There is a romance to archery, a throwback to a time before heavily powered weapons and nuclear warfare. A more traditional way of battle that has now become popularised in so many films such as Robin Hood, Lord of the Rings and the Hunger Games.
In the modern day archery is now used for competition, recreation and for fun. It’s a great way to spend time, and it can be for kids too. There are many ways to get them involved in an activity that will spark their imagination and get them outdoors.
Best age to start archery
What age you should start archery is really down to your own choice as a guardian, and what you feel is best for your child. If you want to start your child in the wonderful world of archery then it can be done as soon as they can pick up a bow and pull back a string. The answer depends what you want to achieve from putting a bow in a child’s hand, but if it for fun then there isn’t such a thing as too young.
If you want to start giving them lessons and getting more serious with their archery, then the age at which they are physically capable and old enough to be taught the art is around 10 or 11 years old. As a child gets older it’s likely they will want to push themselves and get more out of their archery. At the start however, it’s important not to push them too hard or they may be turned off archery altogether.
If you want your child to join an archery club, then it’s important to ask yourself a few key questions as you don’t want them to start before they are ready. The first is obviously the physical aspect, and making sure your child is strong enough to handle the shooting of a bow is key. Next you have to make sure they have not only the concentration, but the stamina to go through a lesson whilst staying engaged. And, of course, there is the safety aspect that is always paramount in archery. You need to make sure your child has the maturity to follow rules and the safety procedures to make sure they do not hurt themselves.
It’s never too soon to get into archery if you are using light and small bows with plastic arrows, having fun with a bit of shooting practise in your backyard can be great fun. It can be too soon to take the next step however and you’ll know when your child is ready to do that. The best stage to get into archery is simply the age that feels right to you, and you know your child better than anyone.
How to get your kids into archery?
As I mentioned there, getting a child into any sport is a gradual process where they move from one step to another. At the start it will be just for fun and that may be where it stops. If they improve however, then they can move on to the next level of teaching and improve their expertise. Eventually they may reach an expert level in which to use archery for whatever they desire.
There may be many reasons why a child would get into archery. Maybe you are an archery enthusiast yourself and can’t wait for your child to pick up the same bug as you did for the sport. It may be that you have a teenager who watched the hunger games and wants to pretend being Katniss Everdeen in their local forest. Whatever the reason for your child picking up a bow, getting into archery is simple and easy.
The first thing they’ll want to get their hands on is obviously the bow. This is can be a make or break moment as you want to make sure they can have a bow that will spark their interest, but that interest could be lost if they use one that is too difficult to control. It’s important not to get too carried away and know your child’s limits. There are many that have a lot of adjustments so not only can you find that perfect balance, but they can also grow with the bow and use it over a number of years.
Getting too technological can kill a child’s creative spirit. Buying a bow with a mechanical release, bowsight and all the trimmings may seem like the greatest way to treat your loved one, but it can be too much too soon and their dreams of being like their movie hero could be lost along the way. The same applies to the targets you use, make it fun and playful and don’t get too serious. Flying an arrow perfectly into the centre of a target from 40 yards can wait for now.
Whenever you feel like you’re ready, you can take the next step and get more serious with your archery by joining competitions and archery clubs. There is always that balance between your child wanting to win and doing it for the fun. Try and keep it fun for as long as possible, and you could end up with a child who develops a lifelong love for such a great sport.
What are some fun things to do with a bow and arrow?
The possibilities are endless when it comes to having fun with archery. If you use your imagination you can have an incredible time having a laugh with your kids whilst they learn how to become better archers in the process. Kids having fun with a bow and arrow will leave then with great memories and will encourage them to keep getting better with their archery.
One of the most well-known ways of having fun with a bow and arrow is to shoot at balloons. The vibrant colors as well as the pop of the balloon provides a lot stimulation for your child and they will love it. A lot of video games use targets such as balloons to create a fun environment, and using them outdoors is a great way to take that idea out of the bedroom and into the open air.
Shooting random targets that you place around is always a great way to have fun too. This could be shooting tin cans like they do in the movies, shooting objects out of trees or perhaps it is trying to shoot a branch in the distance. You can mix it up and make it fun and engaging. Trying different things and challenging each other to see who can be the best.
Another interesting way is to play archery tag, which you can either do with a professional company or in your own back yard. This is exactly as it sounds, trying to shoot each other with your arrow and making it into a competition. This can be done with equipment meant for play, or with arrows equipped with a giant foam tip.
To take your fun and games to the next level, you could have a game of tic-tac-toe. Where you can either chalk or paint up a surface and take turns playing the famous game. You can create your own rules as you try and make sure you shoot your arrow where you intend to shoot it. Whatever game you play, there are many ways you can have fun with a bow an arrow.
What are the benefits of learning archery?
Archery is fantastic for getting your loved ones engaged in sport. While putting a bow and arrow in the hands of your children may seem dangerous, archery is actually one of the safest sports there is. Ball sports are generally a lot more dangerous and archery can be great for getting your kids out there in a safe environment.
It’s not only safe, but it teaches great behaviour. Kids will want to get their hands on a bow and arrow so they can shoot at their target, but archery has strict rules in place and they will soon learn that if they don’t follow them then they won’t be able to shoot. Archery can be a highly effective way of instilling discipline in a child.
A lot of sports can knock a child’s confidence as they might not be as physically capable as the rest of their kids in their age group, or not quite as developed. Archery is open to all ages and doesn’t just rely on physical attributes to be the best. It requires patience, maturity and focus to excel in the sport, all great learning processes for a child.
Whilst not being a high-energy sport, archery will help get your child off their games console and out onto the target range. It will help build key muscles and will keep them active. Being constantly on your feet may not seem like strenuous exercise, but repeatedly pulling back that bow and walking long distances will help keep your kids fit and healthy.
Finally there are the aspects that make a great archer. Practising and focusing on self-improvement are great things to achieve, and seeing a target takes a huge amount of self-discipline and focus. This can provide key life lessons to take into the rest of their life and apply to their future studies and careers.
How to build a simple bow?
Building a bow with your children can be a very rewarding experience. While it may not provide you with the speed and accuracy of an expensive compound bow, it can be a very fun experience that will give them some cherished memories.
The start of the process is to get a piece of curved wood that is easily bent, choosing the right wood is essential so be patient as a bad choice now could ruin the process for later. Place it in the hands of your kids and measure out the size as it should go slightly above their head when they hold it out in the middle with a straight hand.
You’ll want to smooth out the piece of wood and take off any bark or sharp edges. You should taper each end and make sure you carve a small notch in each end so you will be able to easily slot in the piece of string that you will attach later. If you want to add comfort then placing a piece of fabric around the centre of the bow will achieve this.
Once this is done, take your string and tie it to each end of the bow. You want to make sure that the string is held tightly enough so that it slightly bends to bow so that you can add power to your arrow. It should be quite taught, but not too tight otherwise you will have limited drawback on your bow.
For a simple arrow, just find a selection of straight pieces of wood, strip them down and add a notch into the end of your arrow. If you wish, you can sharpen the end or add a flight to your arrow if you want it to fly more true. Making a simple bow and arrow and can is a great way to get your kids involved in the process.
Get your kids involved
Archery can be great for your kids for a number of reasons. You can start at any age that feels right to you before they head on to the next level. Getting your children into archery is simple, easy and rewarding, and doing it the right away can give them great memories and a passion they could have for a lifetime.
Whether you are just out to have some fun, or are taking things a little more seriously, archery is perfect for getting outdoors can spending valuable time with your kids. The benefits are obvious and not only will they put their game controllers down, they could learn valuable life lessons that will be useful for the rest of their lives.