At What Age Can A Child Start Bowling?


Baby with Bowling ball

How young is too young to bowl and other tips for bowling with your child.

Bowling is a fun and exciting way to spend your free time but bowling with your children can turn a boring weekend into a family fun adventure. If you have children, nieces or nephews or even grandchildren you’d like to take bowling, you may ask, “How young is too young to bowl?”.

We’ve pooled together all the information and tips for bowling with your child; from what age they should start to how to prepare your little one for the big leagues and everything in between.

At What Age Can a Child Start Bowling?

If you’ve been interested in spending some time bowling with your children, you may be wondering at what age can a child start bowling. Most bowling lanes and experts concur that a child can begin bowling at the age of 3, in some cases 2 years-old, if the child is strong enough to lift a 6-pound bowling ball.

From the mommy-blog “Casual Claire”, this mother explains how delightful an experience she had taking her toddler bowling with their family. From the sights, sounds and lights, most young children are extremely intrigued by the atmosphere and enjoy rolling the ball and knocking down the pins.

Special Equipment When Bowling with Your Children

Depending on their ages, you may need special equipment when bowling with your children. Generally speaking, if your child is over the age of 8, you won’t need to ask for any special equipment when bowling with your children. However, if you have younger children, you can contact the bowling center ahead of time to arrange for any of the following:

  • Light weight bowling balls: Bowling balls may not be considered special equipment, but younger children will need 6-pound bowling balls. Call ahead or ask the bowling center for help in locating this weight of bowling ball.
  • Bowling bumpers: Bowling bumpers are special equipment used to keep the bowling ball from going into the gutter. You can call your bowling center in advance to reserve a lane and have it prepared with bumpers. On a less busy day, you will likely be able to obtain bumpers once you arrive at the facility.
  • Bowling ramps: Bowling ramps are special pieces of equipment usually used for persons with disabilities who are unable to lift or hold a bowling ball as it is intended. Bowling ramps allow a bowler to place the ball at the top of the ramp (you can do this when bowling with your children if they are too young to lift the ball themselves) aim the ramp toward the pins and simply push the ball. The ramp helps the ball gain speed so that it makes it down the lane to strike the pins.
  • Bowling shoes for children: Most bowling centers require that all people wear bowling shoes to protect their lanes and for the safety of the bowlers. But when you are bowling with your children, especially toddlers, they may not have bowling shoes to fit. Most bowling centers have rental shoes as small as a size 5 in toddlers. If your child wears a smaller size, they can wear their street shoes. However, you need to be sure the shoes have clean soles and there is nothing sticky or sharp in the tread of the shoes.
Bowling keeps children active and healthy.

Bowling Is Good for Children

Any exercise is good for a child’s developing body. But did you realize that bowling is a great activity and good for children? Not only is it great exercise, it cures boredom, is fantastic for those wild-child personalities whom can destroy your house in 5 minutes flat and is a great idea for birthday parties and family outings.

When bowling with your children, know that they are developing strength and muscle tone in their arms when lifting and releasing (or pushing) the ball down the alley. In addition, bowling develops great hand-eye coordination as your child learns to line up the ball with the pins. Older children learn to use the markings on the lanes to line up their throw.

Another way bowling is good for children is that it teaches balance. When a younger child bowls, it requires balance just pushing the ball down the lane but with older children, they learn the traditional throw, with one leg behind the other, helping them to balance and control their bodies.

Finally, bowling with children teaches them good sportsmanship without aggression. Bowling may be a loud and exciting sport, but in sharing a lane with opponents, keeping score together, and seeing up-close, how many pins are getting knocked over, they learn to cheer and support their teammates and opponents.

Serious Young Bowlers

Once you have begun bowling with your children, it may just spark a love of the game in some youngsters. Many bowling centers offer leagues for serious young bowlers as well as fun activities for children year-round. Just Google “bowling with kids” and offers and activities galore pop up. From free summer bowling programs and leagues to coupons for family outings and free games.

To show how easy it is to teach your young child to bowl, Parker Bohn III, a member of the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) Hall of Fame, a 35-time PBA Tour title winner, and father of 5, talks about how he taught his young son to bowl in this article on Fartherly.

“Bohn started bowling when he was 8 and introduced his own kids to the game as soon as they could get up on 2 legs. ‘They can start as little as 1 or 2,’ he says. ‘If they can figure out how to push the ball down the lane, in the end that’s all they care about.’”

Family Fun Bowling with Your Children

Whether you decide to take your children to the lanes for a day or you would like them to try a sport you think they will love, you will most certainly have family fun bowling with your children. It’s also a great activity for aunts, uncles, older siblings and grandparents to enjoy together as well as an exciting activity that won’t break the bank.

How Do I Choose a Bowling Ball for My Child?

If your child is showing interest in bowling on a regular basis or even joining a junior bowling league, investing in their own bowling ball is a great idea. Not only will it give them a piece of equipment that they will love, it will be the correct weight and the finger holes custom drilled for a perfect fit. You can buy a bowling ball at your local bowling center’s pro shop or you can find great deals on bowling balls for your child online.

Are Bowling Shoes Really That Important?

Yes, bowling shoes are very important, especially if your child is bowling as a hobby or in a junior league. Bowling shoes are made to protect the bowler from injury, allow the bowler to slide while throwing and protects the bowling lane surface from dirt, scratches and sticky substances. You can find bowling shoes for children at the bowling center pro shop or you can find a wide selection of affordable (and cute) bowling shoes online.

Is There Anything I should Teach My Child About Bowling Safety?

Absolutely! As with any sport or activity, there are rules that should be followed for bowling safety. From keeping food and drinks away from your bowling lane to teaching your child the proper way to pick up a bowling ball, it’s important to teach your child these things to keep them safe and help them to enjoy the sport.

Do You Enjoy Bowling with Your Children?

Do you have a granddaughter who can throw a strike at the age of 8? Does your family go bowling every weekend? If you enjoy bowling with your children, grandchildren, siblings or mom’s group, why not share your experiences with us! We would love to hear about your favorite family-friendly bowling centers, tips, tricks and deals. Leave us a comment to keep the conversation going.

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