Turn your toilet paper rolls into bowling pins with a bit of wrapping paper and glitter. Add numbers 1-10 to your pins and it becomes a fun math practice.
Toddlers can practice rolling the ball toward the target and calling out the number of pins they knocked down. Preschoolers can start the game by lining up all the numbers in the correct order (or in reverse order) and practice hitting a particular number.
Kindergartners can take it a step further and add all the pins they knocked down. This activity is a great boredom buster, especially in the winter when most of the playing is happening indoors.
For us, this game started on a gloomy winter day with a pile of toilet paper rolls I’ve been saving for ages. It seemed that we’d already done every toilet paper roll craft in the world and kids said, “no” to my every suggestion.
Then someone remembered that the recycling bin was still filled with discarded wrapping paper from Christmas. So, we decided to decorate a couple of toilet paper rolls and see what happens.
A few minutes after we started decorating 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 replied. When they arrived they were pretending to be disappointed that there was just regular toilet paper in the guest bathroom. Kids loved that! The next time they came, we decorating their toilet paper with feathers, stickers, and even added balloons to the toilet paper holder.
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.
There are many different ways to add numbers to the pins. 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 decided to try to do the same.
They cut the shapes out.
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.
How to play
Toddlers can practice throwing the ball toward the targets.
Or stacking the pins up.
Preschoolers can line the numbers in the correct order (and in the reverse order), 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. Older kids can practice addition by addting (or multiplying) all the pins knocked down (or in pairs).
We also like to play Make Ten by looking at each fallen pin and figuring out how much has to be added to it to make number 10.
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