When parents think about a suitable sport for their child, they usually think of activities such as children’s gymnastics, horse riding or football. But there is a fantastic alternative to all these sports activities, namely archery. It offers children everything they need for healthy development and more. But what makes this sport so fascinating? And how do you find the perfect kids bow?
What is a Child’s Bow?
Kids recurve bows are a piece of sports equipment with which arrows can be shot. Children’s arrows and bows are similar to those used by adults. However, there are some differences, especially with regard to the draw weight and the bow length. This is because a ten-year-old child could hardly lift the same draw weight as a strong adult.
At What Age can Children Learn Archery?
At this point we would like to refrain from giving a general indication of age. In general, shooting with bow and arrow is recommended for children from about ten years of age, for the following reasons:
- At the age of ten, a child’s posture has stabilised to such an extent that it can easily withstand the stresses and strains caused by the tensioning of the bow. At an age of seven to ten years, the child’s body is in a growth phase that is quite sensitive. Damage to the posture can occur when strained frequently.
- Many children have a relatively low tolerance for frustration, which is absolutely normal. It is part of healthy human development to deal with disappointments and setbacks and to grow from them. By the age of ten this process should be so complete that a disgruntled little archer will no longer use his equipment dangerously.
- A good attitude is what’s needed to stay on the ball if the desired success takes longer than expected.
- A certain understanding of rules and respect for persons in authority should also be possible.
Mostly ten-year-old children have internalized these things and you can teach them the correct handling of bow and arrow. However, there are always exceptions. For example, there are seven-year old children who have the cognitive level of a twelve-year old, as well as twelve-year old children who throw the bow into the bushes at the first failure and stomp around like a two-year-old. Whether or not their child is ready for archery is ultimately a matter for the parents to decide.
No matter what stage of development your child is at: Do not leave him unattended with a bow for kids! It is essential that an adult is present to supervise the archery training until the child reaches 18 years old, even if the law considers the bow to be a piece of sports equipment; it is and remains a weapon.
Recommended Bow Length for Children’s Bows
In youth archery, the size of the bow is important in that it must be able to withstand too much load if it is too small for the shooter. On the other hand, your child will of course not have any fun with a bow that is much too long. Therefore, the length of the bow should be taken into account when buying it.
Since children grow very differently according to their genes, it is not possible to give an exact indication of the correct length of the children’s bow according to their age. Like the bow length for adults, this depends on the body height:
|Height of the child||Length of the bow|
|Up to 120 cm||54 inch|
|120 – 135 cm||58 inch|
|136 – 150 cm||62 inch|
Compound bows are a bit special in this respect. They are generally very compact. Furthermore their extension is adjustable. If you are unsure about the size, it is best to ask for advice; many dealers also offer this option by mail or phone.
Children’s Bow Tension Weight by Age
The bow draw weight of a bow for kids plays a very important role in every age group. It describes the amount of force required to tension the bow’s string and is expressed in pounds. If the chosen draw weight is too low, neither you nor your bow will perform the feat you are capable of. However, if it is too high, you will hardly be able to fully tension the bow, or there will be a risk of injury.
Of course you should attach great importance to the correct draw weight when buying a children’s bow. First of all, of course, the child’s body is not capable of the same performance as the body of an adult. Furthermore your child is still growing in youth archery. If he tries to lift a too high weight over a longer period of time, there is a risk of injury or muscular damage. Therefore, you should inform yourself about the correct traction weight for the child’s bow. Our guidelines will help you with this.
In general, you should choose a slightly lower pull weight over one thats too high. And of course, as already described, all children are individuals – there are certainly girls who are able to create a higher train weight than boys of the same age.
In general, however, you can orient yourself by the following values:
|Age of the shooter||Recommended pull weight in pounds|
|Boys up to 12 years||14 – 20 lbs|
|Girls up to 12 years||10 – 16 lbs|
What to Consider Before Buying a Children’s Bow
First of all, of course, the price plays a role. You know your child best and are best placed to decide whether your child will stick with archery or whether the sport of shooting is just a flash in the pan. If you are unsure, you should not immediately choose the most expensive model, but rather a medium-priced bow. However, a bow and arrows for youths and arrows should not be cheap either, because your child might not have much fun with them. Cheap material takes its revenge at the latest when the bow breaks or your child only achieves poor results despite his or her existing talent.
