All our Mini Adventures

Make a Bow & Arrow

Making a wooden Bow & Arrow is a fun and simple way to introduce the kids to wood whittling.

As an amateur wood whittler, I was a little concerned that helping the children to make these bow and arrows would be beyond my abilities. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy this was and even more surprised at just how good these bow and arrows are!

childrens wood whittling
Ready, aim….

Kit List:

  • Pen knife or sharp knife
  • String
  • 1 x large, thick leaf (eg Magnolia or Red Robin)
  • A collection of sticks (details below)


Though it’s good to introduce children to wood whittling, make sure they’re always supervised with knives! There’s a great introduction to children’s wood whittling by the Woodland Trust here

How to make a Bow and Arrow:

1. Find some sticks
We used Hazel because it’s particularly pliable. Make sure the sticks are straight and freshly cut (otherwise they’ll break)

This is a great opportunity to go rambling in the woods (maybe at the weekend if you don’t live near any woods) in order to find the perfect stick.

For the bow – the stick should be about thumb width and about shoulder height in length (measure this against the child using it!)
For the arrow – about little finger width

Trim off any side shoots to make the bow and arrow sticks as straight as possible so they don’t rub / cut any little hands

childrens bushcraft
FIRE!!!

2. The Bow
Carve a notch into each end of the bow stick, about 1 inch from the end. Tie the string in a knot around one end of the bow. Then bend the bow slightly to measure how long your string needs to be.

Once measured, cut the string to the correct length. Make a loop at the end of the string and hook this on to the 2nd notch at the opposite end of the bow.

*Keeping the bow length of wood straight when it’s not in use will ensure the string is taught as the wood dries. The loop will allow you to easily unhook the bow when it’s not in use.

That’s the bow finished.

making the bow
Measure the string and loop around the top of the bow

3. The Arrows
Use a knife to split the end of the arrow where the leaf will be.
The split should be the same length as the leaf plus an extra inch.

Place the leaf length ways into the split. Tie some string around the end of the arrow to hold the split together. This split will also act as the hook to connect the bow and arrow together when taking aim.

We kept the ends of our arrows blunt because I didn’t much fancy the kids shooting sharp arrows at each other….

And that’s it! Now you’re all set to head out for some bow and arrow battles!

Robin Hood and Little John

Watch Robin Hood and Little John in action…. Robin Hood is the master of the bow, whereas Little John is unimpressed with his shot….

Related link:
Find more family Mini-Adventure ideas here.