We’ve made lots of cardboard roll crafts over the years. I love them because it reuses the rolls, they’re very easy for small hands to work with, and the ideas are endless. Here’s a simple idea for making your own cardboard roll 10 pin bowling games.

This craft idea is too easy. And you can easily sit down with the kids and paint up the rolls in the morning, and be playing bowling by the afternoon.

We use a soft, rubber handball to play with, but you could use a tennis ball or similar too. The small ball is easy for little hands to control, and just makes the play more fun.

I suggest finding a place you can easily store the rolls, then kids can get them out and stack them for a game whenever they choose.

You will need

10 small cardboard rolls
Resene FX Fluoro in Yellow, Green and Blue
Paintbrush
Bright handball (or small soft ball good for bowling)

What to do

1. Choose 3 different bright colours to paint your cardboard rolls. For this project I went with Resene FX Fluoro in Blue, Green and Yellow for some extra colour pop! Paint your rolls in each colour, washing out your brush really well when you change colours. Because there are 10 rolls, you’ll paint 3 cardboard rolls in 2 different colours, and then your third colour will go on 4 rolls.
Cardboard roll 10 pin bowling

2. Wait until the first coat is dry, and paint a second coat on each. If you want really bright, poppy colours you could even wait and paint a third coat, especially if your kids are enjoying the painting part.

3. Now set up the cardboard rolls in a pyramid shape. Place one cardboard roll down as the front pin. Then place 2 rolls directly behind this, on either side of the front pin. Now place 3 rolls directly behind the 2, one on either side and one in the middle. Finally, place 4 rolls at the back, again one on either end, and the others spaced evenly between the gaps.

Cardboard Roll 10 Pin Bowling Game

How to play

To play 10 pin bowling is really easy, even for very little ones. You can play bowling with 2 – 4 players. Each player gets 2 bowls to see how many pins they can knock over. Create a starting line, between 2 and 5 metres back from the pins (smaller kids can start closer, older kids can bowl from further back).

Each player bowls the handball towards the pins twice, counting how many pins they knock over with 2 bowls. If you knock over all 10 pins with your two bowls, that’s called a Spare. If you knock them over with 1 bowl, that’s called a Strike!

Once one player has bowled twice, restack the pins in the pyramid shape above, for the second player to have their go. Usually we play it that the player who just had their turn, is the person to restack for the next player.

To keep it simple you can just take 2 bowls each, and whoever knocks over the most pins, or gets a strike, wins that round. Then you start again.

Or, you can play a whole set of 5 or 10 games. Each game consists of 2 bowls each still. But you keep adding up your score over all 5 or 10 games. The player with the highest score at the end wins. If you want to play this way, there’s a special way to score Spares and Strikes, check out this site that has an online scoring sheet you can use.

Remember to restack the pins in the pyramid shape after each 2 bowls.

For hundreds more craft ideas, including DIY games, check out our School age: Creative arts section.

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Alayna lives in the Horowhenua with her husband and two beautiful children, where she runs Laynescreative.com. She's a qualified primary school teacher with a passion for visual arts. Alayna's work has featured in print and online publications, you can check out her work on her website.

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