Organising a DIY Nerf gun party can be a lot of fun and considerably cheaper than booking at a laser tag venue. There are lots of other benefits to bear in mind too. For example, you can invite as many classmates as you want. And you can take full control of catering too. From games to play to keeping everyone safe, this guide will help you to plan the ultimate party.
1) First, get your weapons ready
You have three options when it comes to kitting out the party with weapons. Firstly, you could go out and buy everyone coming to the party the same gun. A benefit of this is that everyone will compete on the same level. It also means you’ll have your guns ready if you want to hold another party. Lastly, you could then give all your guests their gun to take home as an alternative to a party bag.
Another option is to ask your guests to bring their own Nerf guns. Chances are that everyone will have at least one Nerf gun at home. If they don’t you could ask around if anyone has spares they can lend or just buy a couple of extras. This option is a winner as it is definitely cheaper than buying a whole new set of guns. Your guests are also likely to enjoy using their own weapons too.
Finally, your last option is to contact a party supplies hire business to hire all the guns and ammo that you need for the party. This option is popular because it normally costs less than purchasing the equivalent items.
- If you’re asking the kids to bring their own guns, make sure you label them first. That way you can avoid any mix-ups and tears.
2) Next, ammo up
The key for a successful party is to make sure you have plenty of bullets, so stock up. You could use a branded bullet or there are also generic bullets available.
Planning ammunition doesn’t stop at the bullets. Make it easy for your guests to reload quickly by giving them ammunition bags. You could buy toolbelts designed for holding screws. Alternatively, make bags using scraps of fabric. The idea is that they’ll be able to carry spare ammunition with them and quickly access it when they need to.
3) Create targets to aim at to save your flowers (or a little sister)
Next, you need to make some targets for your mini-warriors to aim at. These don’t have to cost the earth, especially if you’ve got a few weeks before the party to start saving empty cartons. Look for things that you can stack or line up that you can save from the recycling bin because that can save you even more cash.
- Potato snack tubes, such as Pringles. These can be stacked or lined up.
- Empty water or juice bottles lined up like skittles make a great target because it’s easy for kids to see when they’ve been hit
- Empty large size yoghurt pots, stacked.
- Paper plates painted with targets and stuck on a wall or fence.
- The cardboard tube from inside a kitchen roll.
- Spinning targets can be made by cutting pieces of card into circles. Tape one to each end of a lolly stick. Attach the centre of the lolly stick to a piece of string. Mount this string between two poles so it is suspended in the air. When the target circles are hit, they should spin. The bigger the circle, the easier the target will be to hit.
Tin cans can be too heavy for a Nerf gun bullet to knock, so look for lightweight options. Bear in mind though that if you’re playing outside on a windy day, lighter targets could be blown down. You can line your targets up on tables or cardboard boxes or use a ladder stood upright to create ‘shelves’ to stack targets on multiple levels.
- Put something behind your targets to stop stray bullets travelling too far and getting lost. For example, a tarpaulin or sheet hung up with string would work.
- You can vary the difficulty by getting the children to stand closer or further away from the target.
- Targets can be kept to use again for your next party or to keep the kids entertained in the holidays.
- You could add these targets to the party bags for your guests to play with when they get back home.
4) How to make bases for instant cover
Bases are essential for your Nerf gun party. They provide somewhere to hide out and shoot under cover. The easiest way to make bases is to gather cardboard boxes of different sizes. These can be stacked up to provide gaps for shooting through. You could tape them together to create a stronger structure using parcel tape if you want. Alternatively, you could use a large fabric sheet draped over furniture.
- Ask at your local shop or supermarket to see if they have any they are putting out for recycling or have for customers to use.
- Paint your cardboard boxes with camouflage colour paints for an extra authentic look.
5) Nerf war games the kids will love
Instead of just letting the kids run off and shoot, try this game to add structure to the party.
Capture the flag
This popular playground game gets a Nerf war makeover:
- Create two ‘bases’ using cardboard boxes. See XX0 How to make bases
- Get two different coloured pieces of material. These are the flags.
- Divide the kids into two groups.
- Give each group a flag and tell them to hide it somewhere. Alternatively, you could hide the flags without the children knowing.
- The aim of the game is for each group to guard and protect their flag whilst also trying to capture the flag belonging to the other group.
