Some of the most enjoyable games that you can play with children are skittle or bowling games. These games work for youth ministry groups, scouting group, holiday clubs, at school, at birthday parties, for your kids and their friends or even with adults. These games are mainly designed to work indoors, but you may be able to adapt them for outdoor play. I will tell you the rules for playing in teams, but it can be played as individuals if you have a smaller group. Equipment needed: bowling pins, lightweight balls or bean bags, tape or string to mark the playing area, pen and paper for scoring and a set of playing cards to divide the children in to two even teams. Note that plastic drinking bottles can be used as a substitute for bowling pins. Try to match up the players according to their ability and don’t be afraid to make changes if necessary. The games can be more fun if prizes are at stake, but try to give some sort of consolation prize to the losing team if you decide to do this. Above all, have fun!
Place between 10 and 20 skittles at both ends of the room and mark the playing area at the halfway point using tape, string etc. The number of skittles you use depends on the size of the room and how many player you have. You need to decide how many players you can call out in to the middle for each round; I would use two or three, but one or four is also possible. Place 1 ball for each player in their defending half and then call out the participating players numbers or names. The kids will try to knock down as many bowling pins in the opposite half as they are able to while defending their own pins. Play for 1 to 2 minutes each round and then score one point for each pin knocked over.
DOWN WITH THE PIN
For this game I like to use three teams, but it can be played with two teams. Place 1 pin for each team at the end of one side of the room – the three teams will sit around the remaining sides. Mark a throwing line around 10 to 14 paces from each skittle and place 1 ball per team on this line. One player will stand or crouch behind their team’s skittle and give back the ball back to the thrower when they miss the target. Call out a number and the children should race to their ball and quickly aim at the pin. The first player to knock down the skittle wins a point for their team. Change the person returning the balls after all the other player have had one turn.
QUICK ON THE DRAW
As per skittle attack, we need two even team sitting on each side of the room and a line marked halfway across the playing area. You need to place 2 pins at each end of the room, this should stand an equal distance from the line you have just marked out. Don’t use 1 skittle as a player could stand in front of it and therefore making it impossible to knock down the target. This is a one-on-one game and the aim is to be the first person to knock over the skittle. But the players have only 1 ball each and if you miss your opponent will have more time to make the strike. Obviously, the players are only allowed in their own half of the playing area, but you can defend your own pin. This is a fast and furious game and you should be able to get in a lot of turns in a short space of time.