Bow and Arrow Stick Craft

Posted on July 12th, 2019

I had a real mixed age range for half term on the farm and wanted to come up with a craft that would appeal to them all, especially the 9 and 10 year old boys who I suspected wouldn’t join in if the activity wasn’t spot on. I’ve not run a session of bow and arrow making in years, however I had inkling it would be right up these boys street from youngest to oldest. I was right, despite being the nicest day of the week I had quite a gathering return from the beach in time to join in.

 

 

I had enlisted the help of Guy who, reliving his own childhood had made a template for us to follow. He and his brothers then proceeded to fire it around the garden and I was worried it wouldn’t survive till activity hour! Turns out it was well made and only a lost bow into the trees needed recreating.

 

Guy firing DIY Bow and Arrow

Sticks from the Fairy garden

Guy had been pruning some trees for Farmer Nick and saved the best bow style twigs to scatter in the fairy Gardens for the children to find. They also each chose a length of bamboo for a lightweight arrow.  

Finding sticks in the fairy garden

Knife Safety

Back at the craft tables Guy whittles notches in the end of the bows and arrows. He also explains a little knife safety.

 

Knife safety

Making a Bow and Arrow

Now we were ready to turn twigs into bows and arrows. We used strong string in the groves cut by Guy to create the bow. A length about 20 cm over the length of the stick is ideal for tying and tensioning. A slight bend in the stick will occur, just like a real bow.

 

Adding string to make a bow

Bow and arrow decoration

We used a mix of colourful floristry ribbon and wool to decorate our bow and arrows. Some of the boys just wanted to go straight into play, but when I reminded them we needed to identify whose arrow went furthest they relented and began to choose their colours and materials. By the end even the most reluctant was embellishing their design with a wrap around hand grip.

 

Decorating bows

Making a Target board

To make things more fun I laid a white sheet down on the slope of a hill and the children helped me paint around a dustbin lid to make a target. This is perfect for giving them a direction to fire in and something safe to aim for.

DIY target from a sheet

Target practice fun

Needless to say they had a great time firing at their DIY target. To make things fair the younger children were helped by parents and stood closer. The older ones relished the challenge of standing further and further back.

 

arget practice with DIY bow and arrowset

 

Tips if you try this at home

Tension good quality the string well.
Use a stick with a slight bend for the bow but not too flexible or it may snap.
Keep the stick to a maximum of ground to chin height, otherwise it may become unwieldy to use.
Arrow needs to be long enough to pull back without going beyond the string. 
Ensure arrow is straight to control direction.
Having a target keeps a focal point to the firing.
Make sure children are supervised with using the knife.
Why not make a nature crown or headdress to go with your bow and arrow.

 

 

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