Teen Program: Friday Night Madness – Nerf Gun War

The 4-1-1:

When: September 13th, 4:30 – 8:00pm
Resources: None
How many teens: 22 teens
Cost/Supplies: $0

  • Empty Boxes (collected from Library)
  • Nerf Guns (already had)

The run-down:

I put all the collected boxes into the middle of the room. After splitting the group into two, I let the team captains take turn picking which boxes we had. Since we had boxes of all sizes I felt like this would make the box division the most even. Once the teams and box had been divvied up, I gave them about 15 minutes to build their base.

After the bases were built, I went over all the rules. The rounds would last 10 minutes, if you were hit you were out (but I allowed them to go back in at the halfway point), and no headshots. I then allowed each team to pull out 10 chairs to use as cover and started the game.

I did change up the rules up a little as we played. For example, I set the timer for every 2 minutes, so they’re “dead” time was much shorter. We also switched up teams about halfway through and the teens started to get creative and created body armor out of boxes. I did have a couple of kids decide to go play board games with my co-worker towards the end (Dual program), but the majority stayed with the nerf guns the whole time.

Take-away/lessons learned:

  • Overall, this one was quite successful. All the teens I’ve talked to had a blast & are already excited about next month (zombies). I even had a couple of teens who expressed surprise at how much fun they had (slightly insulting, but kind of the best compliment, too)

  • The only real change I would make is to have them divide their teams into “roles”. I had one team who tried to camp the whole time behind their fort (I did outlaw this), but I could see keeping a “gunner” or a “weapon re-loader” back behind there while everyone else tackled the battlefield.

  • The other thing I’m not sure how to fix is the “I got so – and – so and they’re won’t go out!” I tried to watch as much as possible, but with 20 teens all shooting guns at the same time it’s near impossible. I did start saying that if someone says they got you, then you’re out. With the time limit being every 2 minutes, most teens didn’t have to wait too long. I know it wasn’t the best solution, but it was the most workable at that moment. If I decide to do nerf gun wars this style again, this will be something I think harder about and try to come up with a solution.



  1. When playing tag with younger kids I’ve always asked them to play “rock, paper, scissors” to determine who is “out”. Not sure if it’d work with teens or not.

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