Most of us have experienced the fun of visiting the local bowling alley and testing our skills against those pins.
Or trying to win a huge stuffed animal at the ring toss game in a carnival sideshow.
Some of us have even experienced the frustration of hitting a tiny golf ball towards an unseen target.
They are all fun activities, but they cost money and require you to tackle traffic and parking.
Guess what? You can turn your yard into a bowling alley, a sideshow ally or even a mini-golf course. Even a fun fishing lake.
The best part is, it will cost virtually nothing as you can make these games and more using recyclables.
The beauty of these games is they are perfect to entertain the kids – especially during children’s birthday parties.
In fact, if you make them for a party, you have the freedom to design them to fit any theme you need.
CHILDREN’S GAMES – BOWLING
Bowling isn’t a game strictly for children. In fact, none of these children’s games are. But this version of the game is particularly child-friendly.
- 10 x large (1.25 litre) soda or soft drink plastic bottles.
- Ball – you can use a soft plastic ball or even paper scrunched into a ball shape and secured with masking tape.
- Embellishments of choice such as paint.
- Remove any labels on the bottles.
- Remove the bottle lids and clean the bottles and lids thoroughly.
- The easiest way to paint them is to add a little paint (and a touch of water if your paint is thick) to the bottom of each bottle. Replace the cap and shake like crazy so that the paint will coat all of the inside of the bottle. HINT: Kids love to help with this step.
- Remove the lids, pour off any excess paint and allow it to dry (it can take a day or two, depending on weather).
- Replace the lids.
The choice of colour is up to you. You can go traditional and paint them all white. Then just add red electrical tape to the outside to make the ‘pin’ stripes.
Or, you can make them different colours – perhaps to suit a party theme? In the image below you can see I glued some wool to the tops of bottles, drew funny faces and made big ears to call it “Knock down the trolls”. It doesn’t matter that they don’t particularly look like trolls. What does a troll look like anyway? The point is to give the kids the idea and let their imaginations do the rest.
If you feel the bottles are a bit too lightweight, add a little sand to each one.
For a fun nighttime game, skip the paint and place a glow stick inside each bottle.
- A medium-sized plastic ball works perfectly but if you want to play the game indoors, the paper ball is less likely to cause damage.
- Place four of the bowling bottles in a row. Put three more in a row in front of the four. Place two bowling bottles in front of the three and the last one goes in front.
- The players must ROLL the bowl on the ground or floor, aiming towards the bowling bottles. The player who knocks down the most wins.
CHILDREN’S GAMES – RING TOSS
This is one of the great children’s games to promote coordination.
You can make it with a cardboard roll and paper plates. Or use up more plastic and use bottles.
You can even press painted sticks in the ground to make this game.
The Cardboard 1 Post Version
I love the cardboard version of this game as it makes it easy to paint and decorate the posts to suit a party theme. For example, the posts could be stems and the plate rings, flowers. Ask the children to connect the flowers to the stems. Or, put artificial flowers on the top of each roll post and call the game Catch a Flower – perfect for fairy parties.
- 1 x long cardboard roll
- 4 x paper plates – you can use more if you want.
- Paint the roll if you desire, then glue one end to one of the paper plates.
- Cut the smooth centre out of the other plates, creating rings.
- Paint the rings different colours which can then be worth different points.
Each player takes it in turn to use the three plate rings and, standing a certain distance (to be determined by their size and age) from the cardboard roll post, tries to toss them onto the roll post. The winner can be determined by the point value of the coloured rings or just by how many rings they were able to get onto the post.
The Cardboard 5 Post Version
- 5 x cardboard rolls
- 1 x cardboard sheet (like from the side of a carton)
- 5 x paper plates
- Paint the cardboard sheet if desired.
- Paint each roll a different colour.
- Cut the plates as described above.
- Paint each plate ring a corresponding colour to each roll post.
- Glue a post to each corner of the cardboard sheet and the remaining one in the centre.
Players must try to toss the plate rings onto the post with the same colour. The one who gets the most right is the winner.
Painted Stick Version
As far as children’s games go, this one could not get any easier. Paint the sticks however you want. Stick them into the ground. Make the rings from plates, or whatever you want. Be sure to remove the sticks after play so that no one gets injured on them.
Plastic Bottle Version
- 3 – 5 x plastic bottles
- Plastic tubing or paper plates.
- Use the bowling pin method above to paint the bottles.
- When dry, you can add embellishments such as eyes to make faces.
- The paper plate rings will work fine on these, but for something different, use some plastic tube or even old hose and bend it into a circle and secure with tape.
CHILDREN’S GAMES – TARGET GOLF
This one is guaranteed not to be as frustrating as using the fairways and it’s still an excellent activity to improve coordination, focus and aim.
- Cardboard carton – like the kind beer or wine comes in
- Brown paper to cover it – or you can use paint.
- Box cutters
- Coloured paper or tape
- Black marker
- Sticky Tape
- Place the carton on your work table so that the opening is facing down.
- Using the box cutters, cut a few small rectangular ‘doors’ , evenly spaced, at the bottom of one of the long sides of the carton.
- Cover the carton with brown paper (colourful paper may be too distracting) or paint it to get rid of the labelling.
- If using the paper, cut it away from the doors and tape into place.
- Use coloured paper, tape or markers to outline each ‘door’ – the different colours will denote different points and you can write the point value above each ‘door’ with the black marker.
- The ball can be a golf ball (they’re really hard so watch out for little heads) or a small plastic (non-bouncy) ball. Make sure the doors you create are big enough for the balls to slide through.
- The bat can be a broom, a sponge mop, a large stick, or whatever you have on hand.
Determine where each player should hit the ball from and have them use the bat to putt the ball into the holes. The player who gains the most points is the winner.
CHILDREN’S GAMES – KNOCKDOWN CANS
Another sideshow favourite. You can decorate the cans to suit any theme. Paint them green and draw on scary faces for monsters at Halloween. Keep them silver and they become part of the asteroid mass the astronauts must knock down in order to get through.
- 6 x tin cans
- 1 x ball
Stack the tins so that there are three on the bottom, two in the middle and one on top. The player must knock them down by throwing the ball at them. The one who knocks down the most is the winner.
CHILDREN’S GAMES – THE FISHING GAME
I made a small version of this when I created the fairy garden for the Goddesses.
For a party game, a little bigger is better. Depending on a theme you want, this can be a fishing game, a catch the mermaid theme, grab a star, pick a flower – it depends on what, if any, theme you choose to use. I used the fish and called it Rescue a Fish for my fairy party.
You can use different coloured paper to create a point system if you choose.
- A large container (like a crate) to hold the fish
- Thick paper or thin cardboard
- Paper clips
- Use the scissors to cut out shapes such as fish. You will need two shapes to make one fish.
- Use the glue to attach paper clips (you may need more than one depending on the size of your fish) to one of the shapes and then add more glue and cover with the other shape so that the paper clip is inside the fish.
- Tie the string to one end of a stick.
- Attach a magnet to the other end of the string (you can tie or tape this).
The players take turns using the fishing rod to catch as many fish as they can while the others count to ten.
The paper clips will be attracted to the magnets, making it easy to ‘catch’ the fish.
You don’t have to travel to a special venue or spend a lot of money to enjoy fun children’s games that adults love too.
It’s easy to bring the fun of a carnival, the thrill of a bowling alley, the frustration of fairways (can you tell golf isn’t my game?) or the peaceful fishing lake into your yard or even home with these tips.
The best part? You’ll be helping the planet by using creative recycling and reducing consumption.
Follow me on Pinterest for more fun craft ideas.
Happy crafting and have a gleeful week, Tamuria.