Bowling Party Games

Children at Bowling Alley
Rich Legg Getty Images

Birthday parties are all about fun. Increase the fun factor and take the pressure off of getting a high score at a bowling birthday party with some of these games designed for kids at the lanes.

Shout It Out

When a child releases the bowling ball, challenge them to shout out as many things that they can name in one category before the ball reaches the bowling pins. Keep track of how many items each player is able to list. At the end of the game, the player with the most points wins. Suggestions for categories include ice cream flavors, zoo animals, characters on a favorite television show, types of cereal, and candy bars.

Another variation of this game has the bystanders performing tasks as the ball rolls down the lane. When one player releases the ball, challenge another one to recite the alphabet backward, remove and then put back on their shoes or do the chicken dance. Kids who complete their task before the ball hits the pins score a point.

Even or Odd

In this game, the number of pins knocked down will determine the task a child has to perform. Write down several silly tasks on pieces of paper. Fold them up, divide them, and place them into two hats, bags, or piles. Mark one pile even and one odd. When a player bowls, count the number of pins knocked down. If the number is odd, the player will choose a task from the odd pile and perform it. If it is an even number, an even task will be drawn. You can also vary the tasks so that all of the ones in the even pile are easier or less silly than the odd ones.

Bowling Bingo​

Here’s a way to make the scorekeeping more fun. Print out bingo cards that have boxes filled with different possible bowling outcomes, such as strike, gutter ball, spare, and the numbers one through nine. As each player bowls, kids can mark off their bingo cards with the results. Bring trinket prizes along to award to kids who score a bingo.

Goofy Bowling

For each frame of bowling, have the kids bowl in a silly way. Some ideas for goofy bowling:

  • Bowl backward (put your back to the pins and roll ball under legs).
  • Disco bowl (kids disco dance as they bowl).
  • Slow motion bowl.
  • Granny bowl (bowl like a grandma).
  • Tiptoe bowl (walk on tiptoes to bowl).
  • Sit down bowl (kids sit down and push the ball down the lane).

Bowling Relay Race

To play this game, you will need two lanes next to each other. Divide the kids into two teams. The first players on the teams will start off in unison, each player rolling their ball down the lane on the word go. When a ball returns, the next player will grab it and roll it down the alley. This game is not about how many pins are knocked down, but rather which team can have all its players roll the ball down the aisle first.

Tag Team Bowling

This game can be played tournament style. Divide players into pairs. The first pair each takes a turn bowling the frame. The first player will bowl first, and the second one will go for the spare. Use side by side lanes and have two tag teams challenge each other at a time. The victors from each challenge will move on to challenge each other. Play until only one tag team remains. This is the winning team.

Whose Shoes

When the kids remove their shoes to put on bowling shoes, gather their shoes, mix them up, and place them in a pile. When it’s time to return the bowling shoes, send the kids to the pile to find and put on their own shoes. Have a pile of trinket prizes available. When a player has their shoes on, they can run to the prize pile and choose one. You can also use this game as a fun way to give out the favors at the end of the party.