If your child has already been with us for some time, you can of course choose a high-priced model. Or you can choose a bow that can be upgraded right at the beginning.
As banal as it may sound, don’t buy any youth recurve bow for children, but let your child participate in the decision. Especially for the little ones, the visual appearance is of great importance and the disappointment can be great if the current favorite color is green, but a red bow is given instead.
One last point applies especially to small children and those with even lower frustration tolerance: the bow should be absolutely robust. Most parents will know it and will smile at the following lines: Especially when archery does not work as well as desired, even a bow likes to learn how to fly or is hammered on the ground under wild screams. So be sure to choose a material that can withstand anything!
Buying the Right Children’s Bow
It is of course difficult to make a general recommendation for bow and arrows for youth. In the end, you and your child have to decide together on the basis of various criteria what kind of bow it should be. There are different models of bows available and most of them are categorised by age. They are often more or less divided into the following age groups:
- Four to seven years
- Six to ten years
- Seven to twelve years
- Youth Bows
As you can see, the different categories overlap. This is due to the fact that children naturally have different ambitions and also have different physical conditions. Not every ten-year old child should carry a youth recurve bow that is suitable for ten-year-olds only. Which bow you decide on together with your child should therefore be based on the following criteria:
- Age of the child
- Height of the Child
- Physical condition
Of course, the size of your wallet also plays a significant role.
Our Recommendation: Bear Archery 1st Shot Bow Set
The Bear Archery 1st Shot Bow Set for young children is the perfect starter package for all inexperienced archers from 4 to 7 years of age. Bear Archery has been America’s number one provider of equipment for youth and instructional archery for 80 years. So they know a thing or two about teaching kids how to use a bow. This excellent starter set contains not only the bow, but also two Safetyglass arrows with an arm guard, finger rollers, an arrow quiver, and a paper target. But these are not the only advantages of this bow and arrow set:
All in all, the Bear Archery bow and arrow set for young children is a solid beginner’s package with many accessories and for the reasons mentioned above is absolutely recommendable. Good quality at a very fair price!
Wooden Toy Archery Set: Island Genius Classic Wooden Bow and Arrow Set
What does archery mean for children? Adventure, above everything else! Those who prefer the traditional Robin Hood feeling will get their money’s worth with this archery set for children. The wooden play set for children offers traditional looks with everything the little archer needs. The set includes two bows with a quiver each and twenty soft rubber tipped arrows for adventures outside.
The wooden play set is primarily a toy aimed at younger children, as the rubber tips make target shooting impossible. However, thanks to the high quality workmanship and original design, it also offers older children who would like to get a taste of archery a good sense of what the sport is about. The price is unbeatable anyway, so this serves as our recommendation to buy!
Best Arrows for Children
Buying bows and arrows for children is a tightrope walk. The bow is a weapon – even if by law it is considered a piece of sports equipment. Therefore, you should think carefully whether you already trust your child to handle this weapon.
One of the considerations that must taken into account before buying a bow is the question of the right arrows. This question can be a challenge, because for an adult archer the answer is relatively simple: The most suitable arrows are usually carbon arrows.
But what about children’s arrows? The first question to consider is whether the child will stay with archery or whether he or she would like to try this sport first. You should not immediately buy the highest quality arrows available, only to find that your child quickly loses interest in archery.
Immediately after that, the question arises whether your child would prefer to shoot a little in the garden or participate in big tournaments at some point. If they are really ambitious, it is of course worth investing in a high-quality bow and expensive arrows.
For the time being, cheap wooden arrows will suffice, but for big ambitions you should opt for carbon arrows. Aluminum arrows are not suitable because they are expensive and bend quickly. This happens not only when hitting a hard target, but also when pulling out of the target. This is an important element of decision- making, especially for children who still have a low frustration tolerance, because a bent arrow no longer has good flight characteristics, no matter how great the talent is.
Fiberglass is a good alternative to the materials mentioned above. Fibreglass arrows are not suitable for bows with a high tensile weight, as they tend to splinter. However, they are ideal for children’s bows. They are quite cheap to buy, light and have solid flight characteristics. However, each arrow should be checked for damage by bending it slightly before firing. If the arrow crunches when bent, it should not be shot under any circumstances, because then there is a risk of injury! Assist your child when handling such arrows and show him or her how to use them correctly from the very beginning. Arrows with rubber tips are suitable for the very young, because they are much less dangerous. See the Island Genius Wooden bow set above.
