St Fagans National History Museum

Skittles

[image: Skittles]

Skittles are sometimes called Ten Pins and sometimes they are called Ninepins even though there are always ten of them! In the 14th century they were called Kayles in England, Kyles in Scotland and Ceilys in Wales. The skittles are set out in the form of a triangle. Firstly four skittles are placed in a line, then three in the gaps in front, then two in the gaps in front ending with one. The children did not always use a round ball or a sphere to knock the skittles down. It seemed to be more of a challenge to use a cylinder shape called a 'cheese'. Modern Ten Pin Bowling is a very elaborate version of a very old game.

Suggested activity: Make some skittles

You will need:

  • Some empty plastic water bottles with screw tops
  • Some sand
  • Paint or felt tip pens

Paint or colour the label on the bottles. Number the bottles from one to ten. Half fill the bottles with sand. Screw the tops on tightly. Place them in a triangle starting with number one in the front. Now decide if you want to knock them down with a ball (sphere) or a "cheese" (cylinder).