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DIY Bowling Alley: Skittle Fun at Home

What you need

  • A large hard surface, indoors or out
  • A ball 
  • Old milk/juice cartons or plastic drink bottles, filled with a little water or small amount of sand or soil to weigh them down (these will create skittles for bowling – or you may have a bowling set to use instead!)


This activity develops arm coordination, fine motor control, and the ability to “read” distances, as well as many mathematical opportunities, through keeping score and adding numerical values to the skittles.

The experience

If you don’t have skittles for bowling, you can create your own! Collect a few empty milk cartons or plastic drink bottles and fill the bottoms with around 2cm of garden soil or sand, or fill with some water to add weight. Set up the cartons or drink bottles as bowling targets. Choose a place where you and your child will set up your very own bowling alley! You might want to let your child bowl from a shorter distance than you. Show your child how to do a basic bowling action. Take turns bowling and trying to knock down the cartons or plastic bottles.

As your child’s throwing improves, try making a game where you keep score – each milk carton can be worth 1 or more points (you can add a number to the bottle; it may help to add a number plus a number of corresponding dots i.e. write the number ‘3’ and put 3 dots below. This will help to support your child if they do not recognise all numerals, but also for counting and adding scores). Practice maths while having fun! Give it a go!