Nerf Gun Obstacle Course

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Do you have kids complaining that they're bored? Solve that problem by having them build a nerf gun obstacle course! This fun activity is one the kids can help with from start to finish. My 10 year old stepson had a blast brainstorming obstacle ideas, crafting and building each obstacle, and then finally running through the actual course.

The great thing about this project (besides the fact that it gets your kids to flex their brain power and participate in some screen-free physical activity) is that you likely have most of the tools and supplies lying around at home. Those that you may not have, can likely be picked up from the Dollar Store for cheap!

Another great thing about this activity is that your kids can pick and choose which obstacles they want to include in their course. The whole thing is customizable -from the obstacles, to the order of obstacles, to the challenge level of each obstacle.

Ready to getting building? 3...2...1...Go!

Supplies:

The below tool and supply lists assume you'll be making every obstacle that's described. Par the list down as needed based on which ones you choose to make.

Tools

  • Duct tape or masking tape
  • Scissors
  • Markers
  • Utility knife
  • Rubber mallet (or similar tool; we used a big wrench)
  • Hack saw
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Pen or pencil

Supplies

Teacher Notes

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Step 1: Obstacle 1 (Part A): Spinning Target Poster Board

Supplies & Tools Needed for this Obstacle:

  • Packing or duct tape
  • Hack sack
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Tri-fold poster board
  • Paper plates (6 7-inch snack size)
  • Plastic straws (.236 x 9 inches)
  • Wooden dowels (the diameter should be smaller than your straws to allow them to spin freely. I used 1/8 inch ones)

Step 1

Line 2 plates up, the top of one plate to the top of the other plate (the bottoms will be facing out). Cut 2 notches out of the plates, across from each other. You'll cut a little bit deeper than the plate rims, creating 2 holes that are just big enough for a straw to slide through. Repeat this for the number of spinners you want to make; we made 3.

Tip: Secure the 2 plates together with a small piece of scotch tape before you cut the notches. This will help keep the plates aligned with each other as you make both cuts.

Step 2

Decorate the bottom side of the paper plates you just cut notches in. If you're making 3 spinners, then you'll be decorating 6 paper plates.

Step 3

Use hot glue to glue the pairs of plates together, aligning the cut notches with each other.

Tip: If your designs have a top and bottom to the picture, remember to glue them so that the "top" of one plate is touching the "bottom" of the 2nd plate. As the plates spin, this will ensure that both pictures are facing up.

Step 2: Obstacle 1 (Part B): Spinning Target Poster Board

Step 4

Using a spare plate, trace 3 circles in the middle section of your tri-fold poster board. Be sure to space them out to give each one room. Cut out each circle about 1 inch larger than the traced mark. This will create a hole slightly bigger than the plate to ensure it has plenty of space to spin.

Step 5

Use a hack saw to trim your wooden dowel into 3 lengths. You want each length to span the openings in the board, with an extra couple inches on either side. Use a pair of scissors to trim your plastic straw to a length that's just short of the width of the holes in the poster board. I found it best to stretch the bendable neck of my straw all the way out, then trim it.

Step 6

Feed the straws through each of the spinners, then feed the wooden dowels through the straws. Tape the wooden dowels to the back of the poster board using packing or duct tape to secure them in place.

Tip: If it's windy out when doing your obstacle course use 4 wooden stakes (2 in front and 2 in back) to help keep your target in place and the board propped upright.

Step 3: Obstacle 2: Crepe Paper Gate Target

Supplies & Tools Needed for this Obstacle:

Tip: If you don't have a ladder golf set, you can easily build your own "ladder gate" using PVC pipes. Follow the link to view the ladder golf set on Amazon. The product image will give you a good idea of how to assemble the pieces.You can eliminate the third/bottom cross bar. For one gate, you'll need 2 elbow joints (6 if you're making a full square base), 4 t-joints (if you eliminate the third/bottom cross bar), and 9 straight pieces (if you eliminate the third cross bar. 11 straight pieces if you make a full square base).

Step 1

Gather the ribbon of crepe paper, back and forth, until you have a about 10-15 layers. The goal is to have enough strips of crepe paper that their width with span the width of your ladder golf gate.

Step 2

Snip the folded ends of the paper so you're left with a bunch of individual strips that are all the same length.

Step 3

Stick the strips of crepe paper along a piece of packing tape, being sure to leave a space at the top of the piece of tape. Once the strips are in place, fold the top of the tape over to seal the crepe paper strips in place.

Step 4

Use tape to secure the ribbon of crepe paper strips to the top of the ladder golf gate. If you want, attach a sign on the left or right-hand side to indicate an amount of points that would be scored for shooting a Nerf dart through the paper strips.

Step 4: Obstacle 3: Hanging Target Gate

Supplies & Tools Needed for this Obstacle:

  • Scissors
  • Pen
  • Twine or yarn
  • 2 Paper cups
  • Ladder golf (or PVC pipe; see obstacle 2 instructions)
  • 1 Paper plate target (see obstacle 1 instructions and follow steps 1-3)
  • Straw

Step 1

Using the tip of a pen, gently create a small hole in the bottom center of 2 paper cups.

Step 2

Thread the twine or yarn through the bottom of each cup. Double knot the end of the twine that's inside the cup to keep the twine in place.

Step 3

Tie the 2 cups to the top bar of the ladder golf gate.

