"Nerf Wars" is a very fun and versatile event. Whether you want to host a Father/Son Nerf War, a Mother/Son Nerf War, a Father/Daughter Nerf War, a Mother/Daughter Nerf War or even a battle between the kids...it is as simple as changing up the name.
Some prefer to call this event a Nerf "Battle"...which is perfectly fine. It's your event...name it whatever you choose.
For simplicity, I will be referring to this event as "Father/Son Nerf Wars."
This event (as well as many of our other Friday night events) is the perfect time to invite other father/son teams from your community. A great outreach tool!
Time: 2-3 hours - I normally host this event on a Friday night 6-9 pm. I think 6-8 may be better for this event...dad's get tired around the 2-hour mark. :)
Bonus: (Accomplish two goals at once) If dad(s) and son(s) are participating in the Nerf Wars then the mother(s) and daughter(s) are free to meet up for dinner, a movie, spa night, etc. If you decide to include this in your planning, don't forget to invite visiting families (mom(s) and daughter(s) to join in with the ladies.
FILL IN DAD'S
Make sure you have some "fill in" dad's available.
Some children do not have a dad...some are working...and some are
not physically able to participate.
When you announce your event, make sure to ask for some "fill-in dads for the evening.
Also, announce that "fill in" dads are available for anyone whose dad who cannot make it.
I am always amazed at the men (and youth) who step up to be a dad for the evening
When you create your sign up sheet, have several men's names already listed as a "fill in dads.
Be prepared, there will be kids that just show up without a dad.
It is not mandatory that they bring a dad. Team them up with someone...
even if it is another kid...or team them up with another father and son.
If a "fill in" dad signed up but is not needed, have them show up
anyhow...just in case! You can always stick them on another team or team them up together.
View the pics below and get started on your own "Nerf Wars" event.
Flyer and Slide Sample
A Nerf Wars event is all about the competition....and the ambiance.
Set up a fun battlefield but stacking up boxes, stacks of chairs, tables on their sides, wooden pallets, 55-gallon drums, etc. Anything that the kids can hide behind. I have seen everything from cardboard boxes covered with camo paint to inflatable obstacles.
You can literally add any obstacle that you choose.
The budget should not be a problem with the playing field...use whatever you can find...or whatever your budget will allow. In my opinion...free is always better!
I am also all about music. I created a 3-hour playlist (flash drive) with all kinds of battle/spy/war music...everything from Star Wars to James Bond soundtracks. You can find some great songs on i-tunes. Check with your Student minister or sound crew...they may be able to hook you up for free!
Tip: If you create a playlist...save it and keep it for future Nerf Wars battles. Any time you put this much time into something...and you think you might use it again...save it!
It will save you a lot of time in the future.
Start the music before the children arrive. It is a perfect mood-setter. (I play it while I
am setting up for the evening...it sets the mood for me as well.)
Allow the music to play all evening long!
I normally do a point system…I award points for the winning team on each game.
Points are kept on a whiteboard.
The winning team gets bragging rights only….I do not award prizes for this event.
Each team member should have their own nerf gun and eye protection.
Have the children write their names or initials on anything that
was brought from home.
I do not allow the guns that shoot round balls (they hurt).
I always suggest to the children that they bring smaller guns (6-8 bullets.)
I have had some children bring the larger guns that hold a large number of bullets.
These children spend all of their time refilling their guns or replacing bullets.
Have a few guns on hand for "fill in dad's", guns that break, guests, etc.
Eye protection - Have each person bring their own eye protection. Have a few pairs of eye protection on hand. Pick up several pairs from the Dollar store for $1 per pair. You can find them in the hardware department. This is a one-time investment and you will use them for a lot of different activities.
Providing all the bullets will eliminate a lot of bullet sorting at the end
of the evening. One size fits all!
Discourage children from bringing their own. (Unless you have little or no budget for your event). In this case, have them initial each of their bullets.
Buckets for of Bullets
Provide each member with a plastic bucket of bullets (50).
