Game Overview

Play Area

The teacher will select or create a line that will serve as the bowling line for all pairs. One this line is determined, the teacher will set up cones along the line to mark each pair’s playing area. Once the playing areas are determined, pairs then set up their six pin markers (e.g. tape) and pins about 6m (20’) from the bowling line. The teacher then provides each pair with a ball and the B-O-W-L Challenge Cards.


The class will be divided into pairs or small teams (e.g. three players).


The goal of the game is to force your partner into earning all four letters of B-O-W-L.


In B-O-W-L, partners challenge each other to a classic game of “I bet you can’t do this!”

Using the “B-O-W-L Challenge Cards”, partners set up the bowling pins in different formations. With one partner starting as the lead bowler, partners attempt to knock down all of the pins in a single attempt. If they do so, it is up to their partner to do the same.

If a partner can’t match the shot, then that partner earns a letter of the word “BOWL”.

The first player to earn all four letters of the word “BOWL” concedes the game to their partner!

Learning Targets

Game Builds

Build One: Six-Pin Bowling

In build one, we’re going to set up for some 6-pin bowling!

First off, we will need to set up the pin markers. To do this, you will need something that can act as a marker on the floor like some tape or some coins. You’re going to set up the markers in a 1-2-3 triangular formation. If you can, number the markers from 1-6 like you see in the video. For the challenge level that will take place later on, you’ll want to make sure the markers are properly distanced from each other. Each marker in a row should be 4.5” apart (you can measure this with a toilet paper roll) and there should be 9” (or two toilet paper rolls) between markers 1 and 5. Then – using tape, a belt, or a cord – set a foul line that is 10 feet away from the headpin.

Once the markers are all set, you’re ready to set your pins! Ideally, you would set up 6 identical bowling pins on the pin markers you set up. That being said, if you’re at home and don’t have access to bowling pins, you can always use empty toilet paper rolls, markers, water bottles, or anything else you can find around the house. Once the pins are set, you will need a ball to bowl with.

Standing behind the foul line, bowl the ball and try to knock over all of the pins. Don’t worry if you miss or get a spare, just see how many attempts it takes to get all of the pins down, making sure to remove any knocked-over pins after each attempt.

Build Two: B-O-W-L Challenge Cards

In build two, we’re going to explore a few different pin setups!

Your teacher will provide you and your partner with the B-O-W-L Challenge Cards. If you’re at home and don’t have a printer, you can use a set of playing cards. Just pull the 2-3-4 cards from each suit and use the BOWL Challenge Cards PDF as your reference key (each card in the document has been assigned a playing card.)

Once you are ready, shuffle the playing cards deck and pick a card. Your challenge is to set up the pins as you see them on that card and start bowling until you successfully knock over all of those pins in one attempt.

Once you have done so, pick your next card and keeping bowling!

Build Three: B-O-W-L

In build three, we’re ready to challenge a friend!

To start the round, challenge your partner to a round of Rock Paper Scissors. Whoever wins will start as the lead bowler.

The lead bowler then draws a BOWL Challenge Card. Their partner is responsible for setting up the pins in the formation displayed on the card. Once the pins are set up, the lead bowler shuffles the challenge card back into the deck. The lead bowler then has three attempts to knock over all of the pins in a single bowl. If they miss, or if they get a spare, their partner has to reset the pins and get the ball after each attempt.

If the lead bowler successfully knocks over all of the pins, their opponent now has three attempts to do the same. If they do so, the lead bowler picks a new card and the players go back through this process. If the opponent does not knock over the pins within their three attempts, that player earns a “B”. It is still the lead bowler’s turn to pick a card and bowl. If the lead bowler fails to knock over the pins, their opponent becomes the lead and gets to draw a new card.

Play continues until one player earns all four letters of the word BOWL. When they do, their opponent wins the round!

Safety Considerations

Students must bowl the ball along the floor and not throw it.

Players must never run across a playing area.

The game should be played with a ball that is appropriate for the playing area (i.e. that won’t damage the floor)

Equipment Requirements

  • Bowling Pins
  • Tennis Ball
  • Pin Markers (e.g. Tape)
  • B-O-W-L Challenge Cards (included in Game Sheet download)

More Games


Beanbag Bocce

View Game


View Game