I was so inspired by this Tiny Bow & Arrow set that I saw on the Brooding Hen and thought it would be a perfect activity to try out for Medieval Month! Not to mention my 6-year-old is fascinated with bows and arrows — and a popsicle / q-tip combo seemed like the perfect starter set for him!
In all honesty, much of the actual assembly of the bow is largely a grown-up task (that is, if you have average fine-motor skilled 6-and-unders). But the good news is that it goes quickly (once your popsicle sticks are pliable – plan ahead!), and then your little knights can be let loose for target practice.
All you need is:
- A few popsicle sticks (might as well do several while you’re at it)
- Dental floss
- Cotton swabs
- Sharp knife or scissors (for the grown-up – to notch the stick and cut one end off the cotton swab)
Start by cutting two notches into your popsicle sticks on each end. You’ll want them close to the end of the stick, and fairly deep (I ended up going back and cutting them a little deeper than I have in this photo.)
Then, pop your sticks in a glass of water to soften (so you can bend them into the bows.) You’ll need at least an hour for this step — and a little longer didn’t seem to hurt it.
When you’re ready to “bend your bow”, start by wrapping the dental floss around one end. I just wrapped it around 3-4 times, securing it in the notch. Then, holding the stick in one hand, stretch the dental floss to the notch on the other end — but take care to keep the floss on the same side. Note: the popsicle stick is not especially “bendy”, so you will need to bend it to shape with one hand, as you stretch the floss tightly across.
Then just wrap the floss around the other end of the stick, again pulling it taut and tightly into the notch. I just wrapped it a few times again, and then cut it off.
Your bow is ready to go! Your knights can decorate it with markers if they’d like to personalize them (we didn’t have the patience.)
Remember to snip the ends off your cotton swabs (you could also put your kids to work on this, using a set of nail clippers.)
It takes a bit of practice to get the motion down for shooting this teeny bow and arrow, but once you do, it’s great fun! We found we could shoot those little arrows 10 feet or more! You could set up targets (using bowls or waste baskets to shoot into, or make bulls-eyes with cardboard & paper) for extra fun.