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Archery is a great sport for kids to get into. It promotes focus and discipline and is a skill that is useful for hunting and fishing. It also promotes self-confidence; there’s nothing like the feeling you get after hitting that tricky target.
The right equipment is essential for anyone practicing archery, but it is especially crucial for a child to get into the basics. The wrong equipment could hinder them from being able to enjoy the sport, or worse, get them hurt. Even an experienced young archer needs the right equipment to thrive.
In this article, I’ll help you find the best kids’ archery equipment, no matter their age or skill level.
What Equipment Will My Child Need?
The equipment your child will need will vary slightly based on the type of archery they choose to pursue, but the basic needs stay the same. One important thing to remember, especially for your wallets’ sake, is that as they grow older and get stronger, you will need to upgrade their equipment. It is best to start small and as their interest grows, and they get physically stronger, upgrade the gear as necessary.
The essential gear for any archer is as follows:
- Arm Guard
- Finger Tab, Glove (for Recurve Bows), or Release (for Compound Bows)
- Bow case
- Target, or something to aim at
Depending on the type or discipline of archery, your child may need a release aid or finger tab. I’ll touch more on these later.
One more thing to consider is purchasing an archery set. These come with most or all of the things needed for a new archer, especially a very young child. For an older or more experienced child, it may be best to purchase higher-quality items separately.
The bow that your child needs will be based upon the discipline of archery, and this discipline may be determined by age since the type of bows needed for different disciplines may need a higher bow weight and draw weight.
There are two main types of bows used recreationally: the recurve bow and the compound bow.
Recurve bows are the most common bow used for beginners. They are also the only bows allowed to be used in competition, so if competitive archery is your child’s goal, it is best to have them train using a recurve.
They are typically lighter in weight, making it a great option for younger kids. However, the draw weight is sometimes higher. Because they are not mechanized like compound bows, there are fewer parts to maintain and upkeep, which is helpful for you and your wallet.
Here, I’ll list a few great recurves for beginner archers and small kids, plus a couple for more practiced young archers:
- SAS Spirit Jr. This is a smaller set, but with several different sizes to choose from, making it a great beginner option for a child of any size.
- Bear Archery Flash. This is a bow for an older child aged eleven or older, however, if your younger child has some experience with archery, this would be a good second bow.
- Bear Archery Titan. The Titan Bow is a perfect fit for a kid with a couple years of experience. It has a unique feature; it is an ambidextrous bow.
- SAS Snake. This will be the perfect bow for any intermediate archer. It comes in a few different sizes to find the perfect fit for your child. This is also an ambidextrous option.
Since recurve bows are typically shot with the fingers, a finger tab, which I mentioned earlier, is a good idea to purchase. Your child can use a glove, but finger tabs are more comfortable and allow the hand more movement.
The compound bow is a mechanized bow. Has pulleys and levers which bend the bow limbs. These typically have a lower draw weight but a heavier bow weight, though there are many lightweight options.
These are most often used for target shooting and hunting, as they typically are more powerful, and lower draw weight aids with accuracy. If you are teaching your child how to bow hunt, starting with a compound bow may be a great option.
There is much more customization available for compound bows because of the internal mechanisms. For example, you can easily adjust the draw weight of the bow, something that is not as easily done, or sometimes impossible, on a recurve bow.
The release aid mentioned earlier is almost always necessary for a compound bow. It is essentially a trigger that releases the arrow from the bow. Release aids are sold separately, but the bow you purchase should have a recommended release aid listed.
Below are some great beginner compound bows:
- Genesis Youth Compound Bow. The Genesis youth bow is perfect for young archers. It is remarkably low weight and has a low and adjustable draw weight. The intended ages are three to seven.
- Bear Archery Brave. As you saw with the recurve bows, Bear Archery provides high-quality bows for a great price. The Brave is a beginner compound bow and is intended for ages seven and up.
