Parents, ever find yourselves faced with a bored kid, no plans, and zero ideas? Ummmmm... I do. All the time, actually. To help myself (and you) avoid this potentially terrifying situation in the future, I've resolved to start keeping track of the activities (only the successful ones) we've tried as a family and post them here each weekend with some quick pros and cons so you can decide if the same activity might work for you. First up, bumper bowling!
1. Amusing for almost all ages.
2. Reinforces taking turns or (as illustrated below) teamwork.
3. Kid-friendly food and drink available at the venue, but not a required expenditure.
4. Can't be mastered quickly, requires practice and perseverance to get better.
5. Great for multifamily get-togethers.
6. Once the general ground rules have been established (don't cross the line, bother the other bowlers, or smash your fingers, basically), potential for adult conversation while the kids play.
7. Relatively inexpensive.
1. "Extras" can get a little spendy (e.g. video games, food, etc.).
2. Potentially grungy and/or smokey - be sure to check the venue's indoor smoking policy ahead of time.
3. Tricky for non-walking siblings - be sure to bring a containment device for anyone under 12 mos.
4. Potential for long waits if you go on a busy night - leagues and birthday parties are your enemies. Call the venue in advance to see if there are lanes available.
Be sure to let the staff know you want the bumpers up for the kids in advance to avoid gutterball-induced frustration. You may want to bowl with them too - you'll be amazed what they'll do for your score!