I think bowling is a great activity for kids. It's an activity most kids can do even if they have some physical challenges to deal with.
All three of my children started bowling when they were fairly young. My oldest child started when he was six years old. My middle child and youngest child both started when they were five years old.
When I signed my oldest child up for bowling I did it because I wanted him to have a fun activity to be involved in with kids his own age. He had already tried playing t-ball baseball and didn't like it; and he didn't like boy scouts either. Bowling was the only other activity available in our area. And because my son was very shy I wanted to get him out with other kids in a fun social setting. Bowling seemed like a good way to do that. It was reasonable and bowling was only done once a week so I didn't think my son would find it overwhelming (http://www.bowlingforstrikes.com/bowling/bowlingcenters/).
He loved bowling. He started out by bowling with "bumpers" on the lanes. Bumpers prevented the bowling ball from going in the gutter so every child was assured of knocking at least a few pins down. This prevented the kids from getting discouraged and quitting. At the same time, the kids had coaches that taught them how to bowl properly. There were "bowler of the month" awards given to a child in each league every month. To be a bowler of the month a child had to be working hard to improve and be encouraging to his or her fellow bowlers.
In addition to awards there were parties for Halloween and Christmas. On top of that, whenever each child reach a milestone score in a bowling game (such as his or her first 100, 125, 150 game or 200 series) a patch was given to the child. I spent many hours sewing the patches my kids received on to their bowling shirts. Sewing those patches on was definitely a labor of love because I hate to sew! Then, at the end of each year, bowling trophies were awarded (or dust collectors as my husband likes to call them).
All three of my children bowled competitively until they completed high school. Besides bowling being a fun activity for them they learned a lot about dedication, teamwork, perseverance, dealing with disappointment, and learning how to deal graciously with success. And there were monetary rewards for all of them too because they were each awarded college scholarship money from tournaments they participated in and/or from bowling associations they were active in.
My children all still enjoy bowling. Both my sons are out of college and bowl as a fun social activity. My daughter is in college and is a member of her college's bowling team. She's still enjoying bowling competitively.
I think bowling is a great life sport. Unlike sports such as football, which can only be played for a short time, bowling can be enjoyed for a long time. For example, at my local bowling alley there are senior citizen leagues with people in their 70's, and even some in their 80's, bowling every week.
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