Turn your toilet paper rolls into bowling pins with a bit of wrapping paper and glitter. Toddlers can practice rolling the ball toward the target. Older kids can tape the numbers to the pins and practice some math. They can call out the numbers they knocked down and add them, line the numbers in a correct order (and in reverse), and practice hitting a particular number. This activity is a great boredom buster, especially in a winter when most of the playing is happening indoors.
For us this game started with a gloomy winter day, a pile of toilet paper rolls and absolutely no idea what to do with it. It seemed that we’d already done every toilet paper roll craft in the world and kids said, “no, no, no” to my every suggestion. Luckily for us it was just after Christmas and someone remembered that the recycling bin was still filled with discarded wrapping paper. So, we decided to decorate a couple of toilet paper rolls with pretty festive wrapping paper, decorative tape (and glitter!) and see what happens. A few minutes later out of town guests, who were on the way to our house, called, “What are you up to, guys,” they asked conversationally. “We are decorating toilet paper rolls,” we said. “Oh, you don’t have to go all out for us,” they joked. When they came later that day they were pretending to be very disappointed that there was just regular toilet paper in the guest bathroom. They joked that they were expected decorated toilet paper rolls. We totally did it for them the next day decorating their toilet paper with feathers, stickers and balloons. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find any pics and I’m not even that sure we took any.
After we decorated toilet paper rolls, we discovered that we made ten of them, so we decided to call them pins and play some indoor bowling. The wad of pink wrapping paper became our bowling ball. We added a bit of tape to make it more compact.
For even more fun we added the numbers to the pins. There are many different ways to add numbers. You can use number stickers. You can print numbers on the computer, cut them out and glue them to the pins. Today my kids are demonstrating the long way (the fun way). First they drew shapes by tracing shapes from Melissa and Doug Stack and Sort Board. Note how my 3-year old first observed his sister, then tried to do the same thing with some success.
They cut the shapes out. Even my 3-year old enjoyed practicing cutting with real scissors.
Then we painted the numbers with black tempera paint inside their shapes.
When the paint dried we used Scotch tape to attach the numbers to the pins.
There are many ways to play this game.
Toddlers can practice throwing the ball toward the targets.
Or stacking the pins up.
Preschoolers can line the numbers in a correct order (and in reverse), count how many pins they knocked down and call out the numbers that fell. My kids also like to call out the number they are targeting on each round. With older kids you can practice addition. You can add together all the pins knocked down. Or play “how much more to get to 10?” (look at the number on each fallen pin and figure out how much has to be added to it to get to 10)
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