Looking for a way to get the children out of the house and playing outside this summer? While tag and kick-the-can are great games, one parental secret passed down over the years is almost foolproof – buy them some Nerf bows or blasters!
Ever since Nerf foam guns were introduced in the 1990’s, children have been enjoying the camaraderie of playing games with one another while using the toys. Soon after, Nerf introduced their first bow and arrow toy as well. Ever since that time, thousands of children have used the bows and blasters to learn teamwork, fair play, and how to connect “In Real Life”.
If you want to see our picks for the best Nerf Bows and Blasters, read on!
Top Nerf Bow and Gun Ideas For Children
Nerf Sports Dude Perfect Signature Bow
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Nerf N-Strike HyperFire Blaster
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Nerf Rebelle Secrets and Spies Arrow Revolution
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Nerf N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster
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Nerf Lazer Tag Phoenix LTX Tagger 2-Pack
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Top Nerf Bow and Gun Ideas For Children
This NERF bow is a great intermediate step between 100% “toy” boys and the real thing. Made for kids to play inside and out, this product still delivers outstanding distance and control. With a little practice, you can hit the included target at distances up to 100 feet. At 42 inches long, it is meant for “average” sized 8 year-olds and up. The bow seems roughly to require about 10# of pull to get the string back.
While the included arrows are obviously much safer than real arrows, this isn’t a toy you’d generally use to shoot at a friend. The arrows have a little heft to them, and would probably hurt a bit if you were on the receiving end of a shot. If you follow our safety rules in the guide, you should be fine. After playing with the bow for awhile if the two included arrows eventually prove to be too few, there are refill packs available at a reasonable price.
Called by some the fastest-firing machine gun Nerf has ever made, you’ll enjoy dominating the play battlefield with the Hyperfire Blaster. Foam darts are fired out of the drum by a 4-D battery-powered motor. Nerf claims you can get 90 feet of firing distance but my guess is that is under ideal conditions. Still, for most backyard fights that don’t take place at long ranges, the 25-dart capacity will leave you with plenty of ammo to spare.
At 32 inches tall this bow is a bit more manageable for smaller shooters than the Dude Perfect. The entire toy is made for ease-of-use. The bow is actually an arrow Gatling-gun – a rotating quiver holds up to 6 arrows which can be fired shot-after-shot. Kids don’t have to know how to hold the arrow in order to notch it – the toy takes care of that issue for them.
Some people have a problem with the quiver; if a child outgrows it and wants to use it like a real bow it isn’t difficult to remove from the toy. Your kids will enjoy the whistling sound the arrows make every time they are sent downrange!
The Strongarm Blaster is a great starter option to get into Nerf blasting. While not the top-of-the-line model, it does have a six-dart capacity and the ability to rapid fire if you need it. It’s manually-controlled, so there is no need to worry if your batteries are charged or not.
This toy is often found on Amazon for a very reasonable price. If you are looking to dip your toes into the blaster water, this is a fine choice.
No bullets to lose…nothing left in your backyard to hunt around for in the failing light before bed. Instead, just pure fun!
This set of two blasters allows kids to immediately begin competing in their own lazer-tag matches. Sets are compatible with one another, so as more children in the neighborhood buy LTX guns, more will be able to join in the fun. Outdoor range is excellent. 200 feet of range is normal with some 300 feet shots having been reported. Indoor you’d expect even better range – but I don’t have 300 feet of line of sight in my house.
The guns themselves store the rules of the game. One great feature is the ability to decide how many hits it takes before a player is knocked out of the game. This is handy when older kids want to play with younger ones – or adults with children. Let the younger player have more lives to allow for a more even match.
What To Look For In A Nerf Gun
As a first-time buyer of a Nerf Gun here are some features to consider. The first question you would like answered is the age-old debate of should boys play with toy guns? It is a personal decision each parent needs to make. This guide will give you enough information to make an informative decision.
In this guide, you will find tips on choosing the right kind of Nerf Gun for your child…or for you…
Nerf Gun Features
How ‘Playing Pretend’ Benefits Children
Have you ever had a cup of tea poured from an empty teapot? Or watched two sticks fight each other, or watched stones become cars, or were offered mud as your favorite cookies? Children will take an object, add action and motion and the object transforms into whatever they were imagining.
‘Playing Pretend’ helps a child develop skills.
- By pretending to be someone else, the child learns to empathize with that person in that situation.
- The child learns to solve problems creatively.
- Social and emotional skills develop with role playing. The child learns to interact with voice tones, emotions, and eye contact.
- When playing with action figures and dolls children learn to converse, to make decisions, and to act out the decision made.
- Their language develops when freely experimenting with words during play.
- Children develop emotionally by experiencing positive and negative emotions during pretend play.
- Hand-eye coordination, motor skills, and other physical abilities develop when playing pretend.
Essential Safety Guidelines When Playing with Nerf Guns
Follow these 8 rules as safety guidelines for Nerf Guns.
- Never point a Nerf Gun at someone’s face or your face. Don’t look down the barrel of a Nerf Gun; it may be loaded and shoot you in the eye.
- Never shoot at pets and family members. Aim toy guns should at participants in the game, not bystanders.
