Looking for a fun and engaging game to help teach subtraction? Try using this Subtraction Bowling FREEBIE with your students!

Teaching subtraction can be tricky sometimes. Not every school year, but some years it can be a challenge. I have found that after teaching addition to my kindergartners, that they struggle with taking away, instead of ‘adding to’, like they did with addition. That is when I pull out my Subtraction Bowling game! Since we live in Las Vegas, many of the casinos have bowling alleys, so my kids are familiar with the concept of bowling. If you have been living under a rock your whole life (joking…lol) then you may not be familiar with bowling. But bowling is simply ten bowling pins and one bowling ball. The object is to roll the ball down the long and straight alley way and knock down all of the pins. The fact that bowling requires ten pins is perfect for kindergarten, since adding and subtracting within ten is a perfect goal for little learners. 

When I started using this game to teach subtraction, it was difficult to find bowling sets to use in the classroom. Now with the surge of backyard games, you can find bowling sets at Walmart, Target and other stores. My personal favorite are the mini bowling game sets that I found on Amazon! The ones that I use in my classroom can be found here. They are a great deal, since you can get 6 or 12 individual sets for less than $1 a piece! This allows you to have enough sets for partner games or several different math tubs!

I also found that using a lid as a ‘bowling alley’ helps to contain the balls and pins. I just use the lid from the sterilite container that my game goes back into. But…in researching a little for this blog post, I found this mini bowling set and I am in love! I love that it has the gutters and little ball ramp! It’s not as inexpensive as they other, but I could buy 2 different sets for math tubs. (click picture to be taken to product)

After using another teacher friend’s recording sheet, I decided I wanted one that allows for multiple games and not one game at a time. So in my true DIY self, I created my own recording/response sheet. 

The recording or response sheet has 8 different ‘bowling games’ on it. Students will set up bowling pins and bowl, knocking down the pins. They will then record how many pins were knocked down and complete the subtraction sentence. Students can cross out knocked down pins to ‘show their work’ or color the pins that are still standing. That is the decision of you and your students to determine how you want your students to show their work. You can also laminate or place in a plastic pocket for multiple uses. Want the freebie for yourself? You can access it HERE.

Looking for more subtraction ideas? Check out this post for more subtraction games and ideas!

Looking For More Math Activities?

12 Responses

  1. I am a teacher also and always find it hard to teach subtraction to nursery grade students. this method looks great and i ll defo try it

  2. I cannot get this subtraction bowling freebie. I put the password in but it never comes up.

  3. Oh Abbie! what wonderful resource!! we (my kinders and I) are going bowling at the end of the month!!! this is so exciting,but i cannot remember the password for this month. Could you share it with me? Thanks so much for being so generous and creative!!!
    Dr. Maty

    1. Check for your latest newsletter and a new one should be going out today! The password is at the bottom. 🙂

  4. Abbie, Thanks for sharing such an awesome idea! Ive tried to print the bowling freebie and it indicates that is no longer available. I hope it is still available because my students would love it!
    Enjoy your holidays!,

  5. I can’t seem to find a password for the freebies. Can you help. This bowling game is great!

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