

Game 3:

Player 1 calls out a sight word. Player 2 tries to dribble to that sight word while Player 1 tries to tag Player 2 before she reaches the sight word. If tagged, then Player 2 is the chaser (we called it the monster) and Player 1 is the dribbler. (I pushed the baby around with me when it was my turn to be the chaser... he had a blast)

Game 4:

Spread foam sight words out around the ground by the basketball hoop. Step on a sight word, read it, and then shoot a basket from that spot. Move to the next word, read it, and shoot again. My son can't actually shoot a basket in our super tall neighborhood hoop... but he sure likes to try. He did shoot granny shots and even managed to get a few backwards ones in. Our main goal was to have fun though!

Preschool/Toddler Version:

My 2-year-old loved this game too! Instead of dribbling and racing, she would walk around and throw the ball at the foam sight words. She would look for letters that she knew, say the letter, and then throw the ball at the word. Sometimes she even tried to dribble like her brother. 

For example, I said, "Catie, can you find a letter in your name?" She wandered around, found the word can, and said, "This word has a C in it for Catie." I replied, "You're right! That is the word can and it starts with the letter C just like your name does." She was so excited. She just kept roaming around, finding letters she knew, saying them, and then throwing the ball at them.

Have you ever used a basketball for a learning activity? We loved practicing spelling as we played "horse" growing up... but I'd love a few other ideas if you have them! Please share them in the comments.

Our Sight Word Basketball game is part of the Move and Learn Series that I am participating in along with Hands On: As We GrowThe Pleasantest Thing, and Coffee Cups and Crayons

Make sure to check out this week’s other Move and Learn activities below and then join the four of us next week for even more move and learn ideas!

You can also check out our Move and Learn Pinterest Board for more inspiration! Or see the other posts we've shared in this series...


  1. I love this idea!! Physical activity with reading! WAY TO GO!


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