boy aiming bow on target while girl with red hat watches

Archery for Kids: Build Skills & Confidence while Having Fun

Raising KÜHL Kids
on
July 6, 2021

Archery is a popular sport among people around the world. It’s considered one of the oldest forms of sport still practiced to this day.

Archers gain skills of concentration, balance, and strength while enjoying a healthy and uniquely fun activity. Seen in a variety of films and books like Robin Hood and The Hunger Games, practicing archery is an exciting and adventurous activity, especially for youngsters. When you decide to involve your child in archery, they will not only enjoy a cool new activity, but they will also learn skills and build confidence & focus along the way.

Here are some important things to know and understand about archery for kids.

Why Should I Choose Archery for My Kids?

Archery is a great sport for children because it enhances basic motor skills, strength and coordination. They are also gain insights into the art of focus and balance. Practicing archery builds confidence and teaches patience, all while having fun.

Archery also provides a wonderful opportunity for your child to spend time outdoors and meet new friends. There are plenty of youth archery clubs in your town or city.

Overall, archery is simply a fun and unique sport for almost any child to learn, practice, and enjoy.

boy aiming bow and arrow on distant target
Kids can start building skills and confidence from a very young age by practicing archery. Photo by Vince Fleming.

At What Age Can a Child Begin Archery?

The ideal recommended age to begin archery is between six and nine. This is a perfect time for your child to start, as they should be able to hold up a bow with at least an 8 lb. drawback weight. When deciding if your child is ready to begin archery, other questions to consider include:

  • Do they have the knowledge and comprehension to follow basic safety guidelines? 
  • Are they mature enough to practice with archery gear and sharp-pointed arrows?

If you are interested in having your child practice archery at an age that is younger than six, it’s recommended to get them a plastic bow and arrow set. In an archery set for younger children, the arrow is a suction cup rather than a point. This is a great way to start practicing archery for kids, as they will gain the basic principles of the sport without the risk of injury.

Is Archery Safe for Kids?

Archery is surprisingly one of the safest sports out there next to golfing and fishing. As opposed to other sports, like basketball or football, there is no running or physical contact involved in practicing archery. Plus, if your kid is going to be practicing at an archery range, ask the staff to provide a safety course for beginners.

Some good advice to reduce the risk of injury is to teach your child to always take care of their equipment by making sure it is well-maintained and ready to use at all times. One common injury is a smack on the wrist from a bowstring, which can cause bruising, so it’s a good idea that children always wear arm guards. 

Supervision is the most important of all, especially for beginner archers. Always make sure that you, an instructor, or another adult are supervising your little archer, and that they follow safety protocols.

girl using a bow with red arm guard
Use an arm guard when practicing archery to prevent injuries and bruising of the wrist. Photo by Niklas Tidbury.

How Do I Choose a Bow & Arrows for My Kid?

Choosing a bow for your child can be rather daunting as there are so many different options out there. It’s important to take in a few factors when deciding on the set to use.

One factor to consider is what is the purpose of buying a bow for your child. Is it for recreation? Competition? Or is it more for an introduction to the sport of archery?

Another factor is to take your kid’s age and size into consideration. Depending on the size of your child, the type of bow you buy will completely change.

What to Look for When Buying a Youth Bow

Most bows for young archers are a little simpler than those intended for adults. However, there are still some things you need to keep in mind when you’re choosing one for your kid.

Size of the Bow

It’s important to get shooting gear that’s the proper size for your child. The main reason is safety; it’s unsafe to shoot a bow that’s too big or too small. In addition, a properly sized bow will be easier to shoot, more accurate, and they’ll enjoy it more.

Packages & Sets

Since archery is an equipment-heavy sport, your young archer will need more than a bow & arrow. They’ll also need a quiver, an arm guard, and a target. It can make sense to buy a set or a package that includes much of the required equipment.

bow and arrows on green field during daytime
This is just part of the gear needed for practicing archery. Photo by hammad khan.

Additional Gear For A Better Experience

Various pieces of equipment are necessary for archery, but you can also get some additional gear that will help your child become a better archer. Consider:

  • Arrows and quiver
  • Arm guard
  • Targets
  • A bow sight – to attach to the riser and assist with aiming
  • A stabilizer – to add some heft to the bow and make it easier to balance
  • A release aid – to help pull the string back and protect the fingers

What Is the Best Bow for a Youth Beginner?

When your kid starts practicing archery, and you are looking at purchasing their first bow, you should determine what size and type will suit them best. There are a few things to look at when choosing your child’s first bow.

Draw Length

A good place to start is to figure out your kid’s draw length. This is a measure of how far they can pull the bow back. It is a measurement you want to get right because it helps them aim consistently.

The easiest way to calculate your young archer’s draw length is to take their height in inches and divide it by 2.5.

Draw Weight

Draw weight is the amount of force it takes to pull the string back on the bow. Low draw weight is easier to use, and a bow with a high draw weight will be more difficult.

