Two fun bowling games for grades K-6.
Submitted by Craig Cameron, Altoona, Pennsylvania.
Background: Here are two games that we have used with our students at all grade levels with great success.
- Gatorskin balls
- 2 bowling pins or similar targets
Set-Up: We use a basketball court and place the polyspots down the center court line, dividing the court into two sections. A bowling pin or similar target is placed a few feet from the end lines.
How We Play It: Divide the class into two teams and place each team on their end lines. Each team sends one player from the end onto the side of the court as their ball retriever and pinsetter. Gatorskin balls are distributed to each team.
On the signal, each team rolls their balls at the other team’s pin in an attempt to strike it down. At the same time, they attempt to guard their own pin by rolling their balls at the other team’s balls. The balls act as both defensive and offensive objects.
Ball Retrievers: Each team has a Ball Retriever. If balls stop rolling during play, the ball retriever enters the court and returns them to their team members. They are not permitted to stop a rolling ball.
Points: Play continues until a pin is struck down. A point is awarded to the team that struck it down. The ball retriever resets their team’s pin and distributes the balls on their side to their team members. They then go to the end of their team’s line. Players rotate down the line one position and a new ball retriever/pin setter comes in from the other end. When both teams have their new retrievers on the court and it is clear, play continues.
Watch Out: Teams must watch that they don’t strike their own pin down while rolling. If they do, a point is awarded to their opponent and the same court procedure is used for the next round.
Safety Tips: Balls must be rolled. Make sure team members roll from behind their lines and are evenly spaced.
Suggestion: For large classes, two pins may be used and both of them must be struck down to receive 2 points. Retrievers may remove the pin from the court until the second is struck.
4 Guard Team Bowling
Background: This is an adapted version of the game Team Bowling. We have changed the game set-up and have added a rotating defensive player for each team. This version can involve more students and is more active.
- Gatorskin balls
- 4 pins
Set-Up: We use a basketball court and place the polyspots down on the floor in an “X” pattern. Each team has a triangular area they’re responsible for. A pin is placed a few feet from each team’s base line.
How We Play It: Divide class into four teams and place each team on the base line of each triangle. Each team sends the player at the right end of their line onto the court to guard their team’s pin. Gatorskin balls are distributed to each team.
On a signal, each team rolls the balls at any one of the other three teams’ pin in an attempt to strike it down. Guards block the rolled balls with their hands and if they gain possession of one, may pass it back to their rolling team. The guard may also roll but is kept very busy on defense.
We encourage them to concentrate on their defense and let their baseline rolling team concentrate on offense and defense. All the players roll the balls at the other rolled balls in an attempt to protect their pin, as is done in the regular Team Bowling game.
When a pin is struck down, for any reason, play stops. Teams with pins still standing receive 1 point (3-team scoring). Defensive guards leave their position on the court and return to the left end of their team-s line. Each line player rotates down their line to the right and the new end defensive player comes on to the court for their turn at defense.
The pin is reset by a new defensive player and all four players signal each other that they are ready for the next round. The players enjoy the rotation because they are always in a new position and they all have a turn at guard.
Safety Tips: Balls must be rolled at pins and other balls. Remind students to spread out on their base line and stay in position.
Suggestion: This is an excellent activity to use as a follow-up to Team Bowling.