Archery is an ancient sport, and it’s still highly regarded for the skill and precision it demands. It’s a fun outdoor play for kids to improve coordination – plus, when you choose bow and arrow sets specifically designed for kids, safety is generally factored in. There’s a lot of kids’ bow and arrow sets for you to choose from, so we took a closer look at some favorites in both the real and toy bow categories to help you make your pick. 

Our Top Picks

How to Pick the Best Bow and Arrow Set

1. Recommended Age

Real bow and arrow sets are weapons and should be treated as such. This means it’s crucial that you know what age the bow you’re buying is designed for. A bow that’s too small can be disappointing, whereas one that’s too large with a draw weight that’s too heavy will be difficult for younger users to operate. In order for your child to have fun and be safe, choose a bow designed for their age and ability. 

2. Left or Right Handed 

Bows can be right handed, left handed or ambidextrous, but knowing which bow is right for your child isn’t as simple as knowing which hand is dominant. Their eye dominance is also a key factor in making the right choice. If you’re not sure which eye is dominant, there’s a simple test to determine eye dominance in the FAQ. Hand and eye dominance often match up, but if they don’t, you should choose a bow that matches their eye dominance – left handed for left, right handed for right. Most toy bows and some real bows are ambidextrous, which takes the confusion out of choosing.

3. Draw Length 

This feature describes how far back the string of the bow can extend when it’s being pulled. It’s relevant to your choice because when it comes to real bows, you want one with a draw length that’s appropriate for your child – too much draw length won’t work for someone with a small frame. Younger kids’ bows usually start around a 14 inch draw length, so that’s a good length to look out for. Both this feature and draw weight aren’t typically noted on toy bows, so it’s safe to assume they’re age appropriate. 

4. Draw weight

Draw weight also has to do with the string of the bow, but is focused on how much force is required to draw a shot. As previously noted, this factor can be assumed to be age appropriate, but on real bows it’s important to know to ensure that kids can operate the bow effectively. A starting draw weight of 12 lbs is average on a kids bow, but at least one model here adjusts to a 6 lb weight for younger or smaller archers. 

5. type

As you’ve no doubt figured out by now, we’re covering two kinds of bows here – toys and those designed for real archery. Younger children and those just starting out may do better with a toy bow that will allow them to grasp the form and function required to operate a real one. As they grow and become more experienced, a real bow and arrow set designed for kids can instill skill and build confidence. You don’t want your child to end up with a toy if you wanted a real bow or vice versa, so it’s important to know the difference. 

6. What’s Included 

While bow and arrow sets generally have two basic components, there are often other accessories included that make using the set more convenient or more fun. Features like quivers and included targets distinguish some sets from others and may be a determining factor in your final choice, so taking a closer look at included accessories before you pick is a good idea. 

bow and arrow for kids

The Winners

#1

Barnett Lil Banshee Jr.

Best Overall

A real bow that’s simple to use, the Barnette Lil’ Banshee Jr. is ambidextrous – that means you won’t have to make a lot of adjustments before your child can use it. It has an improved soft grip handle which makes shooting more comfortable, and the draw weight and length are ideal for the build and abilities of young archers. It’s a good starter bow for kids who are ready to graduate from toy devices.

Recommended age: 8+
Left or right handed: Ambidextrous
Draw length: 18 – 22 inches
Draw weight: 18 lbs
Type: Real
What’s included: Bow, two arrows, adjustable pin sight

#2

upgrade choice

The adjustability of the Genesis Mini Kit is one of several of its standout features. It has a starting draw weight of 12 lbs, but adjusts easily to 6 lbs to facilitate use by younger or smaller archers. It comes with five arrows, which is more than any other set on this list. The adjustable arm guard adds an extra element of comfort and safety that isn’t present in some other models, and it’s available in nine unique colors and patterns, giving aesthetic options that are also unique to this bow.

Recommended age: 8+
Left or right handed: Left and right handed models available
Draw length: 14 – 25 inches
Draw weight: Set to 12 lbs, can adjust to 6 lbs
Type: Real
What’s included: Bow, belt tube quiver, adjustable arm guard, 5 aluminum arrows, 3/16 inch hex wrench

#3

Bear Archery Scout Youth Bow

Best Budget Buy

Bear is the number one manufacturer of youth and institutional archery gear in the United States, so it’s not surprising that their Bear Archery Scout Youth Bow holds up well under scrutiny. It’s a real ambidextrous bow with sturdy construction, a safe draw length and weight for younger users that’s versatile enough for sharing, and an arm guard for extra safety. The trusty bow is available in four different colors and is a durable option that’s a great first childhood pick.

Recommended age: 4 – 7 years
Left or right handed: Ambidextrous
Draw length: 16 – 24 inches
Draw weight: 8-13 lbs
Type: Real
What’s included: 2 safety glass arrows, bow, finger rollers, armguard, quiver

#4

Best Wooden Bow and Arrow

This Youth Wooden Bow and Arrows set is just the right size for younger users to perfect the form and function of using a bow with the safety to put parental minds at ease. The wooden bow shoots up to 25 feet, a nice distance for younger kids and beginners. The rubber tipped arrows won’t hurt, but this bow is still a good opportunity to teach kids about safe bow use without chance of major risk.