- Team members go off looking for the other team’s flag. If they get hit by a Nerf bullet, they must go back to their base before they can start searching again.
- The winning team is the one that finds their opponent’s flag first.
- A benefit of this game is that no one is every out. That means everyone can enjoy playing for the whole duration of the game.
- You could place boxes of spare ammunition out for the children to help themselves.
6) Safety first
When you’re planning your party it’s important to pay as much attention to safety as you do to the cake. It’s a good idea to issue safety goggles to everyone who is playing. These can be bought cheaply online or from a DIY store. Depending on the ages of your guests, you can buy goggles designed for children. Alternatively, make sure you buy goggles with an elastic strap that can be adjusted to fit different sized heads.
- Set a ‘no head shots’ rule from the very beginning. This doesn’t mean that no one will get shot in the head by accident. However, if you tell children this rule first, it could help to reduce the chances of an injury.
- If you’re playing out in the garden make sure you put away tools first. Have a quick look over before the party starts and imagine all the things that could go wrong. For example, if there is a hose left out, could someone trip and fall over it? If garden tools like spades are out, could someone run into it and hurt themselves?
What happens if there is an accident?
When you’re considering safety, it’s also worth thinking about what happens if there is an accident. Make sure you’ve got a first aid kit handy. And check your home insurance policy to see what liability coverage you have. This covers you if someone is injured at your party and makes a claim for compensation against you. It ensures that if the worst does happen any guests who are injured will get the compensation they deserve. And it means you won’t face any unexpected legal bills. As well as injuries sustained on the battlefield, it will also cover you if someone has an allergic reaction to the party food.
If you’re covered for legal expenses under your home insurance, this normally only applies to accidents in your property. If you’re holding your party at another venue, for example, a community hall, check with them exactly what is covered by their insurance and if there are any exclusions. For example, their standard insurance may not cover a Nerf war! If that’s the case, you can buy low-cost liability insurance for peace of mind. If in doubt, speak to an insurance broker for advice. It’s better to be safe than get a nasty surprise later.
7) Protect your home or venue from accidental damage
Once the safety of your guests is covered, it’s time to think about the safety of your home. If you’re planning your Nerf war in the garden or in your home, put away any delicate items that could get broken by a raucous nine-year-old. Again, it’s worth double-checking with your insurance that you’ll be covered for accidental damage. This is often an add-on to policies, so you’re not always covered if something is damaged by accident. Read the small print on your policy schedule or speak to your insurance broker for confirmation.
8) Setting up on the day
On the day of the party, be prepared so everything goes smoothly. You could get a table to lay everything out ready for your guests. If you’re holding the party in the garden, a gazebo could be a good idea.
- Kids will arrive at different times and you don’t want the first arrivals to sit around bored. Practise shooting at targets whilst you wait for everyone to get to the party.
9) Nerf gun party checklist
Use our checklist to make sure nothing gets left out when you’re planning your party.
- First, have you got enough weapons for everyone?
- Have you got eye protection for everyone?
- How much ammunition do you have?
- Where will you set up? Have a dedicated place to put guns ready to hand out.
- How will the children carry spare bullets? If you don’t want to give them bullet bags, you could get a couple of boxes of ammo refills to be placed around the battleground
- What will the children shoot at (other than each other)? Where will you put the targets?
- What can you use as bases? Start collecting cardboard boxes from deliveries or ask at your local shops for boxes they are putting into the recycling.
- Have you got any games planned? These can be great to give structure to your party. Will you need prizes for the winners?
- Are you going to set a theme? For example, space or jungle warfare. If so, you can decorate your targets and bases to follow the theme.
- Party food. Make sure you have catered to any allergies or special needs. And make sure there is plenty to drink. Nerf wars can be a thirsty business.
- Where will guests sit to eat their food? Will they move inside the house or will you have a picnic in the garden?
- Have you checked your insurance? From liability to accidental damage, make sure you’ve got the right level of cover to prevent what should be a day of fun from turning sour.
- Finally, party bags. Everyone loves to leave with a party bag. As well as the usual sweets and cake, you could give each guest a target to take home to continue playing.
Finally, you’re ready to go
Finally, now you’re all set with tips and ideas for hosting the best Nerf gun party ever. From essential safety to fun games, we’ve given you the lowdown on everything you need to prepare. So get planning because now you are ready to be awarded the role of super-parent by your kids and their friends. Have fun.