It’s Nerf or Nothing Party Time

One of the hazards of reading a teacher-mom blog is that you sometimes get a few posts that are more mom than teacher.  I can’t really apologize for it.  I mean, first I’m a mom and then a teacher.  And besides, so much of what I do in the classroom, is a direct result of being mom to these three little mad men.   So today is one of those posts.  I just had to share because summer is so close I can taste it (one more week), and who doesn’t love a birthday celebration.  Now I don’t want you to think that birthday parties are an every year event in the McGuire home.  Actually, we only have “big” parties on years 6, 9 and 12.  As a full-time working mom, this has just made things so much more manageable for me and when those birthday party years come along, it makes them even more special.


So this year is number 9 for middle the McGuire boy, and in a last minute frenzy to plan a party, I landed upon quite a few pins that sported fabulous ideas for a Nerf Gun Birthday party theme.  Ok, don’t hate me for loving this idea.  But with three little boys and a bunch of their friends, all of whom have Nerf guns, this theme couldn’t be more perfect.     I promise you, none of these ideas are original (look for links to see the posts I was inspired by), but I tried to add my own little spin on them.

In the end, I think the result was an EPIC success.  Come take a look and tell me what you think.


Fortunately, as far as decorating, the set up for this party was easy peasy.  I basically threw a table up in our garage and used our very large yard and property as the playing field.

Boys don’t really care where a party is located, as long as there is food and room to play.


I knew that I wanted to have a Nerf Gun obstacle course for them to run and shoot at targets.  So I planned that ahead of time, and listed the materials I needed.  From there it was a matter of planning the ever important snacks.


Ok so maybe I worried and planned a little more over the snacks and refreshments than were really necessary.  I mean, being the mother of three boys, I should know that little boys will basically eat whatever they like regardless of the presentation.  But it was kind of fun planning these little details.

I saw a picture of a really great food set up from CatchMyParty photo gallery, and I kind of followed suit.


The refueling stations had an ‘anything that’s orange and snacky’ theme.



I loved the food names that the other party from Pinterest used, so I followed suit.


The only non-orange item had to be the Whopper Cannon Balls.


For beverages, I had orange and blue Gatorade.  I made some little birthday labels up in honor of the birthday boy.



Not being a baker,  these cupcakes that I saw at Making Memories With Your Kids were just perfect.  I sincerely am pathetic when it comes to baking.  I just don’t have the patience, and since my family doesn’t eat a lot of baked goods, I don’t get any extra practice (which is fine with me).  This one though was so easy.  Even a baking hack like me could do it.   She used blue and orange cake batter in each cupcake for a marbled effect which I copied and my boys thought was CRAZY!


I knew that I wasn’t going to have a typical party with birthday party games for this one.  I really just wanted the boys to play and have fun, but decided that to get them warmed up, I would create a little obstacle course/firing range in our yard.  Each station of the obstacle course had a flag identifying what number it was so that the boys could easily find their way around independently.


First up was the laser maze.  I often make these up for my boys in the summer when they want me to build obstacle courses.  It’s always a hit because the little guys do so much better than the older boys that have big ol’ feet.


After passing the laser maze and shooting through a hanging hoop, it was off to station number two.  This was an easy setup.  Just up and over the playset with your gun, sit at the bottom of the slide and shoot the target.


At station number 3, we had a pyramid of cups they had to hit and knock over.


Once they had knocked them over and replaced the pyramid, they would race over and hit another target before tackling . . .


hanging balloons.  It was a little breezy that day so it made hitting them a bit more challenging than usual.


After the balloons, it was the golf tee target.  The boys had to hit a ball off a tee before moving onto the next obstacle.


Station number 6 was the ‘military crawl’ through the pool noodles and then hit the target.


It was harder than it looked.


Finally, at station number seven, the boys had to climb on a tricycle and follow a crazy chalk-drawn path to the final target.  Again, this was an easier task for the smaller boys than the big ones, but they were all cracking up trying to make their way to the finish line.


Once there, it was one final target.  I really thought they would go through it once and be like, ‘ok what’s next.’  But they ran through that course over and over and over until I told them it was time for a short intermission and refueling break.



I got this great idea to use nail pouches to hold bullets from Taryn’s Journal and decided they would be great for packing party favors in as well.  I actually let the boys have these midway through the party, because they wanted to play ‘tag’, and I wanted them to have safety glasses on when they did it.  Each pouch had safety glasses  and a small little Elite Jolt Nerf gun. I was a little concerned that these little guns wouldn’t be all that great compared to all the big ol’ guns the boys brought with them, but I have to tell you, those little micro shooters have distance to them.  The boys LOVED them.




While they could have run that obstacle course all day long, a game of tag was bound to happen.  So laid out the rules in no uncertain terms.  This was tag, but I still wanted them to act responsibly and appropriately even if they were only Nerf guns.


So . . .No shooting above the shoulders.  Safety googles had to be on at all times.  If you got tagged, you could not tag someone else until unfrozen.  You were frozen until another member of your team crawled through your legs. (No matter how small that team member was or how big you are . . .)


I’m happy to say that the boys were great. Everyone played responsibly, but more importantly, everyone had a blast!!!  They would have stayed until the wee hours of the night playing like that which only tells me that I will be having a reunion get together at some point this summer.



A few things that might help you out if you’re thinking of throwing your own Nerf party. . .

  • Have your guests bring their own guns if they have them but leave their bullets at home.  It’s no fun trying to divide bullets so I just went ahead and bought a bunch from Amazon so we didn’t have to worry about lost ones.  It made it so much easier.  When the day was over, I sent each boy home with some extra bullets too.


The boys actually didn’t lose too many and were great about making sure everyone had enough.  Those Home Depot nail pockets were a lifesaver.

  • If you are interested in using printables like the ones you see in my pictures above, you are welcome to grab a free copy HERE. They’re nothing fancy, but you are welcome to them if you would like them.  They are also editable if that helps.
  • If you would like to see some of the other sites I found for ideas from this party, you should check out my Pinterest Board for boys birthday parties.  You’ll find lots of ideas.  Just click HERE to find the board and follow me
  • Finally, this is a party that’s gonna be loud and active.  If at all possible, have it outside where they can run, scream, be messy, crazy and have FUN.

I asked my boys what was their favorite part of the day was, and they said, ‘EVERYTHING!’  And my birthday boy snuggled up to me later that evening and told me, ‘mom, when I get old and I’m a dad, I’m going to throw a Nerf Gun Party just like this for my kids.’  Happy momma moment!  I’ll take it.  How about you?

Marsha Moffit McGuire

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