Recommended age: 3+
Left or right handed: Ambidextrous
Draw length: Toy
Draw weight: Toy
Type: Toy
What’s included: Bow, three arrows, quiver

#5

Toysery Bow and Arrow

Best Bow and Arrow Set for Girls

Archery is a great sport for building coordination and confidence, and getting girls involved in sports early is a good way to lead them toward later success. This Toysery bow and arrow set is the only one on this list which comes with a target, and the LED lights(powered by 2 AAA batteries, not included) are also totally unique to this set. Both features make this toy bow a great play activity for multiple kids.

Recommended age: 3+
Left or right handed: Ambidextrous
Draw length: Toy
Draw weight: Toy
Type: Toy
What’s included: Bow, quiver, 3 arrows, target

#6

If you’re looking for something reminiscent of a NERF gun, the Marky Sparky Faux Bow 3 might be exactly what you want. The oversized foam arrows are brightly colored, making them easy to locate and collect. The bow has a 100 foot range that’s impressive on a toy that’s suitable for younger users, and it’s a good hand eye coordination development tool. The arrows are ultra light, so even if you accidentally get pegged with one, it’s not likely to hurt too badly.

Recommended age: 8+
Left or right handed: Ambidextrous
Draw length: Toy
Draw weight: Toy
Type: Toy
What’s included: Bow, foam tipped ultra light arrows

#7

Zing Air Hunterz Z-Curve Bow

A toy bow specifically designed for older users, the Zing Air Hunterz Z-Curve Bow boasts an impressive range of 125+ feet. The bow utilizes safe foam or suction tipped arrows, and it’s an ideal choice for young teens getting into archery for the first time. It’s a good learning tool with none of the safety risks of a real bow, and the slightly larger size means even larger teens should have an easy time using it.

Recommended age: 14+
Left or right handed: Ambidextrous
Draw length: Toy
Draw weight: Toy
Type: Toy
What’s included: Bow, 2 arrows, 1 suction arrow, zip clip to hold arrows
FAQ

bow and arrow kids

FAQs: All you need to know

Q How do I know whether my child needs a right or left handed bow? 

A We went over this a little bit in the key features, but just in case you missed it – the bow your child needs isn’t explicitly determined by their dominant hand. Their eye dominance, meaning their stronger eye, is also a factor. If eye and hand dominance match, the choice is the dominant side. If eye dominance varies – a right handed child with left eye dominance, for example – pick the side corresponding with the dominant eye(a left handed bow, in this case). If you’re not sure how to determine eye dominance, see below.

Q How do I determine my child’s dominant eye? 

A If you’re lost when it comes to your child’s eye dominance, you’re not alone – but there’s a free, easy way to figure it out that nearly anyone can perform. Make a circle with your thumb and pointer finger, and have your child move your hand until the circle in midair perfectly surrounds a picture on your wall. Have them close their right eye and then their left eye. Whichever eye is closed when the picture moves out of the circle is the dominant eye. If you need another method, here are a couple other ways to determine eye dominance. 

Q What function do draw weight and length have in real bows?

A As we’ve already determined, draw weight is the force the archer must exert on the strong and draw length is the number of inches the string of the bow extends behind the archer when they are shooting. These two factors are important in determining both the distance and accuracy of the archer’s shot. A draw length that is too short will not allow for an arrow to be fired at a far distance, and a draw weight without the correct tension for a bow will create a crooked shot with additional distance impediments.

DIY, Craft and Décor: Ideas for RC Car lovers

Need a fun way to get the little ones involved in archery practice? This DIY bow and arrow set by Anna at The Imagination Tree is fun, easy and will make littles feel like part of the gang.

kids bow and arrow

What is a bow and arrows without a quiver? Michelle at the Ribbon Retreat shows us how to make these sweet, sturdy no sew DIY quivers that are perfect to accompany sets that don’t have a quiver included.

Every archer needs a target, and Allison at No More Flash Cards offers this kid made DIY archery target craft that could be a super fun inclusion in cooperative play or a birthday party or play date activity.

Quick Decision

Barnett 1072 Lil Banshee Jr. – Best Overall
The ideal draw weight and length for kids in an ambidextrous bow with a comfortable soft grip handle makes this a top choice.

Genesis Mini Kit – Upgrade Choice
The adjustable draw weight, color options and higher number of arrows set it apart from similar kits.

Bear Archery Scout Youth Bow – Best Budget Buy
It holds up, it’s made by a US top manufacturer and it doesn’t break the bank.

A yellow Nerf gun

NERF has dominated the toy dart gun and bow market for years, and their NERF Rebelle line designed specifically to encourage female participation is something parents love to see.

Hannah H.

Hannah H.

Hannah is both a parent and a freelance journalist and author. You go, girl! She is an impeccable wordsmith and her warm and witty outlook on life makes her pieces a joy to read.

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