Talk it Out Basketball

Looking for a fun way to talk and engage in meaningful conversation with children who have trouble sitting still? Try letting them move/play while talking! It sounds simple but it really is amazing how children will suddenly start to process their feelings, identify their strengths, and make goals for themselves when addressed in a fun engaging way.

My favorite movement based intervention is a game I call “Talk It Out Basketball.” I have different talking prompts and points taped with masking tape to the floor in my office. The questions range from “name one of your strengths” to “talk about a time you calmed down safely this week.” The rule is that while standing on the question you get half points for simply answering the question and the other half of the points for making the shot.

For those who don’t want questions taped to the floor: make the game where they help you come up with the questions and take turns coming up with them and asking them. You could also simply have cards and let the person drawing the card decide where to take the shot from.

To promote engagement: for children who may be more resistant to talking and participating in feelings activities, let them help you come up with questions with you, decorate the cards, and have them help you tape them to the floor. This is significant because the child not only has a sense of control and participation but the child will also feel that his or her ideas are truly valued. The prompts being taped to the floor helps the child see their ideas are so valued that they have become a permanent part of the space where they meet with you. This has helped even my most resistant clients appear to feel more safe and comfortable through validation of their ideas.

So get out there and shoot some hoops while making a difference for a child. ๐Ÿ™‚


  1. i could see a child saying that they are satisfied with half the points for just making the shot and not answering the question. has that come up for you before?

    • Actually no it has not come up. If anything it has had the opposite effect. When they miss the shot they are still very excited to answer the question and at least get half the points. And most of my clients actually enjoy answering the question more than I would have thought. ๐Ÿ™‚

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