Water Bottle Bowling


Bring bowling to your home and have some fun working on hand eye coordination, balance, gross motor skills, and turn taking with this fun-for-all family activity!


  • 6-10 empty plastic water bottles, or whatever containers you have around the house that can work as bowling pins (10 is traditional)
  • A ball large enough to roll and knock over the pins
  • A bowling area such as a hallway


  • Collect your materials and set up a bowling area by placing the pins in a triangular formation at the end of the hallway or against a wall.
  • Walk a reasonable distance away from the pins, aim, and bowl!
  • When the bowling pins are knocked down, model how to right them, retrieve the ball, and return to the starting spot, passing the ball off to the next person to have a turn.


Toddlers will simply enjoy the process of knocking over the pins, so having other rules or keeping score are not really necessary for them. However, if you have older siblings playing or would like to know the rules for when they’re older and wanting to continue this new family tradition, they are as follows:


  • Pick a number of rounds to play, 10 is traditional
  • With each turn, the player gets two tries to knock down all the pins. Each pin knocked down is worth one point.
  • If all the pins are knocked down on the first try, it’s called a Strike and ends the turn. The following two throws count double (as part of the strike score) plus as they would for the next turn
  • If all of the pins are knocked over using both turns then it’s called a Spare and the next one bowl counts double.
  • Whoever has the highest score at the end of the rounds wins.


If the empty water bottles topple over too easily, add just enough water to give them a little more stability.

Add challenges: moving further away from the pins adds to the challenge, as does changing the size of the ball.