When the weather outside is too hot or cold and kids are looking for something to do, create a bowling alley in your home. With some creativity and basic materials you probably have in your home, children can create a bowling alley where they can play traditionally or create their own bowling game. Bowling is a game that encourages gross motor as well as math skills in children.
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Tennis Ball Bowling
Children can turn empty plastic 2-liter bottles into bowling pins and use a tennis ball to bowl in the home. Wash and clean 10 bottles and position them in bowling formation in a location where there is 15 feet of distance in front of the plastic bottle pins. To arrange the pins, place a small piece of tape where they should be located to remember positions. There is one bottle in front, two bottles in the second row, three in the third, and four in the fourth row, creating a triangle shape. Using a measuring tape, measure 15 feet from the first row of the bowling pins and create a line of tape to stand on while bowling. When bowling, each person takes two turns attempting to knock down all the plastic bottle pins. Children can keep score by writing down the combined number of pins they knocked down after two rolls of the tennis ball. After each child has had five turns, the child with the highest score wins.
For an extra challenge, fill the plastic water bottles with water and then replace the caps, making the bottles harder to knock over.
Turn plastic or paper cups and a tennis ball into a bowling game that can be played on a table. Arrange the cups, open side up, in a triangle formation with one cup in the first row, two cups in the second, and three in the third row, positioned at one end of a table at least 4 feet in length.
To play the table bowling game, children stand on the opposite side of the table and roll the tennis ball on the table, attempting to knock the cups down or off the table completely. Children take one turn apiece and can keep score by marking how many cups they knocked over after each turn. The child that reaches a score of 50 first wins.
Traditional bowling can be turned into kick bowling by using a soccer ball and 1-liter plastic bottles. Children can select a location to play, such as a hallway or basement, away from breakables. Fill the bottles with water and make sure the cap is screwed on tightly. Position the bottles in a traditional bowling formation with one bottle in the first row, two bottles in the second row, three bottles in the third row, and four bottles in the fourth row. Place a small piece of tape under the bottles to remember their placement. Measure 15 feet from the first bottle in the bowling formation and create a line with a length of tape. Each child can take a turn kicking the ball at the bottles attempting to knock them all down. Kids can create their own rules and points for the game, keeping score and playing as they wish.
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