American Girl

American Girl's Bowling Alley Is So Cute, You'll Wish You Were Doll-Sized

As parents, we know kids don't always need much to have fun. They will re-imagine an empty Amazon box as a rocket ship if given the chance. So I love to get my kids interactive toys that are designed to encourage imaginative play. American Girl is so good at this. With their new American Girl Bowling Alley, kids can combine the instinct for make believe with a battery-powered mini bowling alley for their dolls.

Yes, you read that correctly. Dolls get their own bowling alleys now and my inner child is kinda jealous. (Just like it was jealous about AG's summer collection, which included a little unicorn pool float.)

The set calls for kids to pretend their dollies are going bowling, but they don't have to imagine much. The American Girl Bowling Alley has a surprisingly large wooden lane complete with 10 motorized pins. Players (humans or dolls alike) can roll the pearly bowling balls, hit the pins, and watch them reset automatically just like a real game at the alley. Bowlers can hit strikes, of course. American Girl even thought to include a digital score-keeping display that tracks each turn.

As if the automated pins weren't cool enough, the lanes light up and have speakers that play sound effects of pins falling and cheers from adoring audience members. I literally laughed when I saw the card swipe on the fake transaction monitor attached to the retail counter, which doubles as a snack shop and a shoe rental area. Down to the adorable demonstration featuring the doll bowling alley with removable bumpers, everything about this kit looks like a blast.

American Girl

The American Girl Bowling Alley is available for $150, both online or with limited availability at the American Girl brick-and-mortar stores — find yours here. No need to worry about running out to buy additional items to enhance the session. The lane comes jam-packed with accessories like sparkly shoes; a snack stand including two servings each of faux pretzels, nachos, and candy, plus one bottle each of sparkling juice and lemonade. Oh, and don't forget the neon, glow-in-the-dark shirts for make-believe cosmic bowling. One reviewer did mention that kids will have to remove the detachable handles on the bowling balls so they can actually roll. These trinkets all fit the popular American Girl collection of dolls, which makes the set perfect for the kid who is already a fan. And because it's designed for two dolls, as one reviewer on the AG site noted, it makes a perfect gift for, say, a set of siblings to share:

"The bowling alley is one of my nieces' favorite AG gifts. What's great about this set versus some of the other furniture sets is that it's designed for 2 dolls, which is perfect for the sisters that I bought it for. There are so many cute parts to this set and there's 2 of everything."

Although it will make a great gift for any doll enthusiast over age 8, the company notes the playset is too large for them to gift wrap for you. You'll just have to go old school with wrapping paper and scissors yourself. Or assemble it (it requires grown-up assembly and 4 AA batteries to work) and wrap it with a shiny red bow. No matter how you present it, it's sure to strike it big with kiddos who love playing pretend with interactive toys.