Kids tend to need bows with the lower draw weight. Here’s a general guideline for draw weight for kids:

  • Small children (60-100 pounds): 10 to 15 pounds draw weight (DW)
  • Medium-sized children (100-125 pounds): 15 to 20 pounds DW
  • Large children (125-150 pounds): 20 to 30 pounds DW

Hand Dominance

Have your child test which hand is dominant by shooting from different bows. Whichever hand they feel more comfortable and stronger shooting with will determine whether you get them a right- or left-hand dominant gear.

There are plenty of options to choose from for your novice archer. A good idea is to go to your local archery range and let them practice with a few bows so they can get a feel for what they like. You’ll also gain precious advice from professional or recreational archers who work with different experience levels and a variety of bows & arrows.

girl in white shirt holding brown bow and arrow
Check your kid’s measurements to get a bow perfect for them and their dominant hand. Photo by Vince Fleming.

What is the Best Children’s Bow?

As archery for kids is a popular sport, there are great options you can shop for young archers of all ages and skill levels. Here are a few that stand out as top-rated:

Genesis Original Bow

This is a great starter bow for kids of all ages, sizes, and abilities. It has an adjustable draw weight, so kids can continue to use it as they gain strength. It is also the official bow of the National Archery in Schools Program.

Bear Archery Scout Bow

This one is better for younger kids. It has a very light draw weight and is very easy to set up and use.

Centerpoint Elkhorn Jr. Bow

This one is ideal for pre-teen, intermediate, or small-framed archers. It has an adjustable draw weight and comes with some gear, including safety equipment.

Barnett Vortex Lite Bow

This bow looks and acts like bows for adults and is good for kids with a little more strength. It has many of the features that young archers look for as they get serious about archery. 

Diamond Infinite Edge Pro Bow

If your child is committed to archery, then this is a great option. It can be used from childhood through adulthood. It is well made, versatile, and feature-packed. This bow is also made with a stabilizer for perfect balance when shooting arrows.

How Can I Teach Archery to My Kids?

A great way to get your kid started in archery is to teach them yourself. This can be an exciting opportunity for both of you, or all of you, as this will allow an opportunity to connect and grow with your children.

white and multicolored archery target on green field
Kids would love it if you built them their own practice range for a start. Photo by Mihai Lazăr.

A solid way to begin, if you have space, is to build your own practice range. This can be done with a variety of materials from PVC pipes to hay bales to cardboard. This is an incredibly convenient and fun way to get started in a new sport.

If you don’t have space at your home to build your own range, you can still build your own target and bring it out to a nearby forest where there are no people around. This way, you can keep kids outside for the whole summer! Remember, you can always go to a local archery range, as they will provide all you need.

When teaching your kid archery, the most important aspects are safety and patience. The main thing you’ll want to do is teach them safety guidelines, so they could have a basic understanding of what and what not to do:

  • Inspect all equipment, and ensure it’s in good condition.
  • Pull hair back, and avoid wearing loose, baggy clothing.
  • Wear a protective arm guard.
  • Aim bow away from people and animals.
  • Keep your arrows pointed down or at the target at all times.

When teaching your child archery, you could start off by practicing yourself. Shoot an arrow while letting them watch and mimic your actions.

Then, when you think they are ready to begin shooting with an arrow, move them closer to the target. This will make it easier for them to hit their mark. Hitting the target builds confidence and is incredibly exciting for first-time archers.

man in KÜHL jacket and KÜHL pants aiming with bow and arrow
Show them how you move so they could try doing the same. Product shown: Burr™ Jacket, The Law™.

How Do You Make Hitting the Target More Fun?

To help your child build more confidence and enjoy their archery experience, you can attach balloons to the targets and create a game out of it.

Filling the balloons with glitter, water-based paint or cornstarch can boost the fun even more! As they shoot an arrow and hit the target, the air will explode with glittery, colorful, or powdery clouds.

You could also use fruit such as apples or watermelon and have your child shoot at them, maybe even splitting the fruit in half. By playing games like these, kids will have a wonderful time, while also building up their confidence and skill.

Give Your Kids Something to Shoot For

A great thing about archery is that you don’t need any prior experience in any sort of sport. There’s no running involved, there’s no physical contact and there’s more of an independent approach to archery than other sports. All that is required is patience and practice.

There are many fun and creative ways to get into this sport. As time goes on, the skills and confidence your child will gain may help them to enter competitions, go hunting or even start teaching others.

When your child is just starting, it’s crucial that they are comfortable with the bow & arrows they are using, the instructor that is teaching them, and the environment they’re in while practicing.

Make sure that this is truly a sport that they wish to pursue, because you want them to have fun, right? And that’s exactly what will happen as time goes on because archery is a rewarding and fun activity that is accessible to everyone. Be creative with targets & have fun in the outdoors the whole summer long with your kids!

Featured Image by Annie Spratt.

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