Nerf Wars! Five Reasons why they’re Good for Kids
Nerf Wars! Five Reasons why they’re Good for Kids
Now I know what you’re thinking. I would say this, and, yes I am motivated to say this as Nerf is one of Toys Paradise’s bestselling products and my girls and I enjoy playing Nerf Wars in the park. But this article may give you a little comfort when your child asks for Nerf and wants to join in the fun.
Growing up was for me was playing outdoors running around with my brothers and friends. When we were little, we’d play with pretend guns which could be plastic cap replicas or sticks. As we grew bigger, pretend falling down after we were hit wasn’t quite the same and we required evidence that a shot had been fired and hit had been scored. Enter the tennis ball. This graduated to the wet tennis ball. Boys will be boys.
Kids now have Nerf and this has revolutionised tag play. When the Nerf Rebelle was released last year it allowed girls to get in on the act and my girls were quick to embrace it. They didn’t see it is a weapon, but as a means to practice target shooting and play tag. It was a toy, not a gun.
I’d never really played with Nerf, but knew that it was big and now know there is a whole community devoted to safe Nerf play. And Nerf is like any toy. You need common sense and children need a little guidance.
Nerf Wars! The Kids Win!
Firstly, Nerf is a TOY. Guns kill people. Nerf doesn’t kill people. With that in mind, here’s some of the benefits of Nerf Wars.
- Fitness and Exercise:
Nerf gets children off the sofa and away, away from the video games, iPads and the TVs. We used to play releasing at school and our girls play a variant of it now. When you’re in, carrying a Nerf Blaster and having to tag the players makes it a little more interesting. School can only give your kids so much exercise and don’t usually provide the recognised two hours a day. Playing with Nerf and having a Nerf War or tag can assist here.
- 2. It’s a Competition
I have a pet hate here. How many times do we hear “It’s not a competition”? Well, in my view, it is. Everything is. Whether at school or in the work place, if you want something, you generally have to compete for it. NERF games, like all games allow children to experience competition and then learn from those experiences. Competition is healthy when properly channelled and fostered. It’s important for parents to monitor the children to ensure health competition is being observed.
- 3. Structure and Rules
When planning a Nerf War it’s important that ther
e are rules and structure. This allows the children to set rules and then enforce the rules in a fair manner. This is important for development and assists in building leadership qualities.
- 4. Under Pressure!
Strong competition induces stress. Not all stress is bad. Stress related to competition is good for children to be exposed for later experience in life. Coping with stress in small amounts in a gaming environment helps when dealing with stress at higher levels.
- 5. Focus and Execution
Nerf Wars and games require great amounts of focus and concentration. If playing a hide and seek tag lying in wait requires concentration to remain still. Target practice requires focus to hit the targets. All of these skills are important for development.
What are the Dos and Don’t of Nerf ?
With Nerf Rebelle it was fun and easy to explain to a child what was safe and what was not. While Nerf blasters are not dangerous, if you apply the same common sense themes you would for an air rifle or a bow and arrow, your kids will be the safer for it:
- Don’t look down the barrel
- Keep the NERF gun pointed at the ground until you are ready to take aim
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you are aiming at your target
- Don’t leave it laying around ready to fire
- When playing or Nerf Wars, hitting above the neck doesn’t count.
- Don’t sneak up on people and point at the head.
- Depending on the ages of the children or young adults, I would recommend that protective glasses worn for tag and Nerf Wars.
What Kind of Games To Play with Nerf?
I have touched on the two main games. There are a number of games that can be played with NERF guns.
- Nerf Tag
One player is in and must shoot or tag players. The player who is on must give the “runners” a start. The player must shoot the runners with their Nerf, once hit they retire and the game is complete when all players have been tagged.
This game can be expanded to have tagged players “released” by other runners. The runners tagged must retire to a holding area and then wait to be released by other runners. A release occurs by a runner touching a tagged runner and then them both getting away from the holding area.
- Nerf Target practice
Target practice teaches concentration and motor skills. The targets can be an old dart board or just a chalk drawn target on a wall or other toys that can be knocked by the darts.
- NERF war
One for the bigger kids and this can be as a structured as you like or as simple as TAG. Expand with a flag capture, military type maneuverers. You can also have players retire or allow players to be re admitted.
A well-structured Nerf War promotes leadership, teamwork and strategy.
At the end of the day, playing with Nerf is fun for both boys and girls. It’s important to have adult supervision at the beginning so the children understand that it is a toy and not a weapon. Nerf play can promote development in keys areas for children such focus, concentration, leadership and teamwork. It also promotes fitness and well being.