It is March Madness, and I couldn’t be happier! I love this time of the year. The buzzer beaters, players running around the court like 5 year olds, and brackets being filled out with dreams of making millions. When I was in middle school, I always remember the TV cart getting rolled into the classroom, and school basically stopping for a moment. We would huddle around the TV, and scream for teams that we didn’t even know. Mountain Dew even had the fun promotion of getting a team on the bottle cap, and if they won you had a chance to win money! We were all hopped up on Mountain Dew, and living the dream. So, how can you recreate these memories for your campers, staff, and even parents. I will give you some fun ideas that I have used, and stolen from others. Remember, just because it is March right now, doesn’t mean you can’t bring it back in July during Summer Camp!
- Fill Out Brackets – Teach the kids about seeding, tournament history, buzzer beaters, use technology to show them instead of just talking about it! Prizes for winning brackets!
- Watch Games at Your Program! Let the kids experience your old memories! Let them watch the game at your program, go off your normal schedule, have fun snacks or pizza, and let them enjoy a different day!
- 3 Point Contest – If you don’t have ball racks, put basketballs in laundry bins and setup a few stations behind the arc.
- Around The World – Setup poly dots (spaces on the floor) for the kids to shoot on, and as they go around the court, have the winning shot from half court!
- Dunk Contest – Gather everyone, lower the goal, and have a Dunk Contest. Everyone loves the creative dunks they see on TV, so put on some costumes, drive a car in the gym (just kidding but not really) and have fun!
- Free Throw Contest – Free throws are important. Great skills clinic, and also a way to have anyone that wants to participate. Set up a bracket or just see who can make the most out of 20. If there is a tie, have them shoot another 10.
- Skills Competition – Have cones setup to dribble around, have them pass basketball through a hula hoop, do a layup, and then go back and hit a 3 pointer. Time it and see who wins!
- Family Night – Oven Mitt Basketball. Parents have oven mitts on their hands and the kids get to play normal. Sounds weird, but a great funny way for the parents, and kids to play together. It is funny to watch parents trying to shoot with the oven mitts on.
My favorite is the Camper VS. Staff Basketball game. Throw in a surprise guest for the camper team to help make it even, and have a game in front of everyone. If you work with elementary kids, have the 4/5th graders on the team and have the other grades being volunteers, water boys/girls, and cheer section (Cameron Crazies). If you have a camp or program with middle school as well, do the middle school campers against the staff. We have had some fun moments from this game. Go ALL OUT! Have a scoreboard, guest referees with whistles, starting lineups with music, halftime show, and even trophies/medal/traveling trophy for the winning team. Turn your program into the National Championship Game. Have kids ready to throw confetti or use confetti cannons when the clock hits zero. Bring MARCH MADNESS to your kids/staff/community! Kids want to be part of something different and fun. We have all watched a normal basketball game, you make the magic, and create the experience with this game!
I have more awesome ideas in the Resource Zone! Go check it out.