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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

Discover what this means

Nerf guns

Get stuck into an active, fun, foam-shooting game.

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What to expect

Nerf guns fire foam darts, discs, or balls. You can use them for a whole range of fun activities: lots of people enjoy team games (a bit like a low-tech version of paintballing or laser tag), but you could also try target shooting to hone your accuracy.

Everyone in Scouts can get stuck in – there aren’t age limits here. They also work in all sorts of locations: indoors, outdoors, and even in specially-designed arenas. Nerf guns can be a great investment because they’re so adaptable, so you can design an activity that suits your group perfectly.

What you’ll learn

To the untrained eye, team games with nerf guns can look a bit like (organised) chaos, but look again and you’ll notice people thinking on their feet to play their part (and keep others in the loop). Successful teams need strategies – how will people make sure their friends are on the same page without alerting the enemy?

Depending on the game you’re playing, it’s also a chance for people to learn some of the basics of target shooting in a fun way. It might not be as precise and controlled as shooting on a range, but accuracy’s still important to win.

Fun facts

The word ‘nerf’ started in the world of drag racing: it was a rubbery foam that stopped the cars being damaged when they were pushed onto the tracks. Now, more than 445,000,000 nerf darts are made every year. If you put the nerf darts made in the last five years in a long line, it’d go around Earth four times

Handy hints

  • Stay hydrated. Don’t forget a refreshing drink: intense games involve a lot of running around. Attacking and defending are tiring work, so make sure you stay hydrated.
  • Name your nerf. If you’re bringing any of your own equipment, don’t forget to put a label on it. At the end of the battle, it’ll all look the same – and no one wants to go home with fewer darts than they had at the start.


You must always:
Other activities:
  • Where an activity is not covered by any other rules members must follow rule 9.1 and assess the risk, ensure that members can be kept safe and that all equipment is suitable for its use.
Joint activities with other organisations:
This activity can be led by you or someone else in Scouts
You can go to a centre or use an activity leader who is not part of Scouting:
You must find a suitable provider who meets the following requirements:
  • The provider must have public liability insurance.



Nerf games are a really fun way to be active. Did people enjoy playing? Was it tiring work? People might think about how they had to be agile, fast, and constantly watching out for danger. It’s tricky to find a moment to rest! What motivated people to keep going when they were feeling tired? Perhaps they wanted to win, were having too much fun, or didn’t want to let their team down,

Nerf games also need people to work together as a team. Were any teams super successful? What set them apart? Perhaps everyone had really clear roles, or the team had some clever communication tactics. Did any teams use codes or hand signals to keep their communication a secret from their opponents? What strategies did each team use? Would they do anything differently if they played again? Nerf games aren’t just about winning – they’re also about having fun and building brilliant teamwork skills.

One of the best things about nerf gun activities is that the details are totally up to you. Change up the rules of the games, the teams, the area, or the time limit to suit your group and keep it interesting.

Nerf gun activities can often be adapted so more people can give it a go. Chat with whoever’s leading the session, and make sure anyone with additional needs (and their parents or carers) are involved in the discussion, so you can come up with a plan that works for everyone.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

If people enjoyed shooting nerf guns, laser games could be a great challenge. If they’re old enough, they could also have a go at levelling-up their teamwork skills with a game of paintball

If Scouts want to put their accuracy to the test, they could work towards their Scouts Master at Arms Activity Badge. Explorers could take on the Master of Arms option of the Explorers Physical Recreation Activity Badge.