We love practicing archery in our backyard. As time went on we looked for more ways to make archery fun. I’ve come up with this list of fun archery games for kids. Adults can also have fun playing these games, and you’ll improve your archery skills just by playing.
Archery Games For Kids List:
- Pop Balloons
- Shatter Shooter
- Color Pop
- Fruit Shoot
- Pinata Shoot
- Split The Arrow
- Olympic Games
- Archery Golf
- Robin Hood
- Tic Tac Toe
- Candle Shoot
- Card Pairs
- Combat Archery Tag
These games are a great way to keep interested and practicing archery. Many kids will feel discouraged if they don’t see improvement in their skills right away. These games will keep them wanting to play, and help them naturally start to improve over time.
1. Pop Balloons
This game reminds me of going to a fair and throwing darts at a board trying to pop balloons to win a prize. What you do is blow up some balloons to different inflate levels. Making some balloons bigger and some balloons smaller. Then tape them to a target and see who can shoot the most balloons.
You can give point values to the different size balloons and keep track by color. For example, all your small balloons are blue, medium balloons are yellow, and big balloons are red.
How To Play:
- Inflate balloons to three different sizes
- Assign point values to the size of balloon (5, 10, and 15 points for example)
- Attach balloons to a target (tape works well)
- Archers take turns shooting one arrow at a time at the target
- If the archery pops a balloon, the balloon value is added to their score
- Tally up the points when all balloons have been popped
This is a good way to change the target you’re aiming at. Many archery will get complacent always aiming at the center of a target every time. Instead the archer needs to focus on hitting a particular balloon, preferably the smaller high value balloons.
2. Shatter Shooter
This game can create quite a mess, but is a great way to get rid some old ornaments rather than throwing them out. What you do is hang some old Christmas ornaments on a target and take turns trying to shatter them. You can fill the ornaments with glitter or something to make the shot more exciting when someone hits it.
Also consider using some clay targets if you don’t have ornaments. Clay targets are typically used in competition shooting matches. They brake very easily and most of the brands I’ve seen are biodegradable. So no mess to clean up afterwards.
How To Play:
- Hang old ornaments or clay targets on an archery target
- Archers take turns shooting one arrow at a time
- Partial shatters count as half a point (or however you decide to rule)
- Once all the ornaments or clay targets are shattered, tally up the score
- The archer with the most hits wins
There’s something about hitting what you were aiming at and watching it shatter that makes this game so fun. Consider making some targets for archer 1 and some targets for archer 2. If you hit a target that isn’t yours, you can lose points. This will help train the archery to focus and narrow in their shot group.
3. Color Pop
This is a fun game that the kids get excited for. We’ve done this with water bottles and some food coloring before, but you can also use water balloons and food coloring instead. What you do is fill some water balloons with water and add some colored dye like food coloring for example. When you hit the balloon with an arrow, the colorful water splashes out.
How To Play:
- Fill balloons up with water
- Add colored dye before tying off the balloon (food coloring)
- Hang the balloons on a target
- Archery take turns trying to pop the water balloons
- The archery who pops the most water balloons wins
We like this game because the clean up is pretty easy, just have the kids pick up balloon pieces for a Popsicle when you’re done playing. It’s so cool seeing the balloon burst open with color when it gets hit too. Everyone will cheer with every balloon pop no doubt.
4. Fruit Shoot
If you have some fruit that’s gone bad, instead of just throwing it away, why not shoot it. Hanging some apples or pears in front of a target is always a popular options. But also, melons and pumpkins make perfect archery targets. Get creative, if you’re planning on tossing it anyway, entice the kids to practice archery by telling them they can do a fruit shoot.
How To Play:
- Gather fruit and vegetables to shoot at (apples, oranges, pears, pumpkin, watermelon, etc..)
- Hang or place the fruit in front of a target
- Archers take turns shooting at fruit
- Every fruit hit is worth a point
- The archery with the most points wins
For the bigger foods like cantaloupe or pumpkin, you might even be able to draw a little target on them with more points for center hits. This is really just a cool way to get the kids to practice more. Tell them they can shoot a pumpkin, and they’ll be running to put on their gear.
5. Pinata Shoot
This is a great game to play at birthday parties, and no one would say no to playing because you get candy afterwards. Simply take a regular pinata, hang it in front of an archery target or backstop, and shoot it. If it’s at a birthday party, many people usually will want to take turns shooting the pinata.
