Suitable for:

  • 1 or more players
  • Outdoor or indoor area
  • Range of physical literacy: all types
  • Age appropriate: 3-7years

Primary physical literacy skill: hand-eye skills

Make it happen

Set up some skittles and adapt the activity to include other elements of physical activity (the diagram shows a fielder included).

Indoor/outdoor space at least 3 metres or longer

  • Basic game: set up some skittles and roll a ball to try and knock them over (if you don’t have any skittles see Make your equipment suitable below). See Make it a challenge and Make it more energetic
  • If you have two or more children playing then one is the ‘fielder’ and the other tries to knock the skittles down. As shown in the diagram, the fielder waits behind the thrower and rushes out to field it once the ball has been thrown. They return behind the thrower for the next throw.
  • Energy skittles 1: knock all the skittles down then immediately set them all up again at the other end and then knock them all down again. If playing with two children or more then they should work together and different children should roll from each end. Set a timer and see how long it takes to knock them down. Can they beat their time?

Outdoor space approx 7 metres or longer

    • All of the above.
    • Use different ways to knock the skittles down with a ball – rolling, throwing, bouncing, kicking and set the skittles up at different distances to make it harder/easier.
    • Energy skittles 2: If playing with two or more children they can work as a team: one child starts with the ball and throws, rolls, bounces or kicks it in any direction away from the skittles. The other child has to field it and return it to the thrower, who then tries to knock down the skittles. The fielder keeps fetching and returning the ball until all the skittles are knocked down. They try to do this as quickly as possible and then swap over.

  • Ensure that the movement the children are performing is suitable for the space you have available.
  • Having the fielder waiting behind the thrower minimises the risk that they will get in the way or be hit with the object being thrown or by a skittle (also means the fielder does more running).
  • When children are reaching down to pick objects off the ground teach them to reach in from the side in a crouched position with their heads out of the way as if feeding meat to a crocodile.
  • Unless there is a wall or barrier behind the skittles, the object thrown/rolled/bounced/kicked will likely travel further than where the skittles are placed. Consider the area you are using carefully to make sure the activity is appropriate and there is nothing in the vicinity that could cause an obstruction or be damaged.

We provide this list only as a guide of what parents/carers may wish to consider. Please also read our general guidelines on the Parents/Carers Information page.

Expand the headings below for suggestions to make more use of this activity and keep you and your children coming back for more

  • Start a skittle league in the family and play each other (1 point for each skittle knocked down per turn). Decide how many ‘ends’ will make up a match and play matches against each other over the course of a week (3 points for a win, 1 for a draw). Consider setting the skittles up at different distances for each family member to make it fair.
  • Paint numbers or colours or put stickers on different skittles to give them different values. E.g. Did you knock the gold one down? Can you knock all the other skittles down but leave the gold one standing?
  • Put super villain stickers on the skittles and a superhero sticker on the ball(s). How many superheroes does it take to knock down the villains?
  • Leapers theme: We play boomerang skittles with Bungee; instead of using a boomerang though, we pretend the fielder returning the ball to us is the boomerang coming back.

Please also read our general guidelines on the Parents/Carers Information page.

  • Set a timer to see how long it takes to knock them all down – can they beat their own time?
  • How many times can they knock them all down in 2 minutes?
  • Make it competitive by seeing if children can beat each other’s scores.
  • If playing with two or more children they can race each other. Both have a set of skittles and have to field their own balls and return it to the starting point after each attempt. The first to knock them all down is the winner.

Please also read our general guidelines on the Parents/Carers Information page.

  • Always make sure whatever equipment you are using is safe and appropriate for that use.
  • Instead of skittles you could use large or small empty plastic bottles.
  • If you have marker saucers you can set them up with tennis balls on top. Try and knock the tennis balls off.
  • If you don’t have objects to roll, throw, bounce or kick at the skittles such as tennis balls, sponge balls, bean bags, football, etc, you can use rolled up balls of paper secured with sticky tape.

Please also read our general guidelines on the Parents/Carers Information page.

  • Make each thrower perform a set of exercises in-between each throw. Some ideas: star-jumps, two footed jumps backwards and forwards over a line, running on the spot for 20 seconds, lying on tummy and jumping in to the air 3 times.

Please also read our general guidelines on the Parents/Carers Information page.

Use of the resources

This move to improve resource is provided as a guideline only for parents and carers who wish to supervise physical activities for their children. Users of this resource have a duty of care to ensure the safety of their participants. We do not endorse the use of any content in this resource that a user feels may present a risk to the safety or well being of the children in their care.