We all know that archery is a great activity for children to participate in. It builds confidence, develops discipline, gets kids moving and can help foster an appreciation for the outdoors.
But kids don’t really care about those positives. All they care about is that archery is fun. So whether you’re hosting the coolest birthday party ever, teaching shooting lessons or just want to engage your kids in some friendly backyard competition, amp up the fun with this trio of archery games.
Pin The Arrow On The Donkey
A simple and easy game that can done in the backyard or on the range (inside or out), Pin The Arrow On The Donkey is a blast. Simply trace and cut out a donkey image on cardboard or paper, or purchase a traditional birthday party cutout. Of course, you can add even more excitement by placing a one-inch orange dot on the butt of a 3-D target as well. (We call that game Pin The Arrow On The Swamp Donkey.)
Pin the cutout (homemade or store bought) to a sizeable foam or bag target at 15 or 20 yards and have the kids take turns. Give each kid two shots. The child that places the arrow closest to the tail wins.
Archery Tic-Tac-Toe is best done in a pro shop as a very large foam target is needed. Use black electrical tape to create a Tic-Tac-Toe board on the target face. Be sure each child is shooting a different colored fletch so both they and you know who is hitting where.
It’s important to let the shooters know that they must place the arrow in the box they are shooting at in order for that arrow to count. This game is best played at a distance of 15 to 20 yards, and the first child to put three arrows in a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line wins.
Seriously, is there anything more fun than popping balloons with arrows? Kids (okay, and adults) love to see and hear balloons pop, which is why this game is sure to become an instant favorite. This game is best played with five or more archers, so once again, a pro shop archery range is an ideal “Balloon Pop” location due to the large, open-faced targets many of these shops possess.
Of course, you can just tack balloons to a target and go to town, but you can also make this activity more challenging. For the first round, have each kid blow up a balloon (give each child his or her own color). The kids can blow up the balloons to be as big or small as they want. Then have them pin the balloons on the target. Once the balloons are up, tell the kids they have to shoot their own balloon first and then they can move on to shooting other people’s balloons. Popping your own balloon is worth five points and each additional balloon popped after that is worth two points. Record the scores at the end of the first round.
Now change up the rules. Once again, let the kids blow up their balloons to whatever size they wish. But once they’re pinned on the target, explain that for the second round, their goal is to shoot other people’s balloons. Each balloon popped is one point, and the person whose balloon is last to be popped gets five points. (Depending on the age and skill level of the kids, you could have the players stop shooting as their balloons are popped.)
By announcing the goal of the round only when the balloons are pinned on the target, the kids won’t know whether it’s more strategic to make their balloons bigger or smaller. Continue playing until the kids are bored. Make sure you’ve bought plenty of extra balloons.