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Our Top 2 Picks for Best Toddler Basketball Hoops
If you’re like most parents, you’re hoping to one day sit in the stands and watch your child play sports. Believe it or not, recreational basketball is the most popular sport among American kids. And it only follows that the earlier they start, the bigger their edge, right?
Okay, we can’t actually prove that. But they say “practice makes perfect” for a reason. And we do think basketball is a seriously fun way to bond with your kiddo.
The question is, how and when do you start? First, take a cue from your child. Are they already interested in basketball and are looking to play? You’ll want to pick up a set that looks like a “real” basketball and hoop. Let them feel like they’re playing the game. Set the height low and watch your kid joyfully run, jump, and slam-dunk the ball.
If your little one is unaware that basketball exists, start them off with something they’re sure to love. Grab a hoop for baby’s bathtime. Place an over-the-door set in their bedroom. Above all, make sure they start associating basketball with fun.
We’ve selected a few of our favorite toddler-friendly basketball hoops and listed them below. The Little Tikes Easy Score Set is a classic, but there are other options on the market, too. You’re sure to find the best toddler basketball hoop for your needs, no matter how tall your child is or the size of your space.
- Our Top 2 Picks for Best Toddler Basketball Hoops
- The Best Toddler Basketball Hoops
- A Guide to Buying the Best Toddler Basketball Hoop
- Final thoughts
The Best Toddler Basketball Hoops
Little Tikes proves that kids’ toys don’t need flashing lights and sounds. The Easy Score Basketball Set is simplicity at its finest. It looks basic but provides years of fun and physical activity.
This toddler basketball hoop adjusts to six different heights, with the lowest setting at 2.5ft. It’s small enough for 18-month-olds and grows with them until they’re ready for a “real” basketball hoop. The height adjustments also make it easy for siblings to share. Three included small balls are lightweight enough to prevent injury. And since the set is also lightweight, it can be filled with sand for more stability.
We love that this toy entertains multiple age groups and works inside or outdoors. It’s a long-time bestseller for good reason!
If you’re looking for a multipurpose toy or one that adds cuteness to your decor, check out the Costzon Kids Basketball Hoop. It comes in six different child-friendly designs. The central attraction is the toddler basketball hoop at the top. But little ones will love playing soccer and golf with this set too. The stand adjusts from 30.5” to 45.5”, making it ideal for siblings or fast-growing kiddos.
Many families keep this set inside and use it during rainy days. But the non-toxic material also withstands the outdoors. And since the golf balls and club are hard, you might prefer to use them outside. We love getting three toys in one and think this is the perfect way to introduce toddlers to three sports simultaneously.
There’re so many things to love about this toddler basketball set: It folds up for storage and travel, has multiple heights, doesn’t put holes in the door, and offers basketball fun without taking up the entire playroom. At the lowest setting, the net hangs about two feet above the ground. This is a perfect height for tots exploring the concept of basketball.
Over time, you can move the net to the top of the door and challenge older kids to a free throw contest. But avoid shooting hoops after bedtime. This set slams into the door on impact and might be too noisy.
A bathtub set safely introduces tiny tots to basketball. Suction cups secure the backboard to the wall, and children can practice slam dunks and free throws while getting clean. Some parents use the suction cups to place the hoop on a dishwasher or fridge, making this a truly multi-purpose and portable toy.
This set includes four PVC inflatable balls and a hand pump. They’re much smaller than real basketballs, but they’re a perfect size for baby hands. We’ll admit to using a bathtub hoop to tempt older kids to take a bath too.
A Guide to Buying the Best Toddler Basketball Hoop
How to choose the best toddler basketball hoop?
We stand by every product on this list and believe any basketball hoop will be fun. But in order to pick the perfect product for your situation, consider these three factors:
Think about where you’re setting up. Are you looking for a driveway hoop or one that fits in your child’s bedroom? The Little Tikes Easy Score can be used indoors or out, in big living rooms or hallways. But if you’re tight on space, the foldable over-the-door set makes more sense.
Age and size of your kid
How tall is your child? Are they ready to learn the fundamentals of basketball, or are you teaching your 1-year-old how to throw? All the toys on this list are toddler-friendly, but a 20-month-old has different needs than a 4-year-old. Make sure the hoop you buy offers the right level of challenge for your little one.
Consider whether you’re exposing your child to basketball or actually teaching them to play. If you’re in the former camp, the Costzon set is a wonderful way to introduce your little athlete to basketball, as well as golf and soccer. It’s an awesome toy for bringing basketball into your environment, but probably not the best pick for a driveway basketball game. And while the bathtub net is fun for babies, it won’t do much for preschoolers who want to shoot hoops outside.
At what age can kids learn to play basketball?
According to experts, children aren’t ready to join basketball teams until they’re 7 years old. Younger kids simply lack the attention span and motor skills to be successful. Pushing them to do drills and obey official basketball rules might only make them hate the sport.
With toddlers and preschoolers, focus instead on having fun. Work on throwing, catching and experimenting. Having a junior-sized hoop with plenty of time to shoot baskets is a great way to make basketball a fun pastime instead of a source of stress.
How tall to make the basketball hoop?
Coaches and parents believe six feet is an appropriate height for kindergarten players. When they start learning the rules of the game, running the court, and shooting layups, adjust your hoop to this size.
But before that — especially at a really young age — you want to focus on two things: keeping your child’s attention, and using proper form. Your kid should be learning to love basketball and you’ll get there fastest by making it fun. Keep the rim high enough for a challenge, but short enough to guarantee balls go in the net. If your child is interested in learning to shoot, keep the rim low enough that they can get the ball into the net without sacrificing form.
Should I use sand or water in the basketball hoop base?
Sand is denser than water. The extra weight provides more stability. But since it’s heavier, it’s harder to move. If you’re frequently going indoors to outdoors, or upstairs to downstairs, keep this in mind.
Water is easier to empty and clean than sand, plus a whole lot cheaper! If you’re keeping it outdoors, remember that water can evaporate in heat, expand in cold, and grow mold if not taken care of. If you’re still unsure, Dick’s Sporting Goods has more tips for taking care of basketball hoops.
What kind of basketball should I use?
All of the hoops we listed come with balls, so you won’t need to worry about balls initially. They typically include junior-sized basketballs that are plastic instead of rubber. These are often lighter and may or may not be filled with an air pump. As long as you pick a ball small enough to fit the rim and light enough for your kid to throw, you’re set.
This kind of ball makes a great addition to our top choice. More balls for your child to shoot means you don’t have to run and fetch after every single shot.
Toddler basketball hoops make it easy to bond with your little one. You’ll both be getting a workout and some laughs, and your child will improve hand-eye coordination and balance.
Keep in mind though that youngsters should play multiple sports as they’re growing up. They’ll gain a wide range of skills, challenge their bodies in different ways, and have a chance to find their favorite activity.
Still, there’s no harm in starting them on basketball early. Bringing home the best toddler basketball hoop you can find may guarantee you a basketball buddy for life.
Looking for more toys to burn off your toddler’s energy? Here are the best indoor toys for active toddlers.