Nearly any local bowling alley has an overstock of bowling pins available for sale, and for a rainy-day or long-summer-with-little-to-entertain-the-kids craft day, bowling pins make an ideal canvas for creativity. Easily painted and able to support glued-on pieces and decorations, bowling pins offer a variety of crafting options.
The traditional shape of a snowman is a smaller head on top of a larger base, just like the shape of a bowling pin. Because the pins are already white, this craft is ideally suited for a simple, short crafting project. If the bowling pin features red stripes, you can choose to paint over them, or let them stay to serve as a scarf for the snowman. Choose different colored buttons or pom poms to glue down the snowman's front for clothes, and glue them into place. If you want the texture as well as color of a snowman, consider gluing fluffy white cotton balls all over the pin. An orange pipe cleaner can serve as a carrot nose, and a rolled piece of construction paper or a cut toilet paper roll can serve as a stovepipe hat.
You can create your family, an entire village or even a taller version of action figures with paint, glue, bowling pins and creativity. Using the same principles as the snowman concept, you can paint and glue nearly any clothing or accessories onto a bowling pin that you can imagine. For small details such as eyes, facial hair or glasses, use a fine-tipped artist's paintbrush or colorful markers. Alternatively, carve facial details with a rotary tool and engraving bit to introduce woodworking skills in a fun way. Add feet and hands with construction paper cutouts. You can glue the feet to the sides of the bottom of the pin, because the paper will not actually support the weight of the pin. You must let the pin hold its own weight and just appear to be resting on the paper feet. The possibilities are endless with the people and characters you can create.
If you've ever wished that you could play a larger version of checkers or get a better look at the details on your chess men, here is your chance. You and your children can decorate your own game pieces by using bowling pins. For checkers, a simple red and black paint job, with some light texturing with the brush, will create ideal pieces. Create small crowns out of construction paper so that you can crown your pieces when you earn kings in the game. Chess pieces are more detailed, but again careful painting and detailed accessories can make all the different. The king and queen need crowns, the bishop a hooked staff, the knight a sword, and so on. Get creative, perhaps creating opposing armies of your favorite television shows or movies. Remember that you will need a larger board on which to play with these pieces.
Homemade Bowling Pins
If you and your kids really enjoy bowling but can't afford to bowl as often as you like, homemade bowling pins can make an ideal alternative to paying to bowl. Get 10 plastic bottles that are the same size, empty and dry. Fill the bottles about one-third of the way with sand, and then decorate the exterior any way you want with paint or construction paper. You can make them look like traditional bowling pins, or create wacky characters to bowl over. The sand will make them slightly more difficult to knock over, but will still enable even a young bowler to knock them down with a kickball or soccer ball.