- Bear Archery Apprentice Compound Bow for Kids. This compound bow is designed for children as young as 4 years old. The Apprentice offers a 14″-24″ draw length range with a draw weight range of 6-13.5 lbs. Brace height: 8.5″. This is a simple and easy to get going bow to get your little one started in compound bow archery.
Note: It is important to find a bow that is meant for your child’s dominant hand and eye. The bow’s description will detail whether the bow is left-handed or right-handed.
Most youth bows will come with a bowstring. However, this will need to be replaced soon afterward because the strings that come with bows are typically not high quality and wear out easily. Once it is replaced with a high-quality bowstring, it should about three years if well-maintained, even on a bow used frequently.
Recurve Bow String
Choosing the right recurve bow string has a couple of different factors: draw weight of the bow and bow length.
The draw weight will affect how many strands the string will need. Here is an easy-to-read table for reference:
|Draw Weight||10 -30 lbs||31 -40 lbs||41+ lbs|
|Strand Count and Material||10 – 12 strand Dacron or |
12 – 14 strand Dyneema
|14 strand Dacron or |
16 strand Dyneema
|16 strand Dacron or |
18 – 20 strand Dyneema
The bow length will determine how long the bowstring needs to be. Generally, the string will need to be three inches shorter than the bow length. For example, if your child’s bow is sixty inches, a fifty-seven-inch string is recommended.
Another thing to note, if you want to restring your child’s recurve bow, it is best to use a bow stringer. These are inexpensive and easy to learn how to use. This is the safest method for restringing a bow for both you and the bow. A bow that is not strung properly can break or malfunction and cause injury.
Compound Bow String
Compound Bowstrings come in pieces. There is the main bowstring that runs the length bow length and cables that connect the cams of the bow. The bow that you purchase will either have the string measurements you need written on the bow itself, or you can find them in the user manual.
To restring your child’s compound bow, you will need to take it into an archery shop. While it is possible to do it at home, you will need to purchase a bow press. These are pricey, and there is a steep learning curve for using it and restringing the bow properly. Just like a recurve bow, if a compound bow is not strung properly, it can break or malfunction and cause injury.
Custom Bow Strings
Once they become more interested and excited about new equipment, many young archers like to add a touch of personality to their bow. Custom strings are perfect for adding some color and character to a bow.
The colors to choose from are almost endless. Some are solid-colored, and some are multicolored, and for a compound bow where several strings are needed, you can have a different color for each one. This is a fantastic addition for any young archer.
A bow case is necessary to store your child’s bow when the bow is not in use. The type of bow case your child will need will depend on a few factors:
- Type of bow
- Size of bow
Type of Bow
This may seem obvious, but the type of bow will affect the type of case you need, so recurve bows, and compound bows require a different type and size of the case.
For a recurve bow, you have two options in terms of size. You can find cases that are the full length of the bow, meaning you won’t need to disassemble it to store it, but they are larger in size. You can also find cases that are smaller in size, but you or your child will need to disassemble the bow.
For a compound bow, there’s only one size option for a case, and that is to place a full-sized bow into it. It is not common practice to take a compound bow apart for storage because of the mechanical parts.
Size of Bow
The smaller size of your child’s bow means that the bow case does not need to be as large as a larger sized bow.
You may be tempted to buy a larger case for your child’s bow so that there is no need to purchase a larger sized case in the future, as your child and their bow size will grow, but this is not a good idea. The extra room in the case will allow the bow to move and shift in the case during travel, and this can cause damage to the bow. Always buy the appropriately sized case.
Taking into consideration the type and extent of traveling your child will do with their bow is important. If the bow will be traveled with often, such as to and from archery lessons, it is highly recommended that you purchase a hard case rather than a soft case. A hard case yields a lot more protection. If the bow will stay home most of the time, then a soft case is a good option.
If your child will be taking the bow on airline trips, as for competitions and tournaments, a hard case is absolutely necessary to avoid damage, and you will need to be sure the case is rated for airline travel.
