Bowling is a wonderful sensory activity for kids. No matter how you and your child decides to bowl, bowling is a simple, fun activity that offers heavy work, motor planning, strengthening, and visual motor planning.
At the start of every summer, be sure to check out KidsBowlFree.com and see if your local bowling alley is listed. It’s perfect for rainy days or even days that are so hot you can barely breathe.
Many kids LOVE to go bowling, but can’t always make it to the bowling alley. Kid’s schedules may not fit into the local alley’s availability or perhaps there is not an alley in your town. With the following ideas, you can get creative and do a bit of “batty bowling” right in your back yard!
Batty Backyard Bowling
Batty Backyard Bowling is a game idea extracted from Kids Outdoor Parties by Penny Warner. As an occupational therapist, I’ve put my therapeutic spin on it.
Re-Purposed Silly Fun
Find a number of silly or odd items that can be knocked over by a ball, such as:
- a plastic milk carton,
- a candlestick,
- a stand-up doll,
- a plastic vase of flowers,
- a pizza box,
- a tower of empty cans,
- an umbrella stand,
- an empty oatmeal container,
- and a book.
Line them up like pins and let the bowlers try to knock them over with volleyballs, tennis balls, or golf balls. The therapeutic value of this activity includes building on motor planning and coordination.
Get kids crawling on all fours. Have them hit a large, soft ball with their heads to knock down the pins.
Backward crab walk. Have them sit, then support themselves with their arms extended behind them and have them kick the ball with one foot.
Ask kids to get their thinking caps on. Have them think of other ways to knock over the pins.
The therapeutic value of these variations include building upon motor planning skills, upper extremity strengthening, creativity and visual motor skills.
Vestibular Input & Bowling
Yes, you read that right! Bowl for vestibular input. Secure a set of giant inflatable bowling pins. Next get a large roll and play inflatable ball. Have one child get inside the the inflatable ball and have another child push that ball down a home made alley in the back yard to mow over the inflatable pins. Both kids get sensory input and loads of fun are sure to be had.