Kids are attracted to danger. Especially boys, that's why I love doing stuff with them! They love the thrill of being on the edge and excitement of testosterone. To deny it is to stop the nature of boys. I say proceed with safety and a sense of adventure. I would rather be with them when they experimented so I can teach them and keep them safe. So with that in mind, I taught my eldest son Hudson and his friend how to make a bow and arrow.
The boys loved it and was a great afternoons entertainment, so here is how you do it!
Making your own bow and arrow set:
1. You need some string, preferably plastic and strong. We only had cooking string so we doubled it for strength.
2. You need a good knife. I used a large swiss army pocket knife and only I was allowed to use it as the boys are not yet old enough to have the dexterity to manage it.
3. Find some sticks on the ground or fallen trees and you are looking for two different parts. The Bow will be thicker and stronger, hopefully with a natural C curve so it will bend easier. It should be about the thickness of your thumb. The arrows need to be straight and thinner, about the thickness of your little finger.
4. Cut the bow to about a meter (3 feet) long so the kids can still use it. Keep the bark on it otherwise it will make a mess but cut any small branches off so it is relatively smooth. Then cut a notch at both ends for the string to sit in. This is a great time for a lesson on knife safety! Cut away from your body, treat knives with respect etc.
5. Tie the string to one end of the bow, using the notch you made and then bend the stick with your knee so you can tie the string to the other end under tension. Double the string if you think the stick will be too strong. The type of knots don't really matter as long as it stays put.
6. With the bow completed, move onto the arrows. Strip the bark from the arrows to make them more streamline and cut a notch in the larger end. They should be about 3/4 of the bow length. Then sharpen the smaller end so that it has a point.
7. Your done! Pretty easy to make really. Now is the lesson on safety; ensure your friends are behind you when shooting the targets. No shooting each other, your sister or cat!
We spent about 3 hours making them together and about an hour shooting. Then they sit in their room as a reminder of the day. It's about doing something together and I assure you the boys will remember it more than going to the movies or playing video games. Bows and arrows can be dangerous, but used well are loads of fun too!
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