The arrows your child will need will vary on the type and size of the bow. There are different types of arrows for both recurve and compound bows. Recurve archers will typically use carbon arrows, while compound archers will most likely do well with either aluminum or carbon arrows.
Many kids’ archery sets will come with fiberglass arrows. There isn’t necessarily a problem, but carbon arrows are more accurate and durable. If your child is interested in wanting to learn and make it a serious sport, it is best to go with carbon arrows.
One of the most important factors in choosing the right arrows is to make sure the arrows are not too long or too short. Incorrectly sized arrows can be dangerous to the archer and cause serious injury.
A quiver is what holds the arrows so that they are in a convenient, easy-to-reach spot. This is especially important in competition, tournaments, and hunting. There are a few different places an archer can wear their quiver:
- Their back
- Their hip
- On the bow
Some archers prefer their quiver on the ground, depending on how they like to shoot. This is a great idea for bowhunters who like to lay low.
Back-worn quivers are more commonly used, but some archers prefer their arrows on their hip or to attach their quiver to their bow. I recommend letting your child experiment with their quiver placement to see which style they prefer.
An arm guard, or bracer, is used for safety and comfort purposes. It is used to keep the fabric from sleeves away from the bowstring and to protect the arm from getting hit with the string. This is essential for recurve archers because after the arrow is released from the bowstring, it often bounces back and hits the forearm.
They are commonly made of leather material because it is durable and can withstand many bowstring hits. There are many inexpensive options online; nothing fancy or top-of-the-line is needed here, just simple protection.
If your child will be using his or her bow and arrow, which I assume they will be, they will need something to aim for and hopefully hit. You can purchase packs of targets for a low cost, and they work well for casual, everyday practice. These are especially helpful if your young one is training to hunt.
One very good option for a higher quality target is the RhinoBlock by Rhinehart Targets.
The first thing that sticks out about the RhinoBlock is the 3D outline of Rhino vitals that represent a set of targets. When you flip it over, there are several tiny targets that allow you to work on being accurate. If you hunt for smaller game, the small targets give you appropriate shot practice without sacrificing the same spot on the target.
One of the best things about RhinoBlock is that you can remove and replace the rhino insert to match whatever animal you want. When ordering, you should look for your type of animal and request it with the order. They will send a couple of different inserts, and choosing the appropriate target face gives you an accurate hunting simulation.
The RhinoBlock is an excellent choice for an archery target for the following reasons:
- Unique Design – Let’s face it; the target looking like a Rhino in the wild is fun and unique. While you may never hunt the animal, having a silhouette on your target is the next best thing. Shooting targets is practice but should also be fun. Unique targets can add some spice to practice.
- Removable Panels – RhinoBlock makes all their targets with a removable panel. The panel can be swapped out when it has taken too many shots, and a new one can be inserted in its place. The removable panel makes the target last for much longer than a standard box target.
RhinoBlock is a favorite among bowhunters and with good reason. The targets are solidly made and provide ample density to stop arrows above 400 fps. Their ability to be placed in any terrain and blend in is also a great asset. As your hunting skill progresses, this target will be right there by your side.
The most important piece of equipment for your child, or anyone wanting to practice archery, is their bow. It is important that it is the correct size for them so that they are able to enjoy it and use it properly and safely. It is also important that their arrows are accurate and durable and the correct size for their bow.
After these two things, the equipment your child will need is specific to the bow, and as long as the features of the bow are taken into account, you will have no issues finding the right equipment. Beyond the bow components, the equipment your child will need is for safety or convenience purposes.
After reading this article, you should have all the information you need to get the equipment your child needs to get a good start in archery, just be sure to follow good safety guidelines and have a qualified person for them to train with.
I live in Alberta, Canada where I enjoy indoor and 3D archery with traditional bows and compound bows. On this site, I share everything I’ve learned about archery along the way.