Bowling for Sugar Smarts


Unlike traditional bowling, children try to knock down pins with healthy "sugar smart" drinks to get points; the first team to collect 50 points wins.

Materials and Preparation:

  • Print the Bowling for Sugar Smarts worksheets.
  • Collect and clean 10 plastic bottles per team (12-16 ounce size water bottles work well; do not use large square-bottom bottles). Remove label from bottles and replace with the beverage/points label
  • Print out label page with beverage names and points - copy 1 set per team
  • Cut each label and tape at least 5 healthy options to each team's set of bottles
    • Healthy beverage options: water, low-fat milk, 100% fruit or vegetable juice
    • Sweet beverage options: fruit punch, Kool-Aid, lemonade, soda, sports drinks
  • Small balls (such as spongy soft balls or tennis balls) - 2 per team
  • Set up bottles as you would set up bowling pins on one side of a large room or corridor
  • Use masking tape to define the bowling line

How To Play:

  1. Small teams will work together to knock down the pins, and collect points based on the beverage bottle that was tipped over.
  2. Each player will bowl 2 balls and add up the points based on the following system:
    • Water = 3 points
    • Low fat milk = 2 points
    • 100% juice = 1 point
    • Flavored milk = 1 point
    • All other beverages = no points
  3. The first team to collect 50 points wins.
  4. Remind the players that milk and water are smart drink choices. Explain that 100% fruit juice has a lot of nutrients but it does contain natural sugars so it should still be consumed in small amounts. Flavored milk contains the healthy nutrients (like calcium) that regular milk has, but it also contains added sugar.

Extension Activities

  • Collect actual bottles of healthy and sweetened drinks and post the point system on the wall.
  • Try to have a range of beverages that are culturally relevant. For example, if you have a large Hispanic/Latino population, include things like tamarind juice, aguas frescas, horchata, etc. Engage children in coming up with specific types of beverages to include.
  • Infuse moderate physical activity into the game by instructing the teams to do jumping jacks for the number of points gathered after each turn, or by jogging/hopping/skipping back and forth to collect the balls and re-set the pins.