Bowling is a great activity to get siblings together. Even if they don't know everybody, they can play in teams and have fun!
Why bowling birthday party?
Bowling parties are fairly cheap because you don't need too many supplies to get started. But most importantly: it's a perfect group activity for a birthday party with a big age range! You can make it very casual or go all out with crazy accessories, decor, and costumes. Bowling birthday party games & ice-breakers for kids.
Bowling is an easy way to keep guests entertained - especially for little ones who might find it harder at other kinds of parties. Here are some fun ideas for how to organize your own bowling birthday party.
Bowling party history
The invention of the bowling ball dates back over 2700 years ago in ancient Egypt, where wooden balls were originally used in recreation. At this time, elm tree branches were shaved down into a stick. The stick was then painted and used as a target in an early form of bowling.
Later, Egyptians started using stones instead, attaching them to short handles made from wood or palm fronds. In 1130 A.D., King Henry II outlawed bowling for everyone except the British, thus making it a "British" pastime. Nowadays, it's one of the most popular sports worldwide!
You don't have to stick to a particular theme, but you can use accessories and costumes to add a fun touch. For example:
- Pin bowling party for kids with paper clothespins! Combine it with food that goes well with pinatas, such as lollipops and mini churros.
- Bowling birthday party games & icebreakers for kids - play bowling ball catch! Use a bright hoodie to be the basket itself.
- Give each guest an inflatable bowling pin to start off the game. You'll only need 5-10 pins so you can get them from Amazon or eBay, often second-hand! But if you want to get creative, here's how to make your own inflatable bowling pins!
Invitation cards for bowling parties
You can go all out with your invitations and send your guests a cactus pin that they can use to mark their scores. The bigger the group, the easier it gets to print them yourself. Make sure to mention fun games and prizes you're looking forward to.
If you want to style them yourself, there are lots of ideas for birthday invitations online. For example: make tiny bowling pins from felt, or create an invitation as a colorful alley sign (like this one)! You can also print mini tickets if you want everybody to pay.
There are lots of great DIY projects for details like food labels and thank-you cards as well. You can try to make, for example, mini-bowling balls or pins to match your invitation card. You can even make a miniature bowling pin cake and place it on top of the cupcakes!
You'll need a bowling alley, probably with a party room. If you don't have one in your area, try looking up local sports centers or leisure centers. You should also ask about prices and what's included if you plan on having a big group. Bowling ball, shoes, uniform (bowling shirt) for all participants. The more the merrier - but it might be tricky to get 10 matching shirts. A bunch of interesting mini prizes – think tiny toy cars or stickers!
An hour-and-a-half is usually time for a bowling birthday party. The party room will probably have a bar where you can get soft drinks and snacks to keep the group happy. Some bowling alleys also offer cakes and platters for a small fee.
Arrange a few pinatas on one end of the lane to create a casual atmosphere. You can also hang up some bright party lights and balloons. Or print a few birthday banners and streamers, which you can easily set up with tape. Ask guests to come in comfortable clothes - it might be dress-up time later!
Party games & icebreakers for kids
First, divide all your guests into two teams. Then make sure everyone knows how to play bowling ball catch: One team throws six balls from one end of the lane, as the other team tries to catch them all. It might help to count out loud: "One, two, three, four, five, six" as each ball is thrown.
Then, if you have an even number of guests, divide the teams in half again so that there are two on each side. This time, they'll keep throwing balls to their own team members - who need to catch them with one hand. (Most people tend to catch with both hands at first). You can also play this game for older kids or adults with 2 children per lane!
After that, it's play bowling ball catch again, but the aim this time is for your team to throw their six balls through a hula hoop (or not!). The other team tries to prevent them by covering up the hula hoop with one hand. Let everyone go head-to-head with the hoops - it's super fun!
The next game is very simple: play bowling ball catch with underarm throws. This time, one player will stand on each side of the lane and throw six balls at once. Each player then walks up to their own pins, picks them up one by one, and returns to their team's end of the lane. The aim is just to see who can get back first!
After that everyone has played bowling ball catch, it's time for pin bowling to finish off your bowling birthday party games & icebreakers for kids. Let every guest have a turn rolling down all ten pins so you can give out some prizes or extra cheers when they manage it!
Bowling party food
Let guests pick their own food with a buffet table. A few ideas are:
- Fruit kebabs with chewy sweets, such as Jelly Tots or Jaw Breakers, along with grapes and pineapple. You can find all kinds of edible party decorations to make your food interesting.