How To Play:
- Fill a regular pinata with candy of your choice
- Hang pinata in front of an archery target or backstop
- Take turns shooting the pinata
- When candy falls out, the game is over
Sometimes it can take quite a few arrows to open up a pinata all the way. You may want to let people shoot the pinata, but then just bust it open the old fashioned way with a bat and blindfold.
6. Split The Arrow
This is a fun way to improve an archery accuracy, but don’t worry, you won’t be splitting an actual arrow. Instead you can attach an empty cardboard paper towel roll to the target and decorate it with fletching (arrow fins). The archers will try to shoot their arrow into the paper towel roll to ‘split the arrow’.
How To Play:
- Attach an empty cardboard paper towel roll to a target with the open end facing the archers
- Add fins to the paper towel roll to make it look like an arrow (optional)
- Archers will try to shoot their arrow into the paper towel roll
- The archer with the most arrows in the paper towel roll wins
This is such an easy game to set up, and very fun to play too. Consider putting more than one arrow to split (paper towel roll) on the target. Assign arrows to split to different archers, or assigning point values to the different locations of split arrows on the target.
Horse is a game typically played on the basketball court, but the archery version can be just as much fun. To start, have every archer take a shot at the target, the closest to bullseye gets to go first. There is a real advantage to going first in Horse, read the how to play instructions below to find out why.
How To Play:
- The first archer decides the conditions a shot must be made in and makes their shot (distance, angle, arrow location, etc..)
- If the first archer makes their intended shot, every other archer now also needs to make that shot or incur a letter (first letter ‘H’)
- If the first archer misses their intended shot, the next archer will decide conditions and make a shot
- When an archer racks up enough letters to spell ‘HORSE’ they are out.
- The last archer left is the winner
This game is a fun way for the archers to challenge each other. Of course, the archer setting the conditions wants to be able to make the shot and force the other archers to do the same. But you’ll have to make the shots harder if you want to knock the other archers out of the game.
8. Olympic Games
This game tries to mimic the condition Olympic archers are in when they compete. You will need two players as it’s a 1 on 1 game of skill. You will setup a standard 10 ring target with point values increasing as you get closer to the center ring. Each archer will shoot a set number of arrows and tally their points.
How To Play:
- Set up a standard 10 ring target to shoot at
- Only two players can play at a time
- Each archer will shoot 5 arrows and tally up their points
- The archer with the most points wins
Here is an example of a standard 10 ring target, I will also put a download link so you can print this out and use it yourself. You could always buy these at a local archery club for pretty cheap. But for some fun shooting in the backyard, it doesn’t have to exactly match an Olympic target.
9. Archery Golf
Almost everyone I know has heard of golf, but their ears still perk up when I say archery golf. You will need many shooting locations to play this game. It can be played with just one range/backstop, but it’s a lot more fun to treat it like real golf with holes you need to move to.
To setup the course you’re going to want at least a few different targets to shoot at. You can make it more fun by taping a paper cup to the target and calling that the hole. The players will make their rounds through the course getting an arrow in the hole before they can move on. The goal is to shoot as few arrows as possible and complete all the holes.
How To Play:
- Set up the course (6 holes or more works best)
- Tape a paper cup to the target to act as the ‘hole’
- Archers must shoot an arrow into the ‘hole’ before they can advance to the next location
- The archer who shoots the least amount of arrows to complete all holes wins the game
For the younger archers still working on their archery skills, consider setting a 5 arrow limit at each hole. That way if they can’t seem to sink an arrow, they don’t get too frustrated.
I mentioned earlier that this can be played with only one shooting location. You can do this by taping multiple paper cups to one target, each acting as a hole the archer must complete. The game is still fun to play this way, but archers end up waiting long periods of time before they can shoot.
Here’s a video of an archer playing a round of archery golf:
10. Robin Hood
The robin hood archery game is all about distance shooting. The archer that gets to the longest distance in increments of 10 feet, is crowned robin hood, and the other archers are the merry men. You can even get a little green robin hood hat for them to wear as a symbol of excellence.
Be careful of archers shooting at farther distances in this game. It’s best if only one archer is on the field at a time because the archers will end up shooting at different distances throughout the game. You want to avoid a situation where one archer is shooting past another.
How To Play:
- Set an area on the target that the archers must hit to move to a further distance
- Set the distance the archers will be shooting from (every 10-20 feet works well)
- All archers will start at a close distance (10 yards or so)
- When an archer hits the designated area on the target, they will move to a further distance
- If an archer misses the designated area on a target they must move to a closer distance
- The archer that reaches the furthest distance will be crowned robin hood
This game will help train the archers accuracy and distance shooting abilities. The winner gets to gloat that they are robin hood until the next time the game is played. Take it one step further and require that everyone call the winner ‘robin hood’ for the rest of the day.
