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5 Bowling Activities for Preschoolers

Alphabet Bowling with Preschoolers, a Strike every time!

Are you looking for a fun, inexpensive way to help young children learn their alphabet? Why not add movement so while they learn early literacy concepts they are building their physical skills? This is how young children learn best…with movement!

Benefits of Bowling

Bowling in preschool builds physical skills like eye-hand coordination and spatial awareness. This occurs when children use their eyes and hands together to locate the bowling pins and then roll and release the ball with enough force to hit the pins over. Also, they are learning where their bodies are in relation to the pins and ball so they can roll the ball in the right direction. These active turn taking games are also great for building self-regulation. 

Here are a few of our favorite preschool bowling activities that incorporate active learning with early literacy. Many of these bowling games use the ABC’s of Movement cards to enhance the lesson. Grab your ABC’s of Movement cards or download your set here. If you are new to our blog, check out this post.

1. Water Bottle Bowling

This low cost option can be done in person (at home or school) or virtually. Simply gather a few plastic water bottles, a foam ball, and write different alphabet letters on each bottle. When played in a group setting, each child takes a turn rolling the ball to knock down as many bottles as he/she can. Then, when their turn is over, they set the bottles back up for the next person. To add to this lesson, after identifying the letters they knocked down, each preschool age child selects one of the corresponding ABC’s of Movement card and leads their friends in that movement.

2. Colored Water Bottles

Another low cost option that also works on color identification and scientific inquiry. Fill water bottles with different amounts of water and add food coloring to make colored bowling pins. Children share which colors they knocked down when taking their turn bowling. Challenge children to identify which color was the easiest to be knocked over, the hardest, and why?

3. Alphabet Bowling

Already have a kid’s bowling set? Turn it into an alphabet bowling game by getting some alphabet letters that can be reused and stuck on each pin.  We use ReStick ‘Ems from Crayola so we can easily apply and remove (and reuse) the letters. Select a few of the letters you want to work on, stick them on the pins and let the bowling begin. Again, after identifying the letters that were knocked down, pull out your ABC’s of Movement cards to further boost this lesson.

4. Penguin Bowling

Yes, you do have to get crafty and create penguin bowling pins by painting plastic milk bottles to resemble penguins. But it is so worth it! Leave the bellies white, add eyes, and beaks and you are ready to roll! Encourage children to take turns bowling with a foam or rubber ball. Penguin Bowling is just one of the many gross motor games featured in the book ABC’s of Active Learning.

5. Bowling Pins Obstacle Course

Obstacle courses are great gross motor activities for preschool-aged children. To create an obstacle course, simply sequence 4-6 movement activities together. Place a container with kid’s size bowling pins at the beginning of the obstacle course. Each child grabs and carries one bowling pin through the obstacle course and sets it up at the end. After all the children have been through, they take turns knocking down the pins in the bowling alley they created. Several of the ABC’s of Movement® activity cards work well in obstacle courses. See the post ABC’s Obstacle Course!

Whether it is a DIY Bowling Game you made or a store bought one that you transformed into an alphabet game, there are no gutterballs when preschoolers are bowling!

Need More Ideas? Check these out!

ABC’s of Active Learning Book

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Power Deck Cards

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