- Pizza slices are fairly cheap to buy in bulk for a group - but there's no reason why you can't DIY this too! Here's how to make pizza bagels that everyone will love. Just remember to ask guests not to eat them before the bowling starts, since they might get messy!
- Mini churros is another fun idea. They're often sold at bowling birthday parties, so it's easy to prepare your own (or you can buy them ).
- Cake pops are ideal for any party, whether it's a bowling birthday or not! Here's how to make cake pops step by step.
Bowling birthday party favors
If your guests have all had lots of fun at your bowling birthday party games & icebreakers, think about giving them a small present that will remind them of their time with you. You could give everyone an Underarm Bowling Ball marker pen so they can always remember which hand to use - and have some cool pens ready for next time too!
You could also try buying mini lightsaber sticks before the start of the party, so kids can duel during Pin Bowling. Most people love this game, and it's hilarious to watch!
Keep shoes organized and don`t forget about socks
When you arrange your bowling birthday party, it helps to know where everything is. That's why we suggest organizing the shoes and having all the socks ready in their correct sizes before your party starts.
When you need to organize a shoe rental system, there are plenty of ways to do it: for example, you could set up a table or box to put each person's shoes into when they arrive - then label them with the person's name using stickers or tags.
You might also want to take photos of people wearing their rented bowling shoes, so everyone knows which pairs are theirs again later. If you're hiring shoes rather than buying your own secondhand, make sure they fit properly too - not only will this reduce the chances of injuries, but it also means your guests will enjoy their bowling more! Have all socks ready.
When you're hosting a bowling birthday party, make sure you've got enough socks for everyone to wear during the game. You can ask people to bring their own (if they have any), or buy white sports socks cheaply in bulk. These are great fun for everyone - and if they get dirty after Pin Bowling, no one will mind!
Bowling birthday party entertainment & songs
A few extra ideas that might help you organize your bowling birthday party games & icebreakers include:
- Makeup lyrics to songs that relate to the party's theme, such as Let It Go from Disney's Frozen! Your kid`s friends will love singing along, and it'll get everyone into a party mood.
- Bowling birthday party songs are some of the best around - especially if your child is a fan of classic rock music! Try listening to some online, then sing them with your friends before the games start.
- Show off your dance moves in the bowling alley's arcade area. You can host your own 5 minutes Dance-Off like in Nickelodeon's Figure It Out TV show (which was great fun)! Your kid`s friends will love seeing who has got what it takes to win.
What about the gift?
Once your bowling birthday party games & icebreakers are over, it's time to get the prize ready for the birthday boy or girl. If you've got a small budget, try giving them a bubble machine. It's not only great fun at any party - but being able to create bubbles will remind everyone of all the fun they had!
If your pocket is feeling even more generous, why not get a whole new toy? You could also buy some new clothes that match with the event theme - just be sure they're in child sizes so everyone enjoys trying them on during their turn on the podium!
Finally, don`t forget to take lots of photos during your bowling birthday party games & icebreakers so you have memories to cherish forever. This is also a great idea if you're not planning to do a professional photoshoot later on - everyone will feel much safer when you bring out the camera!
Remember about goodie bags
When you've finished hosting your bowling birthday party, it's time to give everyone a goodie bag - and remember the golden rule: the more stuff inside, the better! This means that small toys like ring pops are super cheap, but also great fun. You could also include candy necklaces if they match your kid`s tastes.
What can you put in goodie bags?
If you want to put more than just candy in your bowling birthday party goodie bags, there are plenty of other options. Here are some ideas:
- Bubble machine: great for blowing bubbles during the game's finale!
- A photo of everyone who attended, so people can remember the fun they had at the party.
- Stick face tattoos are really cheap if you buy them online - plus each one is unique, so they're worth having even if children taker them off after half an hour or so!
After all that hard work planning your bowling birthday party, now it's time for everyone else to have a blast playing Pin Bowling with their friends!
Where to shop?
Once you've arranged your bowling birthday party, it's time to get the shopping list ready! Here are some of our favorite places, with discount codes too (just search online for them!) - remember these great shops if you're planning any other kids' parties soon:
- Amazon (for cake plates, candy necklaces, bubble machines, and lightsabers)
- Smyths Toys (for smaller prizes like ring pops and mini pool cues)
- Asda (for white socks in bulk - though do double check sizes first!)