Bowling Alley Dramatic Play
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Ready, set, bowl! Your little learners are going to love a bowling alley dramatic play area! It is perfect for a sports theme or ball study. I love to do this bowling alley dramatic play in my preschool classroom to help students develop ball skills and add gross motor into the classroom! Keep reading to take a tour of my bowling alley dramatic play center! Check out this YouTube video for a live tour of my bowling alley dramatic play.
Grab all the bowling alley printables here. Check out more sports printables like the STEM I Can Build cards Sports Edition, Sports Math & Literacy Centers, & Little Learners Science All About Force & Motion.
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The main area you are going to need for a bowling alley area is your bowling lanes! I placed some tape on the floor to create the lanes and used pool noodles to make the bumpers. I created the backdrop with a trifold cardboard display board and added the printables from the bowling alley unit. You can pick the number of pins you want to be set out for your young children, 12 or 6 and what math concept you want to put on the pins based on your students’ needs.
Number bowling is one of the ways that we play in my preschool classroom. The students have to match the number on the pin to the number on the floor when setting up their pins again. This is a great way for students to practice problem-solving skills and number identification.
Preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten students may benefit from playing shape bowling! Students must identify and match the shape on the pin to the shape card on the floor when setting up the pins to bowl again. Changing the pin labels is a fantastic way to change academic skills and the problem solving skills that students can work on.
Coloring bowling is another option that may be just the skill that your students need to practice. In this picture, they are matching the color word to the color picture when setting up the pins for another round of bowling.
The scoreboard is the perfect place to sneak in math to your dramatic play area. There is a number line at the bottom for students to use to help them write the numbers. And if you have three year old’s, still put it out because scribbling/mock writing is important too.
Use your standard dramatic play stand to create a bowling stand. You can find all the printables in the bowling alley dramatic play bundle. There is a printable to create a food stand for money and counting practice. As well as printables for some bowling accessories. Lastly, a printable sign to pay for your bowling games.
The bowling shelf in the dramatic play area has one half with bowling supplies for the attendant to give to the bowler and the other half is the snack shop. The drink machine is a cardboard box that has been painted and a cup is glued to the top for the dispenser.
Use the bowling alley printable to complete your check-in area. Students can use a cash register and fake money to practice counting and money recognition. There is also a printable that doesn’t have the prices listed, so you can customize it.
Bowling shoes are a great addition to practice putting on shoes independently. Grab some of your own or ask families for extra pairs. Students must put the shoes back in number order; so sneaking in more math skills.
Add a cleaning station with empty bottles since squeezing will help strengthen the hand and wrist muscles. Students can clean the shoes, bowling balls, check-in station, or the snack area.
I taped some numbers to the bowling balls so students practice number recognition and counting while playing the bowling game. When they are done bowling, they have to put the balls in number order for the next person. The balls are sitting on a cardboard box that has circles cut in it for them to sit in.
Lunch boxes work great for a bowling bag! Use some old ones from your stash or ask families to lend some of theirs.
The snack shop is just my kitchen area with some new props. I make sure to have all the props that my menu and receipt show. If you don’t have a toy version, just make it with felt pieces, air dry clay, model magic, or pipe cleaners.
There is a snack order form printable that can complete your snack shop area. These preschool-friendly receipts feature a number line and pictures with the words. This makes them suitable for a wide range of ages. Interacting with classmates in the dramatic play area is a great way to improve social skills.
To make the popcorn have students cut/make popcorn for small group, table time, and morning activity. It is just a box students painted and we reuse it all the time for various dramatic play set ups. The popcorn is small squares of yellow paper that are crumbled up. You could also use yellow pom poms, tissue paper squares, or balls of yarn. I add in a scoop and students can fill a paper bag for their customers.
The pizza is made of pieces of felt. The cups are filled with cotton balls for ice cubes and then pretend liquid. Add in tweezers for the students to get the ice cubes and build fine motor muscles. The students can make the pretzels out of air dry clay, model magic, or pipe cleaners if you don’t have any toy ones.
For the arcade, put in free play games for fine motor/hand-eye coordination or students can make mazes with legos. Students can also play other small games you have in your classroom. The arcade is optional and not necessary to have a successful bowling alley.
Now that you have seen my bowling alley dramatic play, grab your planner and get those creative juices flowing to create your own new bowling alley pretend play area! There are so many fun activities that you can do with a sports theme to practice math and literacy skills. Grab all the printables and detailed directions for the bowling alley dramatic play here. Be sure to check out my other dramatic play themes to create a print-rich environment in your preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten classroom!
Check out the sports blog post for more ideas for a sports theme or ball unit.
Find some science activities all about force and motion here.
Check out the Pocket of Preschool YouTube channel for over 200 videos!
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hey, i’m jackie!
I’m Jackie, your go-to girl for early childhood inspiration and research-based curriculum.