Learning To Play Darts With Children

Learning To Play Darts With Children: Why, When & How?

Alex Moss |

Learning To Play Darts With Children: Why, When & How?

Darts is enjoying a big resurgence right now with thousands of young boys and girls wanting to try the game out for the first time. The emergence of Luke Littler at the 2024 PDC World Darts Championship, and his run to the final at Alexandra Palace as a 16-year-old newcomer, attracted headlines worldwide and has inspired youngsters to play darts for themselves.

We will answer any questions you might have around children playing darts. From the best equipment to use to how to keep the game safe, this article will also give you some advice on the best way to learn darts and how to play darts for children who have not played the game before.

When and why should children play darts?

There are many reasons why darts is a suitable game for children and families to play and why it might be good for them. Later we will discuss the various options of darts and dartboards available and who they are most suited for, but first we want to explain why darts is a great activity for children and the whole family to enjoy.

Darts is a fun and competitive game for children to play, whilst teaching them about how to follow rules and demonstrate sportsmanship from an early age. Learning to play darts can also explain the qualities of practice, perseverance and resilience and how you can improve your skills by regularly practicing.

Darts is a great game for teaching hand-eye coordination. The more you do it then the better your accuracy will get! Don't tell them, but playing darts is a fun way to improve their maths too. Children can learn how to count the scores themselves (adding and subtracting) whilst working out what they need to "finish" a game further develops their mental arithmetic. Check out our ‘Darts Maths’ blog for an in-depth look at how to learn darts maths.

Make Darts Fun!

Darts is a fun game to play with the whole family! Keep it fun and let younger children have an advantage and learn the official rules at their own pace.

If you have watched darts on the television, you will often see people in the crowd dressed up in fancy dress. Make the game even more fun for children by getting them to dress up to play darts. You could make a family night of it and get the kids to choose their own walk-on song, and there could be a treat for the winner such as extra pocket money or choosing the next film to watch!

There are dozens of different darts designs and colors, so consider letting young players choose their own darts, so they commit to them.  If you are playing for fun then there is no harm in personalizing your darts by adding stickers to the flight, shaft and even the dart. You could even buy plain flights and decorate them with crayons or markers (check they are permanent).

What darts & dartboards are best for children?

There are different darts and dartboards that have been designed for the different age ranges and skill levels of children. Magnetic darts are used with a magnetic dartboard and are best for young children, whilst soft tip darts with a soft tip dartboard is suggested for when kids reach the age of 8 or 9 upwards. A steel tip darts set, which is used with a steel tip dartboard, is recommended for children aged around 12 and above.

 

Magnetic dartboard

Magnetic dartboards for small children

Magnetic dartboards are the best option for small children and great for a family games night. A magnetic board is suitable for young children as there is no sharp or heavy flying objects involved, but it still has the basic fundamentals of darts, so the competitive and arithmetic aspects are still in play. This type of darts can be a perfect introduction to the game and is a less sophisticated option to start with compared to soft tip and steel tip darts.

The Mission Magnetic Mayhem is one of our best sellers for this type of board and comes with 12 magnetic tipped darts and fun visuals on the board, with several game options to try which will provide endless hours of fun.

 

Electronic dartboard

Soft tip darts & dartboards

Soft tip dartboards are good for children aged 8 or 9 and is the next stage if they have already been introduced to darts with a magnetic board. These boards are often electronic and come programmed with different games to play, along with a set of soft tip darts so you are all set to get playing straight away. There are also options for playing people around the world, so are great for playing remotely against relatives and friends.

The Ruthless R500 Electronic Dartboard in Cabinet is one of our favorites as it includes four sets of soft tip darts and has 27 built-in games to play, making it a cool introduction into the world of darts for children as there are lots of different games you can try out.

 

Home Darts Centre

Steel tip darts & traditional dartboards for teens & older children

A traditional steel tip dartboard with steel tip darts is suitable for older children around the teenage age. It is up to the parents to determine if this type of darts is safe for their child, as the points on a steel tip dart are sharp and can cause injury if not used in the correct way. We often get asked is darts easy to learn and a steel tip board is a great choice for children to build on the skills they have picked up already, perhaps from throwing on a soft tip board at a younger age.

The Unicorn Striker Home Darts Centre is one of our best sellers as it comes with a dartboard, surround and two sets of darts. The dartboard surround included in this set will help protect the wall your board is fitted to, as it offers a layer of protection that surrounds the entire board. Check out our ‘Dartboard Buying Guide’ for more information about the different kinds of boards available.

 

Adapting the rules for children

A child’s capabilities are typically different than that of an adult, so therefore when playing darts the rules should be adapted accordingly. For example, the height of the dartboard should be lower and the throw line closer to the dartboard. As children get older these measurements can be gradually increased until they match the official ones used by adults.

It is also important to pay attention to the weight of darts children are using. Our ‘How To Choose The Best Darts Weight’ blog has all the information you need on deciding the correct weight to throw with, including our suggestion for a dart weight to start with, but the most important thing is to let children have fun playing darts. Try not to be too strict on the rules, whilst still encouraging fair play when they are playing darts with other children.

Dart Safety For Children

Making sure your children are safe when playing darts is important. Here are some safety rules and tips to employ for children whilst they are playing:-

  • Only throw one dart at a time
  • One person can throw at a time
  • Stand behind the throw line when you are not throwing
  • Remove the darts from the board by grasping the barrels of the darts, and not the tips
  • Take your darts out of the board once all of the darts have been thrown
  • Avoid running around or being silly near the dartboard and throwing area
  • Make sure you are paying attention to the game and not being distracted
  • Ensure there is enough space between dartboards if you have more than one board set
  • Store your darts away safely when not in use
  • Keep it fun!

Is darts easy to learn?

If you really want to get your child playing darts seriously, there are some things you can do to make teaching them the game smoother. For example, start slowly with practice and keep it to around 10-15 minutes. These shorter sessions can involve taking it in turns to throw rather than just your child throwing all the time.

To begin with you should look to supervise your child and offer some advice and tips on their throwing action. Our ‘How To Throw A Dart’ blog has some useful pointers on the best practice for throwing a dart, but remember that every person’s throw is different and unique.

Children are generally good at emulating their parents or adults, so it is worthwhile first showing them how to hold a dart, how to stand and how to throw a dart. Demonstrating a proper technique can be helpful in showing newcomers to the game the best practice to copy themselves.

Most importantly, make darts fun. Offer rewards for good play and some encouragement. Focus on the small wins rather than perfection and have the main goal to be enjoying the game, and it is more likely to inspire your child to want to play again.

How do I know what darts my child should play with?

Darts is suitable for a child of any age who is able to hold a dart, with supervision, but a parent will first need to consider what type of darts and equipment is safe for their child to use.

The darts your child should play with will depend on their age, but ultimately it is up to the parent to decide for themselves what type of darts they think are safe to use.

Younger children are best using using soft tip or magnetic darts as these don't have sharp points, but the youngsters still need supervision, to avoid them putting the darts in their mouths or throw them as objects and at other children.

Every child is different so it will mostly come down to the parent’s thinking, as they might let their child play without supervision so long as they are using the safer materials, such as soft tip or magnetic darts. For very young children, a magnetic dartboard would be the most suitable place to start for introducing darts at home.

When children get a little older, around the ages of 8 or 9, they may be able to start using some more professional style darts, such as soft tip with an electronic dartboard. These darts can be purchased in different weights which allows children to experiment with other weights to see what works best for them. It is around this age where children will start to focus slightly more on their throwing technique too.

Our last recommendation would be that older children, aged around 12 and above, may be allowed to start experimenting with steel tip darts. Whether children this age would still need supervising is again up to the parent, but playing with this type of dart will give youngsters the same experience using the materials that the professionals use.

 

Take a look at our ‘How To Guides’ section of the blog for lots more darts advice which you can incorporate into the game when playing with your children.

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