Marble Bowling Alley

It's a well known fact that children learn through play! The marble bowling alley is a game we invented to make the most of this fact. In other words, it was our attempt to consolidate learning (involving the different ways to spell the sound oo as in kangaroo) while playing.

Playing with marbles and words

Did it work? The answer is a definite yes!

The boys had fun while we revised the different ways to write the sound oo along with a whole pile of words.

The aim of this marble game was to shoot marbles into 'letter caves', each labelled with different letters. Once a marble found a home, it was time to find a corresponding word, which contained the same letters, from a word pile.

The letter caves were created out of cardboard cups.

Firstly, we cut one side off the cups. A ruler & pencil came in handy for marking the cutting line.

Cut one side of the cup off

After writing the letter combinations on the cut-off pieces of cup, we taped them to the top of the cups.

Tape the letters to the top of the cup

We ended up with a number of cups which stacked neatly together. This worked well for storage purposes.

The finished cups stack together

To make the marble bowling alley, we lined the letter caves up and then surrounded them with rolled up towels. The towels were designed to stop marbles from escaping.

Make a marble bowling alley with towels

It was then time to play. The boys took turns shooting marbles down the marble bowling alley ...

Shooting down the marble bowling alley

... and then finding a word containing the letters displayed on the cave their marble rolled into.

Find the matching word

If you'd like the printed oo words, you're welcome to download them from here. There's one sheet of words which works well if printed onto cardboard.

Add Some Challenge

To add some challenge, we added a timer.

At first, we gave each player 4 minutes to see how many marbles they could shoot and how many matching words they could find.

Later we increased the challenge, setting the timer to 2 minutes for the next round, then 1 minute and 30 seconds, and finally 1 minute and 15 seconds. The boys had to set the digital timer themselves which gave them extra opportunities to work with numbers and time.

The marble bowling alley was a fun game to play and one which could easily be modified to suit whatever you are learning or reviewing. Have fun!

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