Human Bowling

1 December 2008 — Leave a comment

This is a simple adaptation of 10 pin bowling which is very easy to play, but a fun way of involving everyone in a group.

Numbers: groups of 11 or over (10 to act as pins and 1 to bowl).
Suitable for: anyone.
Preparation time: none.
Venue: any open space or hall.
Safety First: Despite having large exercise balls thrown at each other, this is quite a gentle game. Watch out for people accidently diving into each other.
Equipment needed:

  • Tape to mark the floor
  • A couple of exercise balls

The game:
Using the tape, mark out a bowling alley on the floor. It is most important to mark the line where people bowl from and the places where the ten pins should go (usually in a 1,2,3,4, triangular formation). If you have a large group, you may want to make two or three lanes (depending on space).

Next, choose a group of 10 to act as the pins. They must go and stand on the spots marked out and are not allowed to move. You are now ready to bowl! Using a large exercise ball, the bowler must throw or push the ball down the alley in an attempt to hit as many pins as possible. Obviously the ball is unlikely to knock the human pins over, so instead the people acting as pins must make a dramatic dive to the floor if the ball touches them! This makes the game a bit more fun for the people acting as pins and the game a little less predictable. It may be a good idea to have an umpire or referee watching to see which pins the ball actually hits!

Write down the score of the bowler and then swap them with one of the pins to let the next person have a go. By rotating everyone after each go, they will all get a chance to play in each position!

Once everyone has had a bowl (or two) either announce the winners or have a re-match with the top scorers.


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I am a qualified youth worker, writer and consultant based in Littlehampton, UK. I've worked in the voluntary youth sector for over 12 years, am married to Kirsty and we have two daughters named Hope and Eloise. Check out 'Journeying Together: Growing Youth Work and Youth Workers in Local Communities' and read my opening chapter.

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