Forget the babysitter! Bowling nights with friends are family time for everyone, including your toddler. There is no time more precious than making memories and having fun with your family. Teaching the correct bowling techniques to your child is a lifelong skill that will come naturally if kids start young. So get those bowling shoes on, and let’s go bowling!
Do Bowling Alleys Have Toddler Shoes?
Most bowling centers rent out bowling shoes for kids right through to large adult sizes, but you will need to check if they have toddler sizes available before you visit. Most keep rental shoes as small as kids size 5T, which would fit a child between 12 and 18 months.
On average renting bowling shoes costs $4 per trip. If you only go bowling once in a while, it is fine to rent shoes. However, if your child loves it and you plan to go bowling regularly, it will be worth it to invest in their own pair of bowling shoes.
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Will My Toddler Be Able To Bowl?
Before you go to the expense of purchasing bowling shoes for your little one, first check that they will be able to participate. A child younger than three years old may not be able to lift a 6-pound bowling ball safely. This is usually the minimum requirement at most blowing centers.
While a bowling ramp will be a lot of fun for your toddler, they should be physically able to lift the lightweight bowling ball onto the ramp themselves. A two-handed lift is fine, but there should be no danger that they will drop the ball and injure themselves.
Choosing The Correct Size Bowling Shoes For Your Toddler
Toddlers will need bigger shoes every 2 – 4 months. That is something to keep in mind when deciding whether to rent or considering purchasing bowling shoes for your child.
To Rent Or To Buy? Renting Shoes For Your Toddler
If you are renting bowling shoes, you will probably not have too much choice when it comes to the style of the shoe. It is best to focus your attention on finding the most comfortably fitting shoe to ensure that your little one has a great bowling experience. The style isn’t that important.
Always start by requesting one size larger than your child’s regular shoe size. Remember your toddler will be wearing thick socks, which also adds to the size. When the attendant hands you the shoes, start by measuring the shoe’s base using a ruler on which you have recorded your child’s foot size ahead of the visit. Toddlers can be impatient, so trying multiple pairs of shoes onto eager little feet can be challenging.
Using the ruler, check that both the length and the width of the shoes are slightly longer than the measurement of your toddler’s biggest foot. Generally, the shoe should be ½ inch longer than the point that you marked on your ruler.To be safe, have at least two pairs on hand to try onto your child’s feet. If one doesn’t fit, you don’t want to have to go through the whole exercise again of settling your excited little one down enough to try on shoes.
Once you have found a suitable pair of bowling shoes for your toddler, it’s time to try them. Have your toddler sit comfortably. By now, you know which of your child’s feet is biggest and use that foot to do the fitting. If it is a struggle to push the foot into the shoe, it is too small. Select a bigger size.
When you find a bowling shoe that goes onto the foot easily, put on the other one as well, lace them up and do a final check. Bowling shoes must fit securely, and there must be there is no chance of them flying off. However, there must also be enough space for the foot to move comfortably. You should easily be able to slip a finger into the space between the toddler’s heel and the back of the shoe.
If you can select from various styles of bowling shoes for your toddler, the ones that close with Velcro straps are often more user-friendly for very young children. This will also remove any risk of the child tripping over the shoelaces.
Make Trying On Bowling Shoes A Fun Game
Before you release your toddler to start bowling, have a little game of hop-hop-hop and stand on tippy-toes in the bowling shoes. You can hold their hands while they hop up and down a few times – go ahead and hop with them to make it more fun! You will know how much your toddler loves doing everything that you do. During the hops and the shoes should remain secure.
While they are standing on tippy-toes, check that the back of the shoe isn’t too high. Young children are extremely active, and a very high shoe back may cause a blister on their ankle after a few hours if it is rubbing excessively. If the back is pressing deeply into the back of their ankle, consider choosing another bowling shoe style for your child if they have others available.
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To Rent Or To Buy? Purchasing Bowling Shoes For Your Toddler
Unless you are an experienced bowler and have a specific style of bowling shoe in mind for your child, it is advisable to use rental shoes for the first few visits. By doing this, you will be able to determine if your child is old enough to enjoy the activity regularly and what type of shoe would be most suitable for your little one.
There is an array of styles of bowling shoes for toddlers and young children available to purchase. Some are purely functional, while others include fun elements like neon strips. Amazon carries a full catalog of kids bowling shoes or you check out these:
Bowling shoes are often specifically designed for left or right-handed players. Very young children may not yet have developed a dominant hand. Most children’s bowling shoes are designed to be suitable for both left and right-handed players, but it is something to be aware of if you decide to purchase bowling shoes for your toddler. The shoes that you purchase for your toddler should specifically indicate that they are suitable for both left and right-handers.
When purchasing bowling shoes for your toddler, keep in mind that their feet will be growing quickly, so it is unnecessary to spend a large amount on this while they are very small. As they get older and perhaps join a league, they may need performance bowling shoes, but while they are toddlers, a pair of basic athletic style bowling shoes that are comfortable and easy to put on and take off will be ideal.
