What is the story with a bow and arrow on Lag BaOmer? There is a custom to play with bows and arrows on Lag BaOmer. Clearly this has nothing to do with hunting, given that hunting with bow and arrow is clearly out for people who keep kosher. This custom seems to have more than one reason which are symbolic rather than practical. See, for instance, the discussion in this post by Rabbi Ari Enkin. The most popular reason has to do with the students of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai pretending to shoot bows and arrows so the Romans would not know they were studying Torah.
Simple Bows and Arrows
I saw a fun, simple (and fairly safe) bow and arrow using popsicle sticks and dental floss, on The Brooding Hen that seemed like a great idea for Lag BaOmer. I would use pre-notched sticks if i had them around and rubber bands.
This also is a project for a quiver. This is a sewing project, but it could be done in a simpler manner for smaller children.
I don’t know if kids still make bows and arrows for Lag BaOmer. Update: My son just mentioned to me that there are those who have the custom to shoot bows and arrows on Lag BaOmer, and could we please please do that too? I didn’t say yes or no, but we got into a discussion about the physics of shooting arrows. We talked about how when you throw a ball, as the ball travels, gravity is pulling the ball down. Therefore, if you are targeting something, you have to throw the ball up rather than straight across, since it will curve downward along the way. We discussed how this can affect an arrow as well. We also talked about needing force to shoot an arrow. I stumbled over a blog post about trajectories of arrows which seemed relevant. There was another about geometry and arrows. Both seem like good tie ins to Lag BaOmer.
A good bow and arrow project for slightly older kids is one made of PVC, like this one from The Imagination Tree. One could also find a place to learn archery. One of the things I remember doing in camp as a kid, was archery. I don’t remember being particularly good at it, but it was interesting to learn.
Have you made a fun bow and arrow for Lag BaOmer?