Games, Challenges and Competitions

Archery Games and Challenges

For some reason archery is a staple of camp. Most camps have archery in their collection of camp activities, and campers either love it or hate it. They aren’t the only ones, though. Camp archery instructors are usually excited to be leading the activity during the first week. After that they wonder why they took the job. New instructors quickly find out how big of a responsibility leading archery is. Keeping everyone safe and entertained at an archery course is no easy task.

Many of the campers will have been through the whole archery thing during previous summers. The number one rule is safety, but once that is taken care of it’s best to introduce some new challenges on the archery field. Here are some games that will keep the campers (and the instructors) engaged and excited about the archery program.

Balloons

This is the basic, carnival style challenge. Pop a balloon. Spice it up a bit by adding sheets of paper, fortune cookie size, inside the balloons. Some may say “You won 2 credits for the camp store” or “Not a winner” You can also place a piece of candy (Jolly Ranchers are good) in each balloon. You pop it, you win it.

Targets

Don’t want to blow up balloons or the hay keeps popping them? How about setting up some targets. No, not the usual round bulls-eye target. Try a target of a happy face, animal, circus clown, alien, zombie, camp director, Big Foot, etc. Take some butcher paper and have the crafts director draw out the shape of whatever target you want.

Archery Golf

Okay, this one is a bit dangerous if you, the instructor, are not in control of your group.

Again, safety first. Each camper gets one arrow and a bow. Label the arrow so that the campers know which one is theirs. Before the game begins you should have set up targets around the camp (in places that other campers or staff will not be). Each camper goes one at a time. They shoot their arrow towards the target which should be far enough away that a decent archer would hit the target in three shots (par 3). Once all the campers have shot their arrows the group moves together to the closes arrow. That camper then shoots their arrow again. Now the group moves to the next closest. This, of course, is to make sure that everyone is behind the archer(s), in the safety zone.

This game takes a responsible leader to maintain safety, but it’s a lot of fun and the campers will really enjoy it for at least 5 rounds. By the way, filling large trash bags with hay and spray painting them orange make for great archery golf targets.

Shooting Range

Set up targets at different ranges along with some coffee cans, balloons, stuffed animals, playing cards, pillows, apples and anything else you can think of. The campers will enjoy shooting at various objects. This is like the shooting galleries you see at amusement parks or large arcades.

Piñata

Hang a piñata and let the archers take turn trying to bust it open. Make sure nobody runs onto the archery field when the piñata falls.

Distance

Get to a large open field and see who can shoot an arrow the farthest.

Beat the Instructor

One archer from each cabin group will try to outshoot the instructor. This can be an evening event where the whole camp gathers around. If the camper beats the instructor there should be a prize, evening snacks for the cabin group, throwing a pie in the face of the instructor, points added to a color war competition, or something along those lines.

More Great Ideas

Want even more great ideas. Check out my resource Over 40 Ideas to Spice Up Your Archery Program.

10 Comments

  • I’m glad I found this! Yesterday I spent some time thinking of ways that a week-long “Archery” themed camp for grades 4-6th could make archery fun while working on their skills. I love archery, but often staring at the same FITA target loses the thrill.

    Here is the list I came up with, and it all really depends on whats available at your camp and rules for campers while practicing archery.

    Darts: Classic dart games such as cricket, or 301 can be played with a target drawn up to be a dart board. Players get three tries each round until the game is won.

    Mosquitoes: Rather than a classic FITA target, mosquitoes are drawn up on poster board or wood, with the various body parts of the bug being worth different points. This makes it fun and different for archers who have practiced with a target often. Other posters can be used to liven up the archery!

    Poker: Poker and other card games can be played as well. For Poker, all the cards in a deck are taped/placed onto the target. Players shoot five arrows into five cards, once done the player who won the best “hand” wins. It is recommended to remove each player’s five cards after their turn, to avoid confusion.

    Pairs: The first player to hit a pair of matching cards, or matching drawings wins. Cards can be face down or face up.

    Connect Four: A “checkerboard” target is set up and taking turns, the first archer to connect four squares in a row wins. Color-code or mark arrows to avoid confusion.

    Monopoly: “Chance” and “Community Chest” type cards are posted onto a target face down. As players hit their cards they either receive points or have points deducted. Create your own cards, phrases such as “you’ve hit a personal best, add 20pts” or “you missed the target, breaking an arrow, deduct 20pts” are suggested.

    Raffle Balloons: Raffle tickets corresponding to various “prizes” are placed inside balloons. As archers hit balloons and pop them, they win the prize inside. Continue until all archers have a prize. Candy may be used.
    For an “amazing race” event this challenge may be used to create a “map” or clues to the next challenge.

    Aqua Archery: Archers attempt to shoot through targets (floating rings) set up and anchored in the pool (or lake). Pool needs to be free of non-archers, obviously. Floating/foam arrows rather than actual arrows may be more useful and wont damage the arrows.

  • these are great ideas. I am the archery instructr at a sleep away camp and i ran theese ideas by our director and he loved them.
    I am sure my campers will love them.

  • Archery Noughts and crosses.
    Archery Pin the tail on the donkey.
    Archery Relay.
    Archery Blind Man Bluff.
    Archery Bowling.
    Archery Pinata.
    Archery 4 In a Row.
    Archery Monopoly.
    Pairs.
    All of these can be found online with full description.
    Fantastic page with brillian ideas.
    All work really well with the kids at my camp.

    • Sweet list, Joanna. Looks like you’re the kind of archery instructor that likes to keep things fun and interesting. Love it!

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