The idea for this bow and arrow design actually came from my son! Usually, bows are made from a strong but flexible piece of wood and a sturdy string. Ours is made from a sturdy, inflexible stick and rubber bands looped together. I wasn't sure it would work, but it does, and is really easy for the boys to manipulate.
I had the whole family search for 8 good sticks for our birthday party bows when we went for a walk. This was great fun in itself! I used a pocket knife to remove some of the bark on the sticks when waiting for the furnace cleaning guy to do his work in our garage. :)
The string part is actually rubber bands looped together. I used a stronger rubber band to connect the string of rubber bands to both ends of the stick.
We wanted to keep the party as non-violent as possible, so we made the targets spider webs. This fit with our theme of "A winter knight's tale" as the knights were doing tasks to keep busy in the winter before festival season, like cleaning the castle, practicing skills, exercising the falcons, etc.
I drew spider webs with a silver pen on black cardstock. I taped the cardstock onto cardboard box sides to make them sturdy. My plan was to stand them up on our deck outside and let the kids take turn shooting at it. However, it was snowing heavily, so we shot the bows and arrows inside, with the targets set on the couch. This worked just fine, but was a bit squishy. The futon couch caught most of the arrows so nothing got broken and no one got hurt, phew!
These are the ends of boxes I used for making shields. I had to hotglue one corner back together to get them to stand up on their own. We put 2 cans of food behind each web to steady them.
I had hoped that by dipping the arrow tips (pencil erasers) into flour, they'd leave a white mark on the black paper to record where the arrow had hit. This DIDN't work. Maybe coloring the ends with chalk next time? It didn't seem to matter. The boys were enthusiastic to hit the web anywhere and didn't need to keep a record.
I stored the bow and arrows in a festive painted box to match our party decorations until it was time for the knights to go home (before and after game).