Bowling is a fun activity that people of all ages enjoy. But is your 3 year old ready to go bowling?
Yes they are! Plus, bowling helps build their hand-eye coordination, confidence, and social skills.
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But how can you make sure your little one has fun AND stays safe?
In this post, I’ll go over everything you need to know about bowling for 3 year olds.
Can A 3 Year Old Go Bowling?
Yes, 3 year olds can go bowling! Your little one will absolutely enjoy it.
Plus, bowling is really good for toddlers too! Bowling offers many benefits for your child’s physical and social development. Some of these are:
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Teaches Sharing and Taking Turns
Since bowling is a group activity, it presents a great opportunity for your three year old to learn patience and positive social skills.
They’ll need to wait for their turn and share the lane and balls with others.
With gentle guidance from you, bowling can teach young children about taking turns graciously and not getting upset when siblings or friends go first sometimes.
They will also start learning about being humble winners and good losers.
Enhances Hand-Eye Coordination
The bowling motion – aiming for the pins, swinging the ball, and releasing it towards the target – helps promote hand-eye coordination in toddlers.
The process helps toddlers improve their overall body awareness, motor skills, and visual tracking abilities.
They practice controlling the ball’s speed and direction with their hands while visually tracking it – which is great practice for body awareness and coordination.
Builds Confidence and Self-Esteem
If you use bumpers, your baby won’t have to deal with gutter balls.
Being able to consistently watch the ball knock into pins will give your toddler a sense of achievement and pride.
Plus, they’ll be motivated to keep trying to improve!
The satisfaction your child gets from bowling well, even in a small way, does wonders for building their developing confidence and self-esteem.
Tips For Bowling With A 3 Year Old
If you are going to take your toddler bowling, here are some of my best tips to help make it an enjoyable experience for your little one:
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#1 Use Bumpers
I highly recommend placing bumpers in the gutters.
Bumpers prevent the ball from falling into the gutter, allowing your little one to focus on developing proper form instead of just avoiding gutter balls.
And since the bumpers minimize missed throws, your toddler will likely knock down more pins.
This will definitely help build their excitement and confidence in bowling.
#2 Choose A Lightweight Ball
You’ll want to select a ball that is lightweight enough for your 3 year old’s small hands and muscles to control.
A ball that’s about 6-8 pounds is good.
Heavier bowling balls (over 10 pounds) will be too challenging for a toddler to swing and manage.
You can test a few until you find one your munchkin can comfortably lift and swing without straining. And the finger holes need to fit just right too, without being loose.
#3 Keep Games Brief
Toddlers have short attention spans, so limit the bowling games to just a few rounds.
Don’t push them to bowl longer than they are enjoying it.
Once their energy or enthusiasm starts to wane, it’s best to wrap up for the day on a positive note. Trying to prolong the games will only lead to crankiness.
Plus ending on their bowling high point will make them excited to come back and try again soon!
#4 Go During Quieter Times
If this is your toddler’s first time bowling, try to go during less busy times (like weekday mornings) to avoid loud, crowded conditions.
Noisy, bustling bowling alleys on weekend afternoons or Friday nights will likely overstimulate little ones, making it hard for them to focus on bowling.
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Sticking to quieter times means you and your child can bowl at an unhurried pace, take breaks as needed, and not worry about impatiently waiting for lanes.
It’s a more relaxing environment for a 3 year old to learn in.
#5 Focus On Fun
Don’t worry about their points or get competitive.
Instead, offer plenty of encouragement and praise for their efforts, regardless.
Celebrate little wins like their first strike. Brush off gutter balls as part of learning. Keep it light and fun – smiles and laughter are the real “wins.”
Is Bowling Safe For 3 Year Olds?
While there are benefits to introducing toddlers to bowling, there are also some potential safety risks to keep in mind.
Standard bowling balls weigh between 6-16 pounds. Your 3 year old who is just developing coordination and strength, will find it difficult to control a heavy ball.
Trying to lift these could lead to strains or even drops on their feet, resulting in serious injuries.
Aside from that, bowling lanes are oiled and waxed to help the balls glide smoothly. For toddlers who are still getting steady on their feet, these can lead to dangerous falls and tumbles.
So a 3-year-old will likely need close supervision while bowling.