Make Your Own Five Pin Bowling Set

Although bowling in one form or another has been been around for thousands of years and can be found throughout the world, five pin bowling is uniquely Canadian and was created by Thomas Ryan in 1909. Ryan had a private club in Toronto that featured standard ten pin bowling, but many of the members complained the game was too strenuous and the ball was too heavy. Ryan whittled down the pins and replaced the heavy balls with lighter balls that could fit in the palm of your hand. New rules were established and five pin bowling was born!

Materials for Making a Five Pin Bowling Set

  • 5 sturdy empty plastic water or soda bottles
  • acrylic paint – 3 colors
  • permanent black marker
  • ball – about the size of a soft-ball
  • chalk (for outdoor) or painter’s tape (for inside)

Directions for Making the Five Pin Bowling Set

To make the pins, remove the labels from 5 identical empty water or soda bottles. We used 500 ml bottles.

Remove their caps. Paint the caps in your color choices as follows: 1 cap color A, 2 caps color B, and 2 caps color C. Note: Choose colors light enough that a black marker will be visible on the top of the cap after it is painted. Let dry.

five pin bowling

Using the black marker, write the number 5 on the A game, the number 3 on the B caps, and the number 2 on the C caps.

five pin bowling

Set Up for the Five Pin Bowling Home Game

Decide where you want to set up the game. If playing outside select a flat surface like a driveway or sidewalk. If setting up the game inside, select a hard surface like a hardwood floor or kitchen tile. A long hallway would be ideal.

Using chalk or painter’s tape, place an Xs on the ground where the pins will be placed. The pins are set up in a V formation. Using chalk or painter’s tape, mark a “foul line”. Players may not cross this line when rolling their balls. Use the skill of the child to determine how far from the pins to make the “foul line”.

five pin bowling

Now, place the pins on their marks with color A in front, color B in the middle, and color C in the back.

five pin bowling

Game Play with Simplified Rules for Five Pin Bowling Home Game

Note: If you want to learn the official rules for five pin bowling, visit Youth Bowl Canada.

The game is played with 1 or more players.

Players get 3 balls each turn to try to knock all the pins down. Each pin has its own value:

A = 5 points

B = 3 points

C = 2 points

In this simplified version, if a player knocks all the balls down with their first ball (a strike), they receive 15 points, the total of all the pins plus 10 points for the strike. Their turn is now over.

If the player knocks down all the balls using 2 balls, a spare, they receive 15 points, plus 5 points for the spare.

If the player did not get a strike or spare, they roll their 3rd ball and add up the points of all the pins they knocked down.

There are 10 rounds per game, and the player with the highest score wins. If playing by yourself, try to improve your score each game.

Note: If children find it too easy to knock over the bottles, move the line back farther, but if you cannot do that, add a bit of water to each bottle to make them heavier.

five pin bowling

five pin bowling

five pin bowling

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