September Toy of the Month: Bowling

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There are many cute bowling sets available from in a variety of styles. However, for a fun DIY project, make your own set! You’ll need the following materials:

● 10 plastic bottles

● A ball

● Decorating materials: Take your pick! (construction paper, glue, stickers, glitter). For an interactive project you can do with your child, drop in a little paint– different colors in each bottle, close the cap, and have your child shake it around until the bottle is coated in color.

How to play with a bowling set:

❏ Use it to work on action words. Explore how your success changes depending on whether you “roll,” “bounce,” “throw,” or “kick” the ball. Your child can direct you with a phrase– “roll the ball” or describe their own actions– “I kicked the ball”.

❏ Talk about shapes as you set the pins up. See how your success changes depending on whether you place them in a “triangle,” “circle,” or “square” shape.

❏ Work on quantity and quality concepts. Predict how many pins you will knock over, then see if you were successful. Use words like “one,” “some,” “most,” or “all” to describe the pins that were knocked down. Predict what color pins you’ll knock over, then label them afterward. Or, if they’re decorated, describe them so the other person knows what you’re aiming for (e.g., I’m going to knock over the purple one with three star stickers).

❏ Use it to work on speech sounds. Print or cut out pictures of items that start with a speech sound your child has trouble with (e.g., /g/). Label the pictures as you place them under each pin, and then label them again as the pins are knocked over and the pictures are revealed.

❏ You can address a variety of gross motor skills by using this bowling set to practice eye-hand coordination, bilateral coordination, and ball skills (e.g. throwing, kicking, catching). Make this activity easier or harder by increasing/decreasing the number of pins, moving the pins closer/further from the child while they are throwing the ball.

❏ If your child benefits from a little bit of heavy work, replace a lighter ball for a weighted one. This extra resistance can help your child’s processing of proprioceptive input to improve self-regulation, attention, and focus.

❏ As mentioned above, creating and decorating, is not only an interactive experience for you and your child, but a great opportunity to practice their fine and visual motor skill development, including: cutting, coloring, writing, and gluing.