Ten Pin Bowling

Most children enjoy the world of strikes, spares and splits that is ten pin bowling. This is a true family game that is played from all ages from grandparents right down almost to toddlers. As it is a game that is popular with many teenagers it is also an activity that can help to keep a family together during the teenage years. Teaching young children how to bowl will also help them to develop a social skill that is likely to come in very useful later on.

What You Need

You don't need any of your own equipment to enjoy a game of ten pin bowling. Everyone needs special bowling shoes and a ball, but these are supplied by the alley. Often you will pay a small fee for shoe hire, but in many alleys shoe and ball hire are included in the price of the game.

Ramps and Bumpers

Two facilities that add to the enjoyment of anyone just starting out are ramps and bumpers. Ramps are used by children who are too young to throw a ball. When it is their turn to bowl, they place a ball on the top of the ramp and push it down the ramp to launch it. Bumpers stop misdirected balls from being lost in the gutters running alongside the alley. At more advanced alleys the bumpers are raised just for those that need them and then they automatically retreat at the end of that person's go.

Ball Weight

Balls vary in weight between 6lb and 16lb. I would recommend starting children off with the lightest available ball. You may wish to check with the alley before you go that they have suitable balls for younger children.

Prices and Special Offers

You are likely to find many different pricing structures at your local bowling alley. These include payment for a single game, multiple games and also for a stated time period such as an hour. Taking a family bowling at a peak time can prove expensive so it is likely to pay you to check out special discounts the alley offers.

Alleys often have quiet times when they offer special deals to help fill up the lanes. These can include days of the week when bowling is much cheaper than busy days and cheaper time slots, for example morning and afternoons can be cheaper than evenings.

For regular players you may also find some alleys offering discount cards.

Many alleys run a children's club. A typical time for a club to run is on a Saturday morning. Prices vary, but an example of a Children's Club offer is £5 for two hours worth of bowling. Be warned you do need to get up early though.


Lanes can get very busy, especially at peak times and during children's holidays. Usually all it takes is a phone call to reserve a lane. If you know what time you are likely to arrive then booking in advance can save a lot of waiting around.

It is always best to arrive 10 minutes before your allocated time so that you can sort out balls and shoes.


If you are stuck for ideas for the next birthday party then you could consider booking a tenpin bowling party. Almost all bowling alleys will arrange a party for you. Food is usually included as part of the package, but supervision of the children is likely to be down to you.

Top Tip!

If you hit the middle pin dead centre it is unlikely for all the pins to be knocked down (A strike). Hitting the front pin off centre is likely to bring you much greater success.

Your Views

Posted by:
Anna Wings

Posts: 66


Ten Pin Bowling

My children enjoy ten pin bowling, but I find it quite expensive. I'm interested to know of other parent's experience. Do alleys near you offer discounts for families etc. Even paying for an hour for a family of four works out expensive if you like to go often. I would also like to see more lighter balls available for children. Most of the alleys we have been to only seem to have one or at most two lightweight balls.

complain about this post

Posted: 10/May/07 at 12:43:33

Posted by:

Posts: 52



The alleys near me have different offers. One allows you to play a game for something like £2 on a Monday and a Wednesday. This is only available during term time. So those days are obviously good for playing. Another alley has a children's club on a Saturday morning club. This give children two hours bowling for £5. You can also find off peak deals at some lanes. It can be expensive though.

I agree with your point about the balls. For little ones who no longer wish to use the ramp a six pound ball is certainly heavy enough, but these seem to be few and far between.

complain about this post

Posted: 10/May/07 at 13:29:36

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