With Bows and Arrows

My boys have been making homemade bows and arrows for themselves for as long as I can remember.  This week, Keats decided to make some for his sisters.  He is typically very patient with them, and has earned the title, “Best Big Brother,” from Beatrix.  Beatrix uses that title to get what she wants.  So for instance, she wants Keats to help her with something, but he’s busy and says, “No, not right now.”  Beatrix responds with, “But you’re my Best Big Brother!”  Maintaining that title is very important to Keats for some reason, so he drops what he’s doing and helps her.

Larkspur only required a little bit of help, learning to shoot her arrows.

Beatrix was more high maintenance.  We all crowded around the computer last night, the kids dying laughing over this series of photos of Beatrix trying to shoot an arrow.  Keats would help her get ready…

she would pull back with all her might…

and the arrow would slip.

Try again.


Keats to the rescue.

Dropped the arrow again.

She’s a good sport though and didn’t get frustrated.  I’m glad she can laugh at herself.  That’s an important skill to have.

Try again.

She did it!


  1. Ah ‘best big brother’ is lovely, it did make me smile. Good girl for keeping on trying until she did it 🙂

  2. Also, think you could convince Keats to write a guest blog about how he makes the bows and arrows? What’s the best material? Do you need a curved stick for the bow? etc., etc.

  3. Beatrix has the best hair of anyone on the entire Internet.

  4. Sebastian is like that…he’ll give in to Gemma wanting to play in his room with his Legos or something while he’s doing something else. It really gets on my Gabriel’s nerves, as he shares the room with Sebastian and doesn’t always relish Gemma in the room!

    I love those photos, and yes, the ability to laugh at one’s self is sorely missing in too many people.

  5. That’s just awesome. Wish I had half the patience (of Keats OR Beatrix!).


    PS: Ordinarily, I would never pump a Disney film, but I must say, Merida comes to mind…

  6. Oh how fun! That’s awesome Beatrix can laugh at herself. I always love when kids are able to do that. It took me YEARS (okay, I’m still working on it…). I would totally want to maintain my title as Best Big Brother if I were Keats too!

  7. Aw sweet! I’m going to have to show my son this. He would love to make his own bow and arrows.

  8. Beautiful post. They are so very blessed to have him as a big brother.

  9. My favorite thing about this post is Beatrix’s fuzzy sleepy hair in the back, so charming! She sure looks like a little firecracker (I have one of those too, her name is Mimi! 🙂

    I love the name Larkspur, I promise not to steal it for any future daughters (even though I might want to!).

  10. Completely warms my heart!

  11. oh bless! What a sweet post!

  12. favourite.blogpost.ever. Best big brother helping younger sisters, bed head, laughing instead of getting frustrated – it just warms my heart and I hope my kids do the same as they get older (well, we’ve got bedhead down).

  13. I so enjoy your photography. Today, well done Beatrix. Keats has such a kind heart.

  14. Precious! What a victory smile.

  15. Bea’s bedhead has to be the best ever. Really.

    And I loved seeing this post as my kids are fond of taking bits from the crepe myrtles to make their bows and arrows – resourceful and creative 🙂

  16. Love these pictures!! My girls do the same thing with the “best big brother” except their big brother is the only brother in our family. It cracks me up every time they say it 🙂

  17. I just asked Nolan (age 17) yesterday to please work with Abraham (age 5) to make a bow this spring – there has been many bows and arrows made in our home over the years.

  18. Can I say how relieved I am to know that my children are not the only ones going about their day with bed head?

  19. Going to try with my children.

  20. How very interesting.

  21. Ginny, My oldest would be in good company with your boys! He is so into bows and arrows…passionate, really. For his birthday two years ago, my husband made him a bow and arrow set and I made a quiver. I am a little shy to share it like this, but I thought your boys might want to make a quiver…it is far easier than I thought and very very beautiful. If you are interested, you can see it here http://alittlecraftynest.typepad.com/a-little-crafty-nest/2011/11/all-a-quiver-a-tutorial.html
    I also think it’s great your daughter can laugh at herself…we should all be so free!
    xo Jules

  22. Now that I look at it again, that tunic she’s wearing is rather Robin Hood-y looking, isn’t it? Great!

  23. Great photos, Ginny!! Keats is an angel, God bless his good heart. I think I’d end up laughing if I couldn’t get it either, but he doesn’t seem aggravated by her several failures.

    That puff of blonde fuzz on the back of her head is also comical!

  24. Oh! So cute.

  25. Such wonderful photos, adorable children and beautiful memories – parenting brings so many blessings x

  26. Does Keats have a tutorial for us? I’d love to make one for Athena. I am serious, by the way.

    • The boys use flexible new wood for the bows (we have young honey locust trees here that work well,) bend them and attach mason’s string. The bows don’t last forever, because once the wood dries out it breaks. They use pieces of dried out ornamental grass for the arrows, adding chicken feathers at one end, and points cut from can lids on the other. The can lids part scares me just a little!

  27. Ginny,
    Lots of interest in this post at my house! My son wants to know what they used for bow string. We have tried lots of strings over the years, but haven’t found the perfect string. Great pictures of a helping big brother.


  28. Even Queen Susan had to start somewhere. Hooray for bows and arrows and big brothers!

  29. I have pictures just like these. It’s so much fun to watch them make their own bows and arrows and then to watch them make them work as they wander around playing.

  30. How beautiful pictures of her, laughing, trying and her brother helping, cute memories, so good you have them in pictures.

  31. Persistence is definitely a good trait. I notice that my oldest shines when labeled best big brother.

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