(Watch for after Easter or after Halloween sales...I purchased 50-60
camo-colored buckets for 10 cents each one year.)
Have all participants gather up bullets and re-fill their buckets after each game
(or as they are playing if necessary.)
At the end of the evening have each person pick up 50 bullets and return their buckets to you. Give them a small prize when they return their buckets to you.
(This will keep you from having to pick up bullets afterward)
If you are playing on a hard surface borrow a push broom from the janitor. (Very helpful when gathering the bullets between rounds and the kids love to push the broom)
Join in on the Fun
Bring a Whistle...You will need it when calling the game, announcing the winning team, and gathering everyone back up for the next game
I normally wear a black and white stripe referee shirt...just for fun...not essential.
Before We Begin
As the father/son teams arrive, guide them to the face painting station. Each team
will apply their battle (face) paint (camo paint). See the supply list at the bottom of the page.
(Watch for after Halloween clearance sales...you can get some great face paint for almost nothing)
Teams them move to the bandana station where they will choose...red or blue bandanas. Each Father/Son team will wear the same color bandana. Bandanas may be worn around the neck, around the arm, around the thigh, around the ankle, around the wrist or around their head.
Each team member must put on...and wear eye protection. If they did not
bring a pair, provide one for them. Let the children know that they must wear eye protection at all times. You cannot police the adults...they are on their own.
Let the children know that they get one warning and then they will have to sit out for a pre-determined amount of time (5 minutes gets the message across) if caught again.
Believe it or not, a nerf bullet can do a lot of damage to an eye.
Buckets of Bullets
Have each team select a plastic bucket filled with 50 bullets.
Direct team to the practice zone.
Each team has its own practice area. The practice area consists of either Red or Blue Solo cups stacked on a table (pyramid style). Teams practice shooting the cups off the table until all teams have arrived.
You can set also up any other targets that you choose...it's up to you.
Check out the hunting section at Wal-Mart or a sporting goods store...there are some great paper targets that you can tape to the wall to use during target practice.
Let the Games Begin
Protect the President
(Some people take issue with this name. If it bothers you, re-name it whatever you choose.)
Each team (blue and red) strategizes as to who should be their president.
The chosen president wears a red or blue vest and does not carry a gun.
I use a red or blue game vest to identify the presidents. You can identify the president
with a vest, t-shirt, or however you choose to identify them (even a different color
bandana will work)
Other players are given different responsibilities such as bodyguard, sniper, etc.
Teams are given 5 minutes to strategize and then the whistle blows.
Goal: To shoot the other team’s president.
For this game, teams may cross the centerline. Teams should anticipate this and
have team members ready to eliminate the opposing team members when they cross the line.
Team that has their president eliminated first is out!
2. Capture the Flag
Goal: To capture the other team’s flag first.
Each team has a flag (an extra red and blue bandana will do) attached lightly to a pole in the center of each team's playing area (each side of the gym/room). You can place the bandana in a chair in the center of each team's side of the gym if necessary.
Have the teams strategize over who (2-3 participants) is going to try to capture the other team’s flag, who is going to protect their own teams flag, who is going to protect the center line, and who is going to “un-freeze” their teammates who have been shot.
In this game…you do (of course) cross the centerline.
In this game, participants will have 10 seconds (once they have been shot) to be revived (un-frozen) by one of their own teammates. If they (the person who was shot) counts to 10 and no one has revived (“un-frozen”) them then they are out!
The first team to capture the flag (on the pole/chair) and bring it across the center line wins.
If the flag stealer gets the flag but gets shot…he must stand frozen…and wait to be revived. If he does not get revived in time (10 seconds) then the flag is put on the floor where he was shot and the game continues.
3. Last man standing
Free for all….you can go anywhere and shoot anyone.
In this game, you do cross the line.
4. Last team standing
Each team has to remain behind the center line and shoot at each other.
When all the team members on one team have been shot then the opposing team wins.
This game can get rather long so set a time limit before you begin.