Don’t Forget The Socks!
Before you start fitting bowling shoes on your toddler, be sure that they are wearing thick, absorbent socks. You don’t want your child’s feet to come into contact with any bacteria or fungi that could be lurking inside rental bowling shoes.
Wearing thick comfy socks will also pad their feet inside the bowling shoes to fit more snuggly and feel comfortable. Socks will also help protect their feet from developing blisters if there are any places where the shoes rub.
Toddlers are active and enthusiastic little people. The fun and excitement of the activity may distract them from pointing out any discomfort from the rental shoes, so before you fit them, make sure they have a thick layer of padding to protect their little feet.
Does My Toddler Need Bowling Shoes?
Teaching the correct technique from the start is important. It can also be dangerous to bowl in regular shoes that don’t allow any slide. Coming to a sudden halt at the foul line while swinging a heavy ball can cause dangerous falls. Fear of falling may subconsciously cause hesitancy in their style as they grow older if they experienced the feeling of dead-stop while they were learning to bowl.
It is important to get your child into the habit of always using the correct equipment to safely participate in sports. Small children learn through repetition, so be consistent about starting each fun trip to the bowling center by putting on the correct shoes. They will quickly associate the special shoes with bowling, and by being consistent from the start, you can avoid future tantrums about wearing bowling shoes.
How To Measure Your Toddler’s Foot
Whether you are renting shoes at the bowling center or have decided to purchase a pair, it is a great idea to be prepared so that you don’t need to try to fit multiple pairs of shoes onto a squirming, super-excited toddler. Long before you leave, measure your child’s foot so you know where to start when fitting the bowling shoes.
Make Measuring Their Feet A Fun Activity
Those of us with toddlers know that the most effective way to communicate with them is through play. Make measuring their feet into a fun game, and you will be able to entertain them and get the information you need quickly and easily.
It is important is that their feet must be measured while bearing weight. Don’t try to measure while they are sitting or asleep because the shape of the foot changes when there is weight on it. You will need to measure both the length and the width of both of their feet.
One of the most accurate ways to measure a toddler’s foot is by making a paint imprint.
You can make this a fun outside activity with your little one. Grab a few sheets of clean paper, a wide kid’s art brush, and some water-based paint and make a few ‘stepping stones’ along any solid surface. Your child will be delighted to have you lightly paint the bottom of their feet, and then they should step and stand on the sheets of paper, thereby creating footprints.
Get them to pretend they are dinosaurs or let’s take big steps like giraffes from one stepping stone to the next. Make it fun. Kids love this activity, and you will only need to collect the best examples of your child’s footprint at the end of the game.
If your toddler is cooperative, you can simply ask them to stand directly on a sheet of paper while you make marks around both feet.
Measure Both Their Feet
It may sound strange, but it is completely normal for one of your toddler’s feet to be bigger than the other. You need to know the size of both feet, and you should have done this measurement before you arrive to fit the bowling shoes. You must use the measurement of their biggest foot when trying shoes on your toddler.
When Should I Measure My Toddler’s Feet?
The ideal time to measure your child’s feet is later in the day when they are as big as they will get. Like adults, kids’ feet tend to swell slightly during the day. For the most accurate measurements that will result in a comfortable fit, foot measurements should be taken during the afternoon.
Record the Measurements
Use a plastic ruler and a permanent marker. Write ‘left foot’ and ‘right foot’ on different sides of the ruler.
Place the bottom part of the ruler on top of the back part of the print that you have of your child’s foot. Then use the permanent marker to draw a line to mark the end of their longest toe. Repeat on both sides of the ruler for each foot.
Next, you need to record the width of each foot. Use the same ruler. Place the bottom edge on the widest part of the child’s foot and make a mark with your pen. Each side of your plastic ruler should now have marks indicating the length and width of your toddler’s feet. The ruler can be easily held against the sole of the rental shoes before you attempt to jam your child’s feet into unfamiliar shoes.
Bowling with your Toddler – Know Their Routine
Fitting bowling shoes may feel like an unnecessary delay in proceedings to your toddler, so have something with you to distract them while you are putting on their bowling shoes. Have a snack or an interesting toy on hand to keep their attention. While you are trying various sizes on their feet, it is important that they cooperate with the process.
Arrange Kid’s Equipment Ahead of Your Bowling Outing
The last thing you want to do is for your little one to feel discouraged as ball after ball lands in the gutter. Bowling is a popular family sport because everyone from young kids to grandparents can take part and have fun.
Before you arrive, give your bowling center a call and check that lightweight bowling balls, bowling ramps, and bowling bumpers will be available at the time you want to visit. Also, check that they have toddler-sized shoes available to rent.
Before you take your toddler bowling, coordinate activities carefully so that you and your little one will have a great time, and you will be able to select the correct shoes for them quickly and without fuss.
Bowling is a fun activity for the whole family. Whether you choose to rent bowling shoes for your toddler or buy them their own, they must fit comfortably so that the child develops the correct technique for the sport right from the start.