Kids Sports: Rules of Bowling

The rules of bowling can seem confusing at first, especially to children, but with time and practice bowling can be a fun game and hobby. Bowling has been around for thousands of years, with bowling equipment being found in the tomb of an Egyptian king who died in 5200 B.C. Basic rules require an explanation and some new lingo: frames, pins, spares and strikes to start.

Game Progress

A game of bowling is made up of ten ​frames​. Each turn for a bowler counts as one frame, and the player is only allowed to roll the ball twice in each frame.

Knocking down all of the pins at once counts as a ​strike​ and the player turn is over. If a strike is not achieved the player gets to roll a second ball. If all of the pins are knocked over during the second roll, it is considered a ​spare​.

Two Caveats​: If a bowler steps over the foul line while rolling the ball, any ​pins​ knocked down will be re-spotted without counting the points. If the ​pins​ are knocked over by a ball that rolled into the gutter, those points do not count either.


Scoring is based on the ​number of pins​ knocked down per turn. Each ​pin​ knocked down is worth one point.

For a ​spare​, the bowler records just a slash mark in the small square in the upper corner of the frame played. At the next turn, the player gets 10 plus the new number of pins knocked down.

If the bowler gets a ​strike​, the small square is marked with an X and is scored with 10 plus the number of pins knocked down for the next two turns.

Game Etiquette

It is important for bowlers to ​wear proper shoes​, as regular shoes can damage the bowling lanes.

It is polite for bowlers to remain behind the other bowlers during their turns. Bowling should remain in only one lane per person.

Bowlers should not steal other players' balls without permission. And bowling etiquette involves being prepared for each turn and not making others wait.