Shoot & Add { Nerf Gun Math For Kids }

nerf gun learning activityThis outdoor math for kids can be done with beanbags, baseballs, water balloons… or Nerf guns like we used. My mantra is to use what they love to make them love learning and that is what we did. Nerf guns are big news at our house right now because I just relented and let my kids have them. Using the darts are an outside only activity although they are loved less for their shooting ability and more for a pretend play prop. Either way they are the bright shiny new and novel item at our house so I used them to make learning fun after school. My goal with all the activities in the Learning After School series is to make the activities for school age kids that are educational without making them feel like homework. Here is what we did with this math for kids activity and yes they LOVED it!

Gather your materials. You will need some plastic cups, a permanent marker, something to use to write down the tally, a nerf blaster , and eye protection. If you don’t want to use a Nerf gun you could use a bean bag or ball.  math activity for kids

Start by writing out numbers on the cups. We did 1-6 but you could number them anything you like. Set them up in a pyramid. nerf gun counting and adding

Get your glasses on and get ready! nerf gun backyard math for kids

Knock those numbers down!!nerf gun math gross motor activity

Add all the numbers on the cups together and record on the chalkboard. nerf gun math tally up

This activity was made for my 6 year old not my 3 year old but so when she shot them down I had her simply identify the numbers on the cups. I am planning on doing this again with her using a bean bag instead of a Nerf gun and the goal of hitting specific cups down. I will post it when I do. nerf gun math number recognition

Set the cups back up and go again. nerf collage 1Add the tally up. I did the addition for my daughter but got her to write some. My son did his own writing. It’s not a ton of practice but it’s a little something in the midