Basketballs are a great way to give the kids a chance to exercise outdoors … with the emphasis on “out”. No playing ball in the house is kind of a universal rule for all parents.
But we all know as soon as we hand that kid a basketball in the kitchen, the bedroom, or the living room, the first thing he or she is going to do is bounce the f****** thing.
With our list of the best basketballs for kids, even if you’re not a basketball playing parent, you can find one they’ll wanna use. These are fun basketballs that the kids will love carrying outdoors to play. Some are even named after their favorite players like Steph Curry and LeBron James.
The kids receive exercise, and the parents receive peace and quiet … for a few minutes anyway. (We’re greedy bastards, and we want more, but every minute is precious.)
A Spalding basketball is one of the best known basketball for kids brands. This is a fun colored basketball in pink and purple that kids will love. The size 5, 6, or 7 ball has a durable rubber cover that will survive against any ground surface where they choose to bounce it. (But we can’t guarantee your kitchen will survive.)
Young children need basketball sizes that fit their hands. This Mikasa ball is available in size 4, which is good for elementary aged children, and size 5, which is made for pre-teens. (Size 7 is the official sized ball.) The best part of a size 4 ball is that dad can feel like he’s huge when he palms the ball.
This Wilson ball ranks as a best youth basketball, as it’s available in sizes 5, 6, and 7. (Size 6 is a women’s ball or a middle school boys/girls ball.) We can’t guarantee this ball will live up to its name and give your kids a killer crossover on par with Russell Westbrook. But it’ll be funny watching them bounce the ball of their own feet repeatedly as they try.
Any kid who has watched the NBA wants to rain 3-pointers like Steph Curry. Never mind that most small kids can’t hit the rim from 23 feet, 9 inches. They’ll still want to try. With this best basketball for kids from Under Armour in size 5 or 7, they’ll at least be able to use a Steph Curry ball when they’re tossing up their air-balls from deep.
When your kid wants the best outdoor basketball to take to the playground, this size 6 LeBron James ball looks great. It has deep panel channels and a deep pebble pattern that’s perfect for outdoor play. (We’re not going to say that James himself shows up at the playground when kids are playing with this ball, but we’re not going to say he won’t, either.)
This Kevin Durant ball is one of the sharpest looking entries on our best basketballs for kids list with a great color combination and that iconic Nike swoosh. It’s a size 6 ball made for outdoor use. (And if your kid’s favorite jersey number is the same as KD’s old jersey #35, all the better.)
Not all kids are excited about having NBA players imprinted on their basketballs. In fact, we’d wager more kids know the emoji characters printed on these basketballs than know who LeBron James, Kevin Durant, or Steph Curry are. (Sorry, fellas.)
Kids love autographs … or at least parents love watching kids get autographs. This Wilson ball is all white in color, making it the perfect background to obtain a few basketball related autographs. It’s available in both mini and official sizes. (Sure as hell, in a couple of weeks, you’ll catch the kid bouncing the ball in the driveway after you get the autographs, rubbing all of them off, but what else would you truly expect?)
Kids just learning to shoot the basketball, especially if they’re younger, may struggle to reach a full height rim. This Spalding basketball weighs about 15% less than a typical youth size 5 ball, giving youngsters a fighting chance of hitting the rim. Heck, it might even go in once in a while. (We’re not saying you shouldn’t video the little squirt trying to hit the rim with a full size ball a few times to rack up some likes on social media for the pathetically cute factor, but then have this ball ready to go after recording the video.)
For parents who don’t play basketball, it can be a little scary to try to help your kid learn to shoot the ball. This training basketball is a standard size 6 ball, but it has hand outlines imprinted on it to help the child properly position his or her hands on the ball for shooting. You’ll look like a basketball genius with this ball in tow. Just don’t push your luck and attempt to explain the nuances of the 1-3-1 zone defense.
When you want a best outdoor basketball, this Tachikara rubber ball is extremely tough, featuring industrial grade rubber. (We probably wouldn’t tell your kids that, or the curious ones may take that as a challenge to unleash some industrial type tools on the ball to try to pop it.) It’s a size 6 ball, so it’s made for middle school players.
This Baden ball ranks as a best indoor/outdoor basketball, as it has a durable cover for outdoor play on cement and a tacky feel for control when playing indoors on a hard court. These black basketballs with various neon accent colors are fun to use in sizes 5, 6, and 7. (Fair warning: This color combination may convince your kid that playing basketball in the driveway at 2 a.m. is a smart idea. Hide this ball before you go to bed.)
The Wilson Evolution is a best indoor basketball, thanks to the impressive grip in its composite cover. Kids will be able to grip the ball perfectly for all kinds of basketball moves during practice time. And with the red, white, and blue accents on this size 6 ball, you may feel like they’re prepping for an Olympic appearance for Team USA. (Just a suggestion, but you may want to get through the sixth-grade basketball season successfully before you start clearing a space on the shelf for a gold medal.)
As a best indoor basketball in size 6 or 7, this Molten ball has a premium composite leather cover for excellent grip during hard court play. It has the same coloring pattern of the FIBA international basketball, which makes this ball stand out against the other designs in our list. (And if this ball encourages your kid to become a fan of some international basketball leagues in addition to the NBA, WNBA, and college basketball, there’s nothing wrong with that. You haven’t lived until you’ve caught a Qatari Basketball League double-header on TV.)
Created by parents who couldn’t keep their kids from playing inside, this is a brilliant find. The Ollyball plays like a ball, but is 100% damage free. Seriously, hit the tv, the chandelier, your brothers and sisters, and everyone is just fine. It’s made of durable kite material and can be customized for each kid, so you even know who the culprit is when you get hit (gently) in the head.
If you’d like to see more kids toy and gift ideas like these — and you know you do — we’ve got more kid gear to share.