11. Tic Tac Toe
This is a fun game and isn’t very hard to setup. You will need a cardboard box, or be ok with putting tape on your target. Simply tape a pound sign (hash tag, octothorp) to a target or cardboard box (duct tape or electrical tape work). Make the pound sign the size of the target or cardboard box, so it looks like a giant tic tac toe board. You should end up with a total of 9 evenly space squares.
How To Play:
- Archers will shoot one arrow at the target, the archer with the closest arrow to the center will go first
- Archers will take turns shooting at the target, playing tic tac toe with their arrows
- If an arrow hits the line (tape) it doesn’t count (optional)
- If a player hits a square another player already has, the arrow doesn’t count
- The first player to get three squares in a row wins (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally)
I find it easiest to just use a target we already have and some electrical tape. The electrical tape peels off pretty easily if you ever want to use that target again anyway. If you want to make a cardboard target specifically for tic tac toe, I suggest the cardboard box target in my Make Your Own Archery Target article.
Here’s what a few rounds of archery tic tac toe might look like:
12. Candle Shoot
This game should be played with adult supervision. It’s an accuracy game with a fun twist that gets kids excited to practice archery. Set up a candle in front of your target, and try to blow out the candle without knocking it over. Try setting up a few candles and see who can extinguish the most candles fastest.
Do not play this game if you’re using a hay bale backstop. Remove any flammable materials from the area. Very often the candle will get knocked over, but not get extinguished. This can be a fun and safe game as long as you take the necessary precautions.
How To Play:
- Only with adult supervision
- Place some candles in front of a target and light them
- Try to blow out the candles without knocking them over or breaking them
- Set time limits to improve shot time
- The archer who blows out the candles with the least amount of arrows wins the game
If you can, find different lengths of candles to give the archer an assortment of target heights to aim for. This game will improve the archers accuracy. If you’re not sure you want to use lit candles for safety reasons, consider hanging some ping pong balls that the archers must hit instead.
13. Card Pairs
Archery card games are very popular among archers of any age, but kids can play to help improve their archery skills too. The most popular archery card games are poker and card pairs. To setup the card pairs game, you’ll need to select a bunch of playing cards from a deck making sure each card has a pair to go with it. For example, pick 2 kings and 2 aces etc.
How To Play:
- Select playing cards from a deck in pairs (2 kings, 2 queens, etc..)
- Tape cards onto target in a random order
- Archers will take turns shooting at the cards
- When an archer gets an arrow through both cards of a pair, they get a point (a pair)
- If an archer hits a card already hit by another archer, that arrow doesn’t count
- The archer with the most pairs wins the game
I talked about archery poker being another popular archery card game. Archery poker is played similarly to card pairs except you would tape the whole deck of cards to the target. Archers will shoot 5 arrows, and the cards they hit will be there hand. The best poker hand wins the game.
Archery card games are a great way to practice archery with a group, but are also fun for kids and will help improve accuracy. You can use card games to train alone, but it’s a lot more fun to play with groups of people over for a cookout or bonfire.
Here’s a video of some guys playing archery poker to give you an idea of how it goes:
14. Combat Archery Tag
Combat archery tag has it’s own community of players and a handful of great archery games all on it’s own. Think of it like paintball or nerf wars, except with bows and arrows. You need to use special arrows with foam tips and a bow that has under a 30 lb draw weight. To get more detailed information, check out my Combat Archery Tag Beginners Guide.
This is a great way to get anyone practicing archery. Running around shooting each other turns training, into a fun filled day of action. Many of the games are team based, like capture the flag for example. So it’s a great way to improve your archery, while building social skills and working a team.
How To Play:
- Requires foam tipped Combat Arrows
- Requires bow with less than 30 lb draw weight
- Face shield and arm guard are suggested
- Archers will shoot arrows at each other to ‘tag’ or eliminate enemy players
There are many ways to play combat archery tag. For example, team death match, medic, protect the king, and capture the flag are some popular combat archery games. Check out my article, 8 Combat Archery Tag Games for some of the most popular ways to play.
You do need special equipment to play combat archery tag, like arrows and a face mask. But many people already have a bow they can use, we prefer to use youth bows because of the low draw weight. This article, How Much Does Combat Archery Tag Cost will help explain what you can expect to pay. It’s totally worth the investment, everyone wants to improve their archery skills, especially when it involves playing fun games.
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