(15-20 minutes or whatever time you choose).
Blow the whistle when only one team remains OR when the time limit expires.
If time expires, then the team with the most teammates left standing is the winner.
5. Father's Vs Father's… or Son's Vs Son's
The rules for this game are the same as the “Last man standing” game.
See the rules above except, you may cross the line.
6. Father Vs Son
The rules here are the same as the "Last man standing" game except that
you may not cross the centerline
Adults are rougher than the kids so the "no crossing the line" rules apply.
Set a time limit before you begin.
7. Glow in the Dark Battle
Clear everything from the playing field (all obstacles) before you attempt a
glow in the dark battle.
Set the blacklights in a safe place...where they will not be a hazard.
Use glow sticks to mark boundaries or hazard areas.
Allow time for eye adjustment before you start the game.
If you plan on having a glow-in-the-dark time then have each child
bring a white t-shirt or something that will glow in the dark.
Limit the first round to 5 minutes.
If the children do well then do a second round for around 10 minutes.
Free for all.
The internet is loaded with games...do some homework!
You may also repeat the games...kids don't mind!
I normally keep the food light for this event.
There will be a lot of running so limit the junk food.
I normally do Pizza, Cheese Balls, Water and Soda
Always be prepared for some off-the-cuff competitions or activities.
Do not plan on using them but have them ready to go if necessary.
Make a list of the extra activities and post it where you can see it easily.
Any time the kids seem to have too much time on their hands...throw in a competition!
For instance... have the red and blue cups handy.
You can toss in a "which team can shoot all the cups off their table
first competition", or a "Boys vs Dad's version of the same game.
Line up some buckets and see who can toss/shoot 10 bullets into the buckets first, etc.
Don't drag out more "stuff" just be creative with the supplies that
you already have out for the evening.
These activities are to be used as "time fillers" or mood changers only!
Let the children be your guide! If they are having fun...let them have fun!
When the gang gets restless...toss in a quick and easy activity.
Take Pics, Take Pics, Take Pics!
Take short video clips, take short video clips, take short video clips!
If you have extra help, assign the picture-taking duties to someone else!
CANDID SHOTS ARE GREAT!!!
Make sure you have some extra help for yours. It runs smoothly however dividing up the workload makes it much easier. The more hands and eyes the better.
Dad's will be present for this event so there will be extra adults available
to help as well.
This is the perfect event for some kids from your youth (student ministry) department....they can be a referee, help kids that need extra help or be a "fill in dad."
Great event to ask your youth boys to help with!
Bottled Water Have bottles iced down and allow them to get water whenever they need it. (Put names on bottles and tell them that they have to use up one bottle before getting another) (Black Sharpie to label their bottles)
Portable Sound system with speakers.
Flash drive with battle/space wars type music. James Bond, Star Wars, etc.
Table Cloths (Food and Face/War paint tables. Note: You do not need to prepare a food (eating) table for the kids to sit. They are so excited to return to the battle field that they will gulp their food down and rush back. Use Camo, Black or Dark Green Table Cloths.
Roll of paper towels (Face Painting).
Paint brushes and water (optional) Most will not even worry with brushes or water...they will apply paint with their finger tips and wipe hands with paper towels.
Red Solo Cups (50)
Blue Solo Cups (50)
Paper targets - Purchase at Sporting Goods store or Wal-Mart. (optional)
Referee Shirt (Optional)
Plastic Buckets for ammo.
Nerf Bullets (50 per participant)
Nerf Guns (A few for fill in dad's, broken guns, visitors and children who do not have a gun.)
Eye protection (several pair)
White board, marker and eraser (For score keeping
Bandana's (Red and Blue) Note: The Dollar Store normally has packages 2/$1. You will need one for each team member. You can also use red or blue fabric. Just tear fabric into strips to go around their arms (Budget friendly tip)
Red and Blue Vest (Different color bandana's T-shirts will work. (Shoot the President game)
If you have a glow in the dark time, you will need black lights and glow sticks.