Knock ‘Em Down: Indoor, At-Home Bowling

  by Erik Wolgemuth

A wise Dr. once wrote about a day where, “The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house all that cold, cold, wet day.”(1)

Chances are, you’ve read that one just a time or two, and you’ve experienced it more thoroughly (see: Winter). Days cooped inside can be trying. Somehow the collective appeal of all toys, games and activities vanishes instantaneously. Your choices at this point are: 1. Boredom; 2. Cabin fever/insanity; or 3. New indoor activity.

Option #3 is an excellent choice given the alternatives, and you’ve no doubt got the supplies on-hand to pull off an enjoyable round of indoor bowling. In the absence of gutters, bumpers and wood floors that can somehow withstand the hurling of a weighted ball at various trajectories, when it comes to ball selection you need to think “light,” “soft” and “spongy” (for example). And your pins should call to mind similar adjectives. Pins can be, however, harder to come by…so in a pinch, plastic cups will do.

Now anyone can find a nice straightaway, set up the standard ten-pin and fire away, and — for a round or two — this isn’t a bad starting point. But going forward, you want to envision a delightful mash-up with mini-golf. Angles, ramps, tunnels, obstacles, staircases can and should be a part of the bowling lane. And don’t simply go with the standard bowler approach for long —  blindfolded, between the legs, dizzy, and on piggyback are all good options. And, like the uphill 524-yard dogleg left par 5, some rounds will require more than the stingy two-ball policy.

You’ll only need to come up with a few unique lane designs before your bowlers are eager to create their own and no longer bemoaning a day indoors.

(1) The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss. Random House, 1957. Page 1


Bowling lanes aren’t the only indoor ad hoc creations that you can tackle – check out this post on obstacle courses.

Picture by Benjamin Faust; Used via Unsplash license. Amazon links are affiliate links.