Learning With Nerf Guns (seven ideas for hands-on activities)

Is it possible to create learning with Nerf guns? My answer is an enthusiastic, “Yes!”

My son loves Nerf guns.

He has way too many and he still wants more.

There are squishy, orange tipped bullets in all of our backyard bushes.

I am constantly yelling for him to put on eye protection and tripping over random scopes and shields, abandoned on the garage floor.

He loves them and I am learning to embrace all the boy-ness.

Learning with Nerf guns


A couple of months ago, a reader left me a comment on Instagram asking if I had ever used Nerf guns to help my son practice sight words.

“Um, no,” I thought, “but I need too!”

Since then, I have tried to incorporate one Nerf gun activity into each week (I don’t want it to lose its luster and overdo it with Nerf stuff everyday) with some encouraging results.

It is really possible to create learning with Nerf guns!

Learning With Nerf Guns (seven ideas for hands-on activities)

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Learning With Nerf Guns (seven ideas for hands-on activities)

Math Facts

My son has a very difficult time with rote memorization. As such, the multiplication tables are forever my nemesis. The very first activity we tried, and loved, was shooting at the answers (posted around the back yard) for the 7’s and 8’s on the multiplication table. I am not 100% sure if it helped his retention, but it certainly made practice much more fun!


Another struggle for my little guy is sequential thinking. This becomes clear in any comprehension quizzes – he totally knows the story as a whole, but will not always be able to tell you what happened, first, second, third, etc. A simple strategy for strengthening this gap in his thinking is giving him different scenarios from his favorite books (Harry Potter and only Harry Potter right now) and having him shoot the one that comes first. Then the next, and the next.


I call out a major historic event from our learning. He then shoots at one of many era’s written on paper and placed around the yard.

Sight Word Practice

Like my sweet reader suggested, this works so well. I write sight words on my sliding glass window, with chalk markers. He then shoots them as he reads them, or as I call them out. Easy practice and a lot more fun than flash cards.

True or False Quiz

We use this for every subject. I place a “T” and an “F” up in the backyard and he shoots his answers as I quiz him.

Continent Studies

I call out a country and he shoots a dart at its continent on our wall map.

Longitude and Latitude

He shoots the map first, and then plots the longitude and latitude of his dart.

Learning With Nerf Guns (seven ideas for hands-on activities)

This is a kid-friendly, super easy way to incorporate a little hands-on learning into our days.

It’s also fun for us both.


Looking for more hands-on ideas without a ton of work?

Hands-On Science For The Older Learner

Hands-on Study of the Skeletal System

Hands-On Activities Make History Come Alive

Hands-On Activities For The Struggling Reader


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