Yesterday on our Facebook we linked to a New York Times article about the push for “girls'” archery options. With more and more books and movies prominently featuring strong, female leads with mad archery skills, it’s no surprise. We’re thrilled that this is something for which girls and boys are clamoring. But, if you read the NYT piece, you also know that “girls'” options are just what the Pink Aisle has led you to expect: pink, sparkly, and stereotyped. Today we’re covering some gender-fair options instead.
Katniss, Merida, and others have inspired a new generation of girls (and boys also, if the popularity of the Hunger Games books and movies is any indication). Archery is the children’s activity du jour. We think that’s pretty awesome — it’s strong and independent, and it involves a weapon that isn’t commonly used against other people.
Sadly, toy companies have seen the spike in young archers as an opportunity to perpetuate the notion that toys are for girls or boys. Since toys are toys, and children are clamoring for bows and arrows, we’ve decided to do the homework for you. We have three levels of options depending how serious your young archer is.
To counter the heavily stereotyped NERF options (“Rebelle?” Seriously?), we have a similarly priced choice: the Disney/Pixar Brave Merida Archery Bow and Arrow Set.
This is one of those times that you’re going to need to take it out of the packaging before you give it to your child — it isn’t super stereotyped but if your boy is sensitive to the notion something is “for girls,” (as most young children are), you’re not going to want to reveal it’s inspired by Brave. This is a child-safe set with suction arrows. They aren’t going to hurt themselves, the family dog, or anyone else. $35 for the set.
These are “real” arrows so you’re going to want to be sure you trust your young archer and instruct them in safety. And….maybe also leave the family dog inside. $20 for the set, $11 for the additional arrows.
Now, for the serious child archer, we turned to a Fair Play friend for a tip. He told us about a great option – Genesis makes the real deal and in plenty of colors.
Avoid the pink and you’re good to go. This one comes with a much higher price tag but if your child is actually going to take up archery as a sport, this one is the way to go. Approximately $150 depending on options, approximately $200 for a more comprehensive set. This is a lightweight bow for children as young as 5/6, but is adjustable to grow with them.
If your child still needs a little inspiration, check out the Hunger Games books and movies.
Personally, we will be sticking with Wii archery until someone is brave enough to give us a lesson. We vaguely recall having had lessons once as a child on a trip to Beaver Creek, CO, but if our Wii skills are any indication, they didn’t stick.
Gift Guide is a series in which we respond to YOUR requests for reviews for books, toys, movies, or anything else you can think of, for gift-giving or otherwise. As always, you can find most of our recommendations in our Amazon Storefront. Looking for something in particular? Leave us a note on our Facebook page or on our website at Request a Review and we’ll write you a post in response!