Whether you're doing an official "Camp Mom" or just have a houseful of bored kids needing summertime recreation, talk to the proprietor of your local bowling alley about putting together an unofficial bowling league for your group.
Time Required: An hour or so every week
- Assemble your bowlers. Four bowlers is a good minimum number for getting your mini-league going. Take stock of whatever special needs the bowlers have that will need to be accommodated. Do they need special equipment? Bumpers? A lane in the corner where they won't bug other bowlers?
- Contact the managers of local bowling alleys. Ask what days in the summer would be best for your group to come by -- you don't want to be there when a day-camp group is hogging every lane, or when the senior-citizen league might be bothered by a lane or two of noisy kids. Ideally, you'll find a morning or afternoon when the alley is mostly empty and eager for bowlers.
- See if you can get a deal. Since your group will be coming reliably every week, you may be able to get a price break -- especially if your group can bowl when the alley's business is slowest. Ask if you can also arrange for an end-of-summer pizza party and trophy-giving, whether you pay for those items or it's part of the package.
- Request needed accommodations. While you're discussing arrangements with the bowling-alley manager, ask about things you may need for your special-needs group -- a bowling-ball ramp for a child with a physical disability, bumpers for kids who may be older than normal bumper age, two lanes for a small group so that short attention spans aren't overly challenged. Get the name of the person who's promising you this in case there's a problem when you actually do show up.
- Keep score ... or not. Some kids will enjoy playing in teams and keeping score. Others will prefer to just have fun and not worry about who's doing well. Take your cue from your young players and what will be the most motivating for them.
- Stick with it. If you've made a commitment to bowl once a week for a particular range of time, don't drop out. On days when kids seem less enthusiastic about playing, throw in some variations, like having the adults play too, or mixing up teams, or doing laser-bowling-type tricks like bowling backwards or having two players thrown one ball each for a turn. Short-term prizes for things like highest and lowest scores may also keep things going.
What You Need
- Trophies to give all kids at end of summer
- Small prizes as needed for weekly play
- Socks -- don't forget them for wearing with bowling shoes!