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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.

We’re reworking our safety guidance for adventurous activities to make it easier to understand and follow.

In the meantime, before you try nerf guns, review the safety information here.

Reflection

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.

Safety

All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.