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Don’t worry, I’m not talking about actually turning your room into a bowling alley, or having your kids chuck heavy bowling balls towards your furniture. But, your kids can learn so much by setting up an indoor bowling alley.
How to Set Up a Pretend Bowling Lane
If you’re ready to give it a try, you’ll need to set up a bowling lane. Here’s what you need:
- 10 plastic cups
- 1 Playground ball (that has a bit of weight)
That’s it! Of course you can also get fancy and use masking tape to mark your lanes. But that’s definitely optional.
And if you want, you can also purchase an indoor bowling set. That way you don’t have to worry about your plastic cups cracking or anything!
How to Bowl
Find a location in your living room that has some space. You may need to scoot some furniture aside. We just slide our coffee table over to one side of the room, leaving an empty path straight down the middle.
As one end of your space, set up your plastic cups bowling pin style:
Then, have your kids form a line at the other end. One at a time, they get the ball and bowl it down towards the cups. They get two chances to knock down as many cups as they can.
Now it’s time to reset the pins and let another person take a turn.
It keeps my kids busy for at least an hour! 😀
What Kids Learn in Your Homemade Bowling Alley
While they’re busy having a great time, your kids are learning and practicing many skills. Here’s a look at a few of them.
Younger kids can practice counting to ten each time the pins are set. They’ll also practice seeing the pattern. Each row increases by 1.
So the first row has 1. The second 2. Then 3. And finally 4.
As the first ball knocks down pins, you get to practice subtraction too! How many pins are left? How many pins got knocked down?
By keeping score, your children can practice additional math skills. Download a simple score sheet and work together to learn how they get points, and how to record strikes and spares.
Pins. Bowling ball. Alley. Lane. Strike. Spare.
There are plenty of words associated with bowling. As your kids play, you can introduce new vocabulary words to them.
“Yay! You knocked down all the pins on your first ball. That’s a strike!”
(And if you have kids familiar with baseball, you can talk about how a baseball strike isn’t good but a bowling strike is good. Words can have more than one meaning!)
Using vocabulary words in context helps make them more memorable, so use them in sentences and teach your kids new words.
It’s not always easy to take turn. Especially when there’s a ball involved. Kids get to practice this essential life skill when bowling in your living room.
It can be hard to wait for your turn, so suggest counting pins, singing the alphabet, or jumping up and down while waiting.
Learning to offer encouraging words is important. Let your kids practice good sportsmanship and congratulate others on good turns, and share an encouraging word with someone who didn’t quite get it.
Kids sit plenty today, especially when it’s muddy or cold outside. Having another active play game that’s perfect for indoor play will help get everyone up and moving. Here are some other active indoor ideas for you:
Indoor Bowling Extension Activities
To extend the learning, you can:
- Write a story about bowling
- Watch a YouTube video of professional bowlers
- Set up a Bowling Alley snack bar and have the kids use pretend money to make purchases
- Draw a diagram of a bowling alley
- Practice different ways to throw the ball to get it to curve
- Research the history of bowling
- Write a poem about bowling
- Make a paper bowling set with pins, a ball, and a lane
- Tape an index card with a sight word on each pin. Set them up in a line and encourage your child to knock down the word you call, and then read it aloud.
Have you ever done indoor bowling?
Did you kids love indoor bowling as much as mine do? I’d love to hear about it!
Do you think you’ll set up an alley of your own?