trashketball-math-game-review-game-2Trashketball is one of the best trash can math games which  helps by allowing kids to participate in a fun and competitive environment both individually and as a part of a team. Although these basketball math games require kids to ball a lot of papers and play the game, here we have devised a cleaner and greener version of the game keeping in mind the importance of paper.

So what is Trashketball?

The trashketball math game is a basketball math game with a trash can. As it is with the trash can, trashketball can be played at home and even in the classrooms.

Requirements of Trashketball?

  1. A trash can or a bucket.
  2. The trashketballs: Either a rubber ball or one of those stress balls will do the trick! One for each team.
  3. A group of students divided into teams of equal number.
  4. Dry erase boards and markers or just a notebook and pen for each team. (hereon called “work-pad”)
  5. Flashcards or a set of questions.


Download FREE printable for Trashket Ball Math Game

How to play Trashketball?

In order to play trashketball, divide your class into teams. You can have as many teams as you like.  During the game, each team will be asked a question. If they answer it correctly, they earn 5 points. This team also gets to shoot a ball into the trashcan for bonus points.
If they answer incorrectly, any of the other teams can shoot the trashketball in order to steal the question. Pretty simple, right? And it’s exciting because if you think about it, one of the fondest memories of school (for most people) is tossing balls into a trash can just for fun.

Set up for Trashketball

Prepare the Flash Cards

Prepare the flash cards for the trashketball math game beforehand. These flash cards should contain questions or information you want your students to review during the game. You could use Dr. Math designed for exactly this purpose.

Make teams

The first thing you want to do is make teams. You can make teams by yourself or assign random numbers to everyone and call them out. Another way you can do is, select few kids as team captains and ask them to pick their teammates.

Set the Trashketball field

Once the teams are ready, set up the basket/trash can at a certain distance. Make sure it’s away from the wall so that there are no shots that bounce off the wall and into the can. This makes the math game of trashketball more challenging because the shots must be clean.

Draw the line

Next, draw a line from where the shot must be taken. If you have enough space, you can make lines at increasing distances for 1 point, 2 point, and 3 points.

trashket ball math game

Each team should have a work-pad on which they will solve the problems, make notes,  and keep track of points. This ensures that each team is working on the questions by themselves. Since teams can attempt questions asked to other teams, it gives motivation to every team to work on the problems even if it is not their turn.

Which team goes first?

The best method to decide the sequence is to give all the teams a common math question. The team that comes up with the answer first, goes first. The team to answer second, goes next and so on.

Let’s start playing trash can math game

  • Start the game by asking one question to the first team.
  • If they answer it correctly, award them 5 points.
  • Now it is their turn to shoot the trashketball. Let them decide among themselves whether they want to shoot from 1, 2, or 3 point line. The teams can talk, discuss within themselves but only one member can answer and shoot per round. This ensures that everyone gets a chance to shoot.
  • If Team 1 misses the shot, it’s time to move to Team 2 and ask them their question.
  • If the trashketball lands inside the trash can, the team wins the bonus points. Else, they don’t.

What if Team 1 doesn’t answer correctly?

Here’s where it gets really interesting. The other teams must stay alert  at all times. In case a team answers a question incorrectly, the can is open for any of the other teams to shoot. But they can do so only after providing the correct answer. At the end of every round, change the order by starting with the second team first. Then the third team, and then the fourth, and so on. This ensures that everyone gets a to go first.

Twist to Trashketball:

An interesting way to end the game would be to have the team’s wager points for the last question.

Playing Trashketball with a single player

Trashketball  can be played with a single player too. If there is just one player then you would require just one trashketball, flash cards or even math worksheets with problems. The player solves a problem and if the answer is right, they shoot for a bonus point. Trashketball can be played by parents and teachers as well as older students who may be reviewing on their own.

trashketball math game

Mission of Trashketball math review game

The aim of the game is to answer questions correctly by working with your team and shooting the trashketball in the can to gain bonus points. You can decide how you want to end the game. The first to reach 20 points  can win, or the team with maximum points at the end of 10 questions wins. The choice is up to the parent/instructor on whether they want the difficulty of questions to increase as the rounds go by.

Benefits of Trashketball

Trashketball is a math game which can be used for reviewing any kind of math skills. It can be spread over a broad spectrum: covering all math topics in that term, or it could be very specific: just multiplication or division or a specific multiplication table. Hence, the most important aspect of this game is the life skill.

Soft Skills:


Since each team has their own work-pad, they have to work together to extract the information from questions and put it on paper. The members must decide within themselves which roles are to be taken by which member. There could be a designated member whose job is to pay attention to the fact that when other teams answer incorrectly in order for them to swoop in for a steal! In addition to this, not everyone will know everything and teammates will help complement the gaps in each other’s knowledge.

Working under pressure:

The other teams are watching with hawk-like vision, waiting for a chance to steal and shoot in case of a wrong answer. Hence players have to be aware of their work and their answer.

Decision making:

Should you shoot for 1 point, 2 points, or 3 points for the bonus? That’s a good question that the teams will grapple with. To shoot from the 1 point line is easier but the pay-off is not as much. You could get a bit greedy and go for 2, it’s not that much farther. If you’re really confident in your teammate’s shooting skill and accuracy, the team could shoot for 3 points that in turn serves a massive pay-off! But if you miss, then you get no bonus points.


So there you have it! Trashketball, a basketball math game that you can play pretty much anywhere if you have a bucket and a ball or two! Try it out with your students or at home with your kids. It could be played between individuals as well as multiple-member teams. I found an interesting version of this game on to which I added some of my own elements. Please check out John Roberts’ blog for great education related content.

Share this blog with people you know: teachers, parents, students, community/social workers who work with kids, daycare centers. Trashketball is really fun and an effective math game for learning and reviewing math topics.