5 Ways to Use Nerf in Homeschool
Updated: Mar 9, 2019
I am a #homeschool mom with four sons so I am always on the lookout for fun and creative ways to get my boys motivated for school. When I ran across a photo on Pinterest of a #Nerf dart stuck to a world map I immediately thought it was something my boys would enjoy. I decided to expand the idea and incorporate all four core subjects and see what kind of ideas we could come up with to combine Nerf and #learning. My boys and I had a blast creating these ideas and we wanted to share them with other homeschool families. We hope you enjoy these 5 ways to use #NerfInHomeschool
#1 – Nerf and Math Facts:
I made small targets to be used for multiplication facts (download for free below). You can easily modify these targets to be addition or subtraction facts as well. Simply print with the numbers or facts you desire, cut along the lines and tape the tabs together in the back so they stand up nicely. My original idea was that one kid would shoot at the number group he wanted (multiplying by 4’s for example) and if he missed he had to tell me a multiplying by 4’s fact and if he hit the target I had to tell him a multiplying by 4’s fact. We played the game this way for a while but when we get out Nerf at our house everyone wants to participate so we came up with a competition game for the oldest boys. One kid would shoot down two of the numbers (for example a 7 and 8) and the other kid had to say what 7x8 would be. So it became a stump your brother game and they loved it! They played for a long time. For younger kids I would suggest numbering the targets 1 through 9 and having them shoot down two targets and then tell you what the addition or subtraction fact would be for those two numbers. For very young kids you could have then tell you the name of the number they shoot down so they start to recognize the names for each number.
#2 – Nerf and Science:
For this subject I suggest getting the whole family involved to think of games you can play with your current science subjects. We were doing a dinosaur unit study today and we read a book about which dinosaurs where carnivores, herbivores and omnivores. I made targets that said “Meat Eaters” and “Plant Eaters” with my large target template (download for free below). I gave the kids a quiz by saying the names of dinosaurs and they had to shoot the target that corresponded to their answer of if it was a meat or plant eater. If a dinosaur was an omnivore and ate both plants and animals they could shoot both targets. All four of my kids loved this activity! My preschooler didn’t know why he was shooting the targets but he enjoyed it anyway. You could make the targets into anything you want. Perhaps a game of true and false would be entertaining. You give the kids a science fact and they decide if it is true or false and then shoot the corresponding target.
* How to download my free targets: If you are viewing this on a computer screen you will see adds on the left side of this blog page. After the last add on the left you see word docs titled "NefrSmallTargets" and "NerfLargeTarget" click on those and they automatically download. From a moblie device you will scroll all the way down the page. Just keep scrolling through about 1/2 of the adds and you'll see the download buttons. Click on those word docs and they download automatically.
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#3 – Nerf and Social Studies:
The first way to use Nerf in Social Studies would be for maps and geography. We decided to play a game of name the capital of each state. First I taped a map of the United States to the back of a chair. My 12-yr old son and I played a competition style game with this. We would pick a state that we knew a capital of and I tried to hit that state. I almost always missed the state that I was aiming for which made it really fun and challenging too. Both players had to look to see what state was hit because we don’t have sticky darts. Whatever state was actually hit the player who hit it had to guess the capital. If they got it right they got a point and if they got it wrong they had to read it and they got no points that round. Reading the capitals gives both players an opportunity to learn capitals they didn’t know. This geography game could also be played with a world map where you would name the oceans, continents and even countries if you want to. My second idea for Social Studies and Nerf would be to use the large targets and make things like “North” and “South” for a study of the Civil War. The teacher (mom) gives the name of a person you studied and the student has to decide if they sided with the North or South and then try to hit that target. You could make targets for “Revolutionary War” and “Civil War” and give facts that relate to one or the other and the kids have to choose which war the fact was from.
#4 - Nerf and Language Arts:
Our idea for Language Arts and Nerf was for kids that are learning to read to shoot sight words and read them as they shoot. We set up our magnet board that we use for learning to read and made a few short words to shoot at. When we did that we discovered that a Nerf dart hitting the board made all of the tiles fall off and my boys thought that was great fun. So we decided to put up one word at a time and when the player read the word he got to shoot if off the board. We modified the game for our preschooler who is learning letters. We put up just two letters and then asked if he knew which one was “O” and then when he learned that letter he could shoot it down. I envision lots of Nerf darts hitting this board in the next couple of years because our little guy really enjoyed this game. For older kids it would be fun to play “True” or “False” with the large targets and do a grammar game. You could say, “A capital letter goes at the end of a sentence” then ask them to shoot if that statement is true or false. You could also play it this way for spelling words. You would say; the correct way to spell school is “s-k-o-o-l” is this true or false? Then they get to shoot at true or false.
#5 – Nerf War as a Reward:
This is by far my kid’s favorite way to use Nerf in Homeschool. The deal goes something like this. If you get all of you work done by 2pm today we can have a Nerf War. Or if you do all of your work today without complaining we can have a Nerf War. There are several ways to have a family Nerf War that I recently learned about.
Every Man For Himself
Our favorite way to play Nerf War is that every man is for himself; so no teams. We all choose our weapons and load up on ammo. You probably need to stock up on ammo for this game so I have a link below for the best deal we have found on bulk darts. We also wear eye protection and I have a link for that too. We all stake out a spot and count down until it is game on time. When we call action we try to shoot each other (preferably not in the face). When a man is hit he is considered “out” for 10 seconds until he can shoot again. The person who shot the guy out gets a point and we keep track of our points until someone wins by a predetermined number (usually 10 points wins).
Go To Jail
You can also play another version of Nerf War where the person who is shot goes to “jail”. You decide ahead of time where the jail will be. At our house jail is the couch. People are released from jail when the person who shot them gets shot and put in jail. If one player is successful in putting all of the other players in jail at once they are the winner of this game.
Capture the Flag
There is also a game of capture the flag that you can play with Nerf. First divide into two teams and find an object like a pillow or pillowcase that can be a flag for each team. Then each team defends its flag while trying to get the other team’s flag and bring it back to their homebase. If a player is hit with a nerf dart they have to return to their base and count to 15 before they can be active again. If a player is hit while holding the flag they must drop the flag where they were hit before returning to their base. When the flag is dropped it is up for grabs and can be returned to its original base by a team player or stolen again by the opposing team. The game ends when either flag is successfully carried to the opposing team’s homebase. We hope you enjoy these ideas as much as we have and that you have happy homeschooling days with Nerf! Feel free to leave a comment below with ideas you have for incorporating Nerf and making homeschool fun.
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You can also click on these affiliate links to find great ideas and curriculum for homeschool.
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