Our Recommendation: Pandarus Youth Safetyglass Arrows
This F-4028 fiberglass arrow was designed by Pandarus to be a safe and cost-effective practice arrow. The safety of the arrow is due to the strength and straightness of the fiber-glass fiber shaft, reducing the likelihood of shattering. This arrow is suitable for normal recurve bows, children’s bows, and composite bows.
Useful Accessories for Youth Archery
To really enjoy archery, the little ones need protective equipment. Archery is a wonderful hobby, but unfortunately not without danger. This is not only true for the arrow that shoots off the string, but also for the string that shoots against the forearm, where it can cause very painful hematoma. A forearm protection for children is therefore a priority and should be at the top of the shopping list.
The fingers of the little ones can also be damaged when the tendon is pulled out. Over time, the skin on the fingers is badly damaged by the constant strain. It becomes sore and bears fruit to more painful pressure points. Therefore, a shooting glove for children or a suitable finger tab for archery is mandatory. These are usually made of soft leather and protect the index, middle and ring fingers from the force of the bowstring.
A quiver is also important to have the arrows always handy and to be able to transport them well and safely. With the quiver you have the choice between different designs like the side and back quiver. Which one is suitable for your child you will probably have to decide together, because for children comfort and safe- handling is integral. The quiver should neither annoy nor restrict the child and at the same time increase safety when shooting.
An arrow rest makes sense for a children’s bow, because it can make aiming much easier. Keep in mind that you should always have several of them at hand, because the arrow rest is an article of daily use that should be checked and replaced regularly.
A nice to have, on the other hand, is a tensioning cord with which the bow can be stretched. For an adult this purchase definitely makes sense, for a children’s bow it usually does too. However, a child’s bow can usually be stretched by an adult quite well – and since your child should not be left alone with the bow and arrow anyway, you can actually do without a tension cord, at least at the beginning.
Rubber blunt tips can be attached to the arrows for children and greatly increase safety when archery. They make sure that arrows do not get stuck anymore. Nevertheless, someone should always be present when the child handles the bow and arrow!
Children’s Fascination with Bows and Arrows
Children love heroes like Robin Hood. What could be more natural than to feel like a hero for once? It is usually this fascination that makes children reach for the bow and arrow. These young children are not yet aware of the many positive effects archery has on their development.
However, once they have reached for the bow, they usually feel themselves growing up and apart from the physical activity and embrace of this piece of sports equipment. Of course, children also feel proud when they have hit their target and usually reach for their bow again and again automatically. Archery has a fascination of its own, not only for adults, which can hardly be explained with words. In addition, especially with 3D archery, there is the movement in the open nature – to feel like a hunter for once holds something original, which many people, especially children, often lack nowadays. The human being is and remains, in all its uniqueness, a hunter and collector, even the smallest ones can feel this.
The Positive Impact of Archery on Children
Children are exposed to countless stimuli every day. No sooner do they come home from kindergarten or school do they go shopping, do children’s sports or undertake an early musical education. In addition to these stimuli, there is an infinite number of bright lights, loud music, road traffic noise and many rules of conduct that the little ones have to follow.
All this is one thing above all else for children: exhausting. And: it distracts them from something essential, specifically from themselves and the mindfulness of their own body and mind.
Archery is a discipline that combines both body control and mindfulness, because a good archer needs both. Therefore archery is the ideal sport for children to buckle down and concentrate on themselves.
But that is not all:
- Archery trains the perception and control of the body and strengthens all muscles in the body
- A sense of responsibility is one of the main goals in the art of archery – similar to learning a martial art, children must learn to handle the sports equipment – the “weapon” in their hands responsibly
- The magic word is “self-efficacy”: children love to explore cause and effect – and what could have a greater effect than a self-made arrow that hits the target?
- Children learn to find their center through the sport of archery, leading them into a meditative state
- Last but not least, archery in the great outdoors strengthens environmental awareness: children understand nature as something worth protecting and fascinating if they often move around in it
Archery is the perfect sport for children to bring body and soul in harmony and to learn about responsible use of sports equipment. Archery helps children to center themselves and to occupy themselves away from the dull everyday life in a pleasant and calm way. We wish you and your child lots of fun with archery!