- Children shouldn’t hurt each other while playing. Accidents, however, do happen.
- Teach children safety measure when they encounter a real gun.
- Limit exposure to violent TV programs. Children tend to enact violence seen on TV and movies.
- Keep the gun pointed to the ground; only aim the gun to shoot. Never point a gun at someone in a casual manner; it may go off and hurt the person.
- Never leave your Nerf Gun unattended and loaded.
- Wear safety glasses to prevent accidents happening during play.
Kids and Toy Guns – Good or Bad?
Boys make guns out of anything, a stick, a gumshoe, their fingers…from anything and everything. Is toy guns good or bad for your kid? One father commented that if every boy with a toy gun is a potential killer, then nobody is safe on earth. Where do you draw the line? If playing with toy guns are dangerous because it leads to an affinity for guns? What about playing with cars and the number of car accidents? Riding a bike escalating into a motorbike…
Boys between ages 3-6 start ‘pretend playing’ with weapons and fighting. Boys outgrow their toy gun phase. The parent’s strong reaction may create an interest where there wasn’t any. Often, it’s best to let the children play and let them be the hero in their story.
Toy guns have been available for a long time. School shootings have made parents aware of the danger of guns in the hands of children. That led to the question if boys should be allowed to play with toy guns? Won’t it lead to a school shooting or another violent act? There aren’t any substantial studies linking toy guns and pretend weapons with aggression. Cruelty to animals has a stronger correlation to violent behavior than toy guns.
Perhaps the answer lies in taking precautions:
- Avoid toy guns and other toy weapons that look like real weapons: guns, knives, swords and hand grenades.
- Discern between playing aggressively and aggressive behavior.
- Draw the line between accidentally getting hurt while playing and violent behavior.
- Teach the child the difference between playing with toy guns and the real harm guns can do.
A Closer Look at the Benefits of Toy Guns
Use the toy gun to teach the child gun safety. Some programs teach children what to do when they come across a real weapon.
By joining your kid at play, you can teach the child gun safety rules with the toy gun.
Children need exercise. Watching TV or playing games on the tablet won’t give them the exercise a child needs. When boys are enacting scenarios while playing with toy guns, they are getting physical exercise.
Target practice teaches the child balance because they have to aim, shoot and keep their body still while doing it.
The Toy Gun as a Tool for Child Development
Pretend to play battles and wars that boys love to do, help the child develop assertiveness, to control impulse, and stay within boundary limits. These characteristics will help the child as an adult to understand boundaries and not to react impulsively but to think the problem through.
The games played with toy guns places some pressure on the child to be the hero, and to win the bad guy. This slight pressure teaches a child how to cope with stress in adulthood.
Hiding behind the tree waiting for your ‘victim’ requires planning the best strategy, having the patience to wait, and staying focused until the ‘enemy’ shows up. You want to shoot first and not be caught unawares.
Target practice and role play scenarios teach the child to compete in a healthy way.
What Nerf Toy Is Right For You
The best way to choose a Nerf Gun is to consider the age of the player, the environment (indoors or outdoors), and the play style of the individual.
Best Nerf Gun For Outdoor Play
- Nerf Guns with powerful blasts at short distances help you defend your territory at close range and smaller areas. Mounted Nerf Guns with large magazines are best Nerf Guns for defense.
- Nerf Guns with average range, that’s simple to operate, and has enough ammunition works great for running, jumping, shooting from a distance or close-up.
Best Nerf Gun For Large Yards
- Nerf Guns with a range of 90-100 feet are ideal for large yards. Sniper Nerf Guns can shoot far and is a great asset to team wars.
- Bow and arrows can shoot the distance and silently hit an unexpected target.
- The noisier Nerf Guns won’t be as disturbing.
Best Nerf Gun For Teens
- Teens can carry heavier Nerf Guns than toddlers.
- Choose the Nerf Gun based on the action and role you intend to play. Defensive players’ weapons are stationary and therefore heavier in weight. For the active, assertive player the lighter Nerf Gun is a better option with an additional sidearm.
Best Nerf Gun For Indoor Play
- Average range Nerf Guns are best for indoors.
- Consider ammo that travels slower and can bounce off walls.
- Some Nerf Guns are noisier than others.
Best Nerf Gun For Pre-teens
- The younger the child is, the more you should focus on the weight, the size, and ease to handle the gun.
- A pistol is a good option for three years old and up to give them the flexibility to move around while holding a gun. Bigger and heavier Nerf Guns require both hands. Without a free hand, a child can easier lose his balance and fall.
- When the child upgrades to a larger Nerf Gun, the pistol can always serve as a side arm.
- The pre-teen will easier load the front load system of a pistol than a clip system. You don’t want the child to need help every time he wants to load the gun.
- Pre-teens grip priming handles at the back or bottom of the Nerf Gun easier.
Don’t forget the ammo!
The colorful Nerf Guns aren’t necessarily gendered specific. However, there are pink arrows and pink and purple Nerf Guns that are potent in any girl’s hands.
I trust this article has answered some of your questions and concerns regarding toy guns. What is your favorite Nerf Gun…for your kids of course…?