Hands-on History – Skittles

It is time to raid your recycling bin for some easy to make skittles fun!

How to make your skittles

Here, we used soda cans, but you can use tin cans or plastic bottles. Here we wrapped them in paper and used double-sided tape. 

Measure and cut your paper.

Put a strip of the tape at both ends, peel off the tape and roll it around the can.

If you choose to decorate them, here are some options:

  •   Paint
  •   Paper
  •   Stick on numbers for scoring
  •   Blackboard paint so you can write whatever you like on there

Once you have your cans, line them up as skittles, in a triangle shape or stack them up for easy knockdowns.

How to play

Each player has three attempts to throw a ball or pebble at the skittles to knock them all over.

Toppled skittles stay where they lie between the throws of a turn (unless all the pins are knocked down).

Whoever knocks over the most skittles, wins the game.


Wallops is a traditional game, a bit like skittles. It is still occasionally played in the Yorkshire Dales.

Sticks are thrown instead of balls and it was played by men and women but not by children. The men stand on a chalk line about nine yards away from the nine wooden skittles arranged alternately in three rows and the women about six yards from the line. 

Wallops were played on village feast, or sports days, a continuation of the religious feasts held on the Saints’ day of the village church. Feasts could last for the best part of a week and were the only holidays of the year. The prizes for the winners of wallops came from the 3d. (3 pence) entry fee.

Playing Wallops : DCM Collection

Hands-on History activities are specially created heritage events for children. We usually run them on Tuesdays during the school holidays.