Hello from Hero Dad*, i'd like to give you some simple tips on how to throw a rockin' Nerf gun birthday party. Essentially you just need to transform your backyard into a Nerf battlefield and the kids will do the rest. This is a sure fire way to have tons of fun at your next birthday party (ideal age is 6 to 12) for not much money (although there is a bit of work involved) using some easy to build Nerf games and Nerf battle modular forts.
*Hero Dad defined: any dad trying to impress his kids with some type of act or service
Lots of card board boxes (the bigger the better) I used 48x24x24
sharp razor blade or box knife
spray paint for camo
Step 1: Building Nerf Shooting Forts
If your backyard is like mine, then it probably not that conducive to a Nerf battle environment. So as a Hero Dad it was my job to transform the backyard so that is has mass appeal for an awesome Nerf war. There are several ways you can accomplish this task by using some large cardboard boxes. For the 1st barrier I just build a box (48x24x24) then cut it in half diagonally leaving one side in tact so that the box can fold out. I cut slots in each facing side for sniping action.
Step 2: More Nerf Forts
Here is another example of some Nerf shooting forts (aka Nerf pill box) that will help transform you lowly backyard to a super cool Nerf battlefield. For this barrier simply build a box (48x24x24). Then cut one side and fold it out, cut a viewing slot, so that it provides more protection from the enemy. I added some door windows for extra protection from enemy dart (this is easily done by using duct tape to make a simple hinge)
All of these "forts" were modular so they are easily moved around the yard. I added spray paint camo to add to the coolness factor.
Step 3: Fun Nerf Target
Before you hold the actual Nerf battle it's fun to have some target practice with the party warriors. So here is an easy target that allows the darts to come in and then be spit out the back. (If I could have done this over again I would have made the darts exit the box from the front - like a dart vending machine).
1. Make a box (48x24x24)
2. Cut a door in the back and place a slanted 24" wide ramp that leads to the back of the target
3. Cut round holes in the front (approx 6" in diameter) - I also painted the front for decor + added some cool skulls
4. Hand a 24" x 30" pieces of plastic from the top to catch the darts from bouncing out of the holes
5. Seal up the door on the back of the display
6. Optional - place a box at the back to collect the darts.
Step 4: Fun Nerf Target - Skull Shootout
Here is another shooting game box that has spinning teach and swinging eye balls for targets. The back is just like the 1st target I made and yes - wish I would have make the darts exit from the front.
1. Make a large box (48x24x24)
2. Draw in the face (any face will do - it was near Halloween so I opted for a skull)
3. Cut the mouth and the eyes out
4. Use 4x6 index cards for the spinning teeth (I painted one side cuz I thought it would look cooler when it was spinning)
5. Cut drinking straws to the width of the cards - glue/tape them into the center
6. Sandwich them together with glue or tape
7. Cut a coat hanger to the correct horizontal length of the mouth space (add a little so there is enough wire to tape down)
8. Thread the teeth onto the hanger then tape it in to the box with duct tape
9. For the eyes I used foam balls but ping pong balls would work too
10. Use a coat hanger wire (i used armature wire) and make a loop hing then duct them in to the top of the inside of the eye sockets
Video Demo Field Test:
Step 5: Other Ideas for a Fun Nerf Party
I would suggest after the pizza and stuff to have a fun activity. One time I had all the kids build marshmallow shooters with pvc but this time I used the link below to have everyone build rubber band guns. It's a fun activity and it's also a nice gift to take home after the party.
Note: if you do marshmallow shooters there is a lot more prep to do (i.e. pre cutting the pvc) and it's way more messy.
It's also fun to make arm bands for everyone so there are two teams (we did an "orange team" and a "blue team"). We bought everyone inexpensive eye protective from the dollar store too.
Decorating the cake can be done with a mini shooter and some darts. There are tons of cake decorating ideas out there so I won't go into detail here. Safe to say, most kids don't care about what the cake looks like so you can go crazy with fondant and such but if you're short for time I'd suggest to use your energy for other stuff. I did a fondant cake for youngest son's party and it was too much trouble for what it was worth (he barely noticed). :)
NOTE: If you don't have your own Nerf arsenal then you can actually rent them from this neato online service: www.nerfrental.com