I’m trying not to dwell on the Monday-ness of today, so why don’t we do something fun and explore Tyler’s Nerf Gun Party? I was a little too busy to post it in December. (You can’t blame me, right?)
My kids’ birthdays aren’t exactly back to back with one in October and one in December. However, there is always a lot going on both months, and this year in particular I wanted to keep things as easy as possible on the birthday party front.
Tyler is in 4th grade, and at that age all of the boys seem interested in three things. Video games. Legos. And Nerf guns. So it was easy enough to convince Ty to revisit the Top Shot/Nerf Gun party we did for his birthday a few years back.
See how smart I’m getting?! Not only is that an easy party to pull off with his already large collection of Nerf Guns, I had already done most of the research for it a long time ago. Hehe. (You can check out my Nerf Pinterest Board for ideas.)
Plus! I was able to use all the printables I created for the last party. Here is the invitation:
For the invites, I simply searched Google for images of the Nerf Logo and the Top Shot logo (tell me I’m not the only one that remembers that show? My husband used to watch it all the time). Then I added the wording for Tyler’s Birthday Party and it was done.
I printed out signs with the party logo and used them on the door, in a frame on the cake table, on the favor bags, etc.
Just a few things I wanted to point out about the party decorations. I kept it really simple by using the colors orange and blue for everything (those are the colors on some of the Nerf Gun darts). These also served as the team colors for the kids throughout all of the activities during the party.
And if you have followed my blog for a while you probably recognize that Happy Birthday banner. My beadboard pennant banner is one of my favorite Go To items for parties. It’s durable and versatile. The only thing I have to do to make it match any party theme is change out the ribbon or fabric ties. In this case I simply used scraps of fabric left over from the bandanas.
Speaking of bandanas – there they are, along with the rest of the favors for the party. I purchased a couple yards of inexpensive blue and orange fabric and cut them into squares (approx 22″ x 22″). Once we designated teams, the kids put on the bandana in the color of their team. Some used them on their heads, some as arm bands, but most followed Tyler and wore them on their faces like bandits.
We didn’t want to deal with anyone “shooting their eye out” so the safety goggles were a must. (Purchased in a set of 12 HERE).
The bandanas and the safety goggles worked as party favors, along with some Nerf Gun darts and candies in blue and orange packaging (we were kicking ourselves for not buying these on clearance after Halloween). The kids carried everything home in their “gear bags” which were just paper bags in a color that matched the party theme.
Typically I like to go with a few snacks and cake/cupcakes for kids’ parties. Let’s face it – the kids are always more interested in playing than eating. However, for this particular party we knew we wanted the extra space so we rented one of the town halls. Since it was December, our options on dates were limited and we ended up with a Friday night reservation and I felt like we needed to serve them dinner.
We decided to go with pizza and breadsticks, since they are Tyler’s favorite. And the pizza is round like a target 😉
And a simple 3 layer cake with ice cream. Kaitlyn was pretty annoyed that I wouldn’t let her decorate the cake, but I had a vision. And I had left it ’til the last minute and wanted it done quickly.
Aren’t the candles cute? Tyler picked those out.
The birthday boy had wanted a two-level cake but my small pans are in storage so I convinced him that three layers in different colors would look good. He was happy with that. Phew.
As you can see, I used a couple of the leftover paper bags for the centerpiece on the table. Orange bags, blue tissue paper, party logo – done!
Station 1: DIY blow dart guns and tissue paper targets
Kids are so excited to get the party started as soon as they arrive so I always plan an activity to keep them busy as soon as they walk in the door. For the Nerf Gun Party, that meant they got to make their own blow dart guns and tissue paper targets.
I provided 12″ lenths of PVC pipe (I believe it was 1/2″ diameter – just large enough for the darts to fit inside), along with colored duct tape and markers to decorate them with.
I also precut holes in the center of super-cheap paper plates and slightly larger circles of patterned tissue paper. The kids were able to decorate the plates then glue the tissue paper in the center.
Then they were able to hang their tissue paper targets on a length of rope and test out their blow dart guns. If they were good shots and the darts tore through the paper they could glue on another piece of tissue paper and try again.
Destruction – lots of fun for 10 year old boys!
Station 2: Plastic Cup Pyramid
From this point on we divided up the teams and each team at a different target station. First up, simple plastic cup pyramids. We gave them one of Tyler’s larger Nerf guns with 10 shots to see how many cups they could knock over.
PS – don’t forget to put tape on the floor to mark where they should stand to shoot.
Station 3: Cardboard Cut-out Target
This one was recycled from last year’s Avenger’s Birthday Party. (Bonus!) The target is just a large piece of cardboard with different sized circle cut-outs. A couple coats of spray paint makes it look great. Avenger red was just fine with me for this. I simply covered up the Avengers logo with our Nerf Gun party logo.
My intention with this one was to change it up a bit and get the kids to shoot from the prone position, but few of them remembered to do so. Not a problem.
Station 4: Army Men and Plastic Cup Pyramid
Once they had warmed up their shooting skills, we made it a little harder with this one. The goal was to knock the Army men off the cups without knocking the cups down.
Station 5: Spinning Targets
This one was probably my personal favorite – targets that actually spin when you hit them!
The base is a white cardboard tri-fold display. I cut squares out of the cardboard and used the discarded cardboard to cut circles for the targets themselves. The design for the targets were found on Google, printed and attached to the cardboard circles.
To make the edges look finished (and more durable), I duct-taped the edges of the square cut out. Then all that was left was to tape a portion of a plastic straw to the back of the targets, thread a wooden skewer through the straw and tape the edges of the skewer to the back of the cardboard.
Adhering a penny to the bottom of each target helps them return to their proper position after getting hit. (Glue dots work great for this!) The original idea for this target (found HERE) said to experiment with the placement of the straw and the penny but I found that keeping the straw centered in the middle worked best.
At this point we paused for pizza, opened gifts, and had cake and ice cream. Then on to the main event!
Two teams, each hid a flag on their base then attempted to steal the flag from the other team.
Rules were simple. If you got hit (on your honor!) you had to return to your base and touch it before returning to the game. No hitting above the chest. If you hit someone above the chest you had to return to your base and touch it before returning to the game.
Chairs and buffet tables provided perfect “cover” for the game. Extra bullets were provided in containers (flower pots recycled from Kaitlyn’s Cupcake Wars party) throughout the room.
The kids didn’t seem to care if they all had the same guns, though we did provide enough guns similar to THIS ONE for everyone to have one. Those that brought their own guns used them for the battle.
We found a great deal on extra Nerf darts HERE.
At times we would call a halt to the action and get everyone to pick up all the extra bullets. Other than that, I just had fun watching the action and taking photos. It was fun to see how the teams handled strategy and teamwork differently and how the different personalities came out during the game.
All in all it was an energetic, chaotic, and fun party – which was exactly what my little guy wanted.
Think I can convince him to do the same theme again next year? I saved all the targets! 😉
Looking for more party inspiration? Stay tuned for a post about Kaitlyn’s 13th birthday party (right, I was too busy to post that one too). Or check out the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, Monster Truck Party, or Farm Birthday Party.
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