Strike! Bowling with kids.

by Brenda When my kids were younger, I would often long for the day when we would be able to do "older" activities. Now that they are 7 and 4, we are starting to explore some big kid outings and recently tried bowling. The kids liked it so much that it seems to have become somewhat of a monthly occurrence. I’m not sure what it is, but the whole concept of bowling is so much fun for kids. The funky shoes, the huge scale of everything, the mechanics, it’s all so different.

If the bowling alley also does the black lights and dance music thing, that brings the fun to a whole other level. Is there anything cooler than black lights?

One thing we’ve learned the hard way is to be there early. Bowling is a very popular destination for Birthday Parties, which often brings crowds and chaos.

We generally go to the Merivale Bowling Centre and the trick for us is to get there when it first opens on a Saturday or Sunday. In fact we went this past weekend and we were practically the only ones there. Less distraction for the kids and less wrangling for us, means more fun for all.

A great addition (which I don’t recall having when we were kids!) are the bumpers used on the lanes when kids are playing. This eliminates discouraging gutter balls virtually guaranteeing some pins are always knocked down. The bumpers are also helpful for parents who may be a bit rusty.

The computerized scoring on the big screens is another source of fun. Our seven-year old loves to take control and setup the matches. Typing our names into the scoring system is the educational part of the event, made even more fun when we use the names of our Star Wars alter egos. This always causes fits of giggles for our kids and blank stares from anyone else looking at our scoreboard.

The other nice thing about bowling, is that it is a relatively inexpensive outing.  For example, for the four of us to play one game, including shoe rental, the total was $28. Not cheap but not expensive so long as you can avoid the lure of the arcade afterwards! 

So my tips for going bowling for the first time are:

1. Go when the bowling centre first opens - fewer crowds, more fun 2. Make sure the bumpers are up for your lane. 3. Quite while you are ahead, most young kids will only have the attention span for one game 4. Don't forget to bring socks for everyone!

Most importantly have fun!!

Brenda is a stay-at-home mom to a 7 yr old Jedi wannabe and 4 yr old little miss.  You can occasionally find her blogging at