Step 4

Thread a straw through your plate target and then a length of twine through the straw. Tie it to either side of the ladder golf gate, just above the second bar.

Step 5: Obstacle 4: Pool Noodle Slalom

Supplies & Tools Needed for this Obstacle:

  • Utility knife
  • 2 pool noodles
  • Scissors
  • Rubber mallet (or similar tool)
  • Pen or pencil
  • Markers
  • Masking tape
  • 4 paper plates
  • 4 wooden yard stakes

Step 1

Use the utility knife to cut the 2 pool noodles in half.

Step 2

To help direct the kids through the slalom, we decided to add directional arrows to our poles. Draw out an arrow shape on 4 of the small paper plates. Cut out and decorate with markers as you wish.

Step 3

Pound 4 yard stakes into the ground. Be sure to give enough space between the stakes to allow runners to maneuver between them.

Step 4

Slide the pool noodles over the stakes and tape the arrows, in alternation directions, to them.

Tip: If the hole of your pool noodle is bigger than the stake, fold a paper towel a couple of times and place that over the stake before sliding the pool noodle over it. This will create a snugger fit.

Step 6: Obstacle 5: Over/Under Pool Noodles

Supplies & Tools Needed for this Obstacle:

  • Rubber mallet (or similar tool)
  • Hack saw
  • 3 pool noodles
  • Paper plates
  • Pen or pencil
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape
  • 6 wooden stakes

Step 1

Create 3 arrows like in step 2 for obstacle 4.

Step 2

To create shorter bars to jump over, use a hack saw to cut 4 stakes in half.

Step 3

Pound 6 yard stakes (1 set of full length, and 2 sets of half stakes) into the ground. Be sure to space them out to allow participants room to jump over, crawl under, and then jump over the last set.

Step 4

Slide the pool noodles over the sets of gates. Tape the directional arrows onto them to remind runners to go over, under, over.

Step 7: Obstacle 6: Army Crawl

Supplies & Tools Needed for this Obstacle:

  • Rubber mallet (or similar tool)
  • 6 wooden yard stakes
  • Ball of twine or yarn

Step 1

Pound 6 wooden stakes into the ground. The length and width between the stakes will create the field that players will crawl under.

Step 2

Tie the end of the twine to one of the stakes and start to randomly crisscross it around and between the stakes. Be sure to keep the line taut.

Step 3

Tie off the twine on an ending stake.

Tip: If some of the line begins to sag between 2 stakes, take and end near a stake and wrap it in another loop around the stake to remove some of the excess slack.

Step 8: Obstacle 7: Tunnel

Supplies & Tools Needed for this Obstacle:

  • Rubber mallet (or similar tool)
  • Giant cardboard box (I recommend a minimum size of 18 inches square), play tunnel, or EVA foam puzzle piece floor mats
  • 4 wooden yard stakes

Step 1

Yeah, this one's pretty simple. Place your tunnel where you want it in the course. Pound 4 wooden stakes into the ground around it. These will serve as guides for your tunnel of choice to help keep it in place.

Tip: If you're using floor mats, the interlocking puzzle pieces can be used to form a 4-sided box. I'd recommend making the tunnel 2 squares long, which will require 8 total mat pieces.

Step 9: Final Tips & Recommendations

  1. Before you start building your obstacles it is helpful to first plan out your course. Decide which obstacles you want to include and gather all tools and supplies needed to make them.
  2. Plan out the layout of your course before you stark pounding yard stakes in. This will help you space out obstacles appropriately and use the shape of your yard to full advantage. I'd highly recommend alternating shooting obstacles with physical movement obstacles.
  3. If your course is long, consider having different Nerf guns stationed at 'checkpoints' along the course to allow players to switch out guns and have a full supply of ammo. We found that our Strongarm gun was great for the first half of the course and the Surgefire was great for the longer shots on the last leg of the course.
  4. Test out different ways of running the course.
    • Maybe the goal it get the shortest time possible.
    • Perhaps you assign a point value to each target and the object is score the highest amount of points.
    • Or you could combine the two. Highest point total but your course run-time is subtracted from your score.
  5. Be mindful of where you place your shooting targets. There's a very high chance there will be some stray darts that go beyond the target. Make sure that "beyond" is a safe, easily accessible spot for dart collection.
  6. The sky's the limit. Have fun and get those creative juices flowing. See the last section below for additional obstacle ideas!

Step 10: Additional Obstacle Ideas

Need More Inspiration?

  1. Tie helium-filled balloons to water bottles and use them as shooting targets.
  2. Use 2 wooden pallets. Tip them together into a tee-pee tunnel or prop them in an upright L-shaped barrier. Remove 1 of the wooden slates and have the player shoot a target through the slit.
  3. Use old tires (or pool noodles taped into hoops) and place them in staggered pairs (3-5 sets) for players to run through.
  4. Put a sturdy wood plank across a few cinder blocks to create a raise balance beam.
  5. Created a stacked pyramid of paper cups (3 cups on the bottom row, 2 in the middle row, and 1 on top) for players to shoot at. We opted to skip this one since it was windy the day we built our course.
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    3 Discussions

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    AT41

    24 days ago

    You have my vote

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    AT41

    24 days ago

    I like it

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    seamster

    4 weeks ago

    Excellent ideas! My kids would love this, thank you for sharing! : )