Hosting a Nerf gun party that's successful and not a free-for-all means you'll need to have some pre-planned activities to keep kids busy. With just a little prep work, everything will be perfect for a great birthday.
Heros and Villans Group Game
Have kids "battle" it out to reach a prize. You'll have to play to find out what movie characters will come out ahead!
Set up large appliance boxes that are painted to look like buildings. They should be randomly placed throughout the party space. Inside one of the box buildings, include a small "token" that someone from the two teams needs to reach first to win. Hide this before the party begins. The token could be anything from a toy sword to a chest of candy.
Have kids carry movie poster shields featuring either a hero or villan from their favorite movies. They should be glued onto cardboard and fitted with a Velcro strap on the back to carry like a shield. You can prep the straps before the party, but let kids pick out their own posters to glue to their cardboard shields. It doesn't matter if someone picks the same character twice as long as there are a fairly even number of the two teams.
Safety note: All kids must wear protective eyewear for this game.
How to Play
Kids should be fairly evenly divided into the heros and villans. Explain that the city has been invaded by a group of villans who escaped from their movies; they are on the hunt for the special token that will keep them in the real world permanently! The heros need to reach the token first in order to prevent this catastrophe from happening.
You will need at least two adults to help referee game play.
- Tell the kids the token has been hidden somewhere safe, and it's up to them to find it first.
- Allow each team about five minutes of planning time and then blow a whistle to start them off in their hunt for the token.
- Kids eliminate other villans and heros by hitting the shields; anyone who hits body parts will automatically be taken out and someone from the opposite team is allowed back in. This is to discourage kids from aiming for each other beyond their shields.
- In addition to looking behind and under the buildings for the hidden tokens, the kids can use the buildings as cover while they strategize.
- The first team to reach the token are the winners.
Duck, Duck, Dart! Game
Target shooting can be done in the water no matter what season. You'll need to get things set up prior to the party.
Game Set Up
In the summer, make sure your backyard swimming pool is filled with water. If you are not playing in the summer, set up a kiddie pool in the basement (on plastic sheeting, if needed). Print out duck targets on paper, laminate them, and tape to straws. Each target should be added to a small sailboat or inflatable floaty and released. Consider adding about one duck per one square foot of water space.
This game should be played individually with an adult to referee and check scores.
- Have the child stand at an appointed spot outside the pool.
- Set a timer for one minute.
- Have him or her aim for as many ducks as possible. Most Nerf guns can at least tip the duck backwards with a center shot.
- Keep track of who hits the most ducks down in the allotted time.
- At the end of the party, announce the winners and award them each additional foam darts or a rubber ducky as a prize.
Logistics and Safety
You're going to need to put some additional thought into this party theme before it even gets started. Consider:
- Invitations - Make it clear in the invitations this party will involve Nerf guns, and kids are invited to bring their own.
- Extra dart guns - It's inevitable someone will forget his or her dart gun (or not own one), so borrow additional guns from neighbors and friends. Make sure you have enough spares to cover half the amount of kids invited.
- Additional ammunition - Purchase ammunition in bulk so you don't need to worry about anyone losing their own; pick up both the larger and smaller sized foam darts. When the party is over, the ammo can be divided up and sent home with kids as favors.
- Kids' safety - While foam darts may sound harmless, it's still important to include safety precautions. Buy cheap safety glasses and hand them out to each kid at the party. Don't start any games or activities until everyone is wearing them. Make sure you offer a quick speech about avoiding hitting people before each game or activity starts. It should be clear you won't tolerate aiming for people's heads or using close-range shots.
- Protect yourself - To protect yourself, you may want to check with your homeowner's insurance representative and a lawyer before planning this kind of party; they might recommend using a liability release form and/or making it clear that the party will be active. Check with your personal representatives first.
Foam Dart Fun
Nerf blasters and foam dart guns are best-selling toys for kids of various ages. Planning a safe yet fun party is a great way to make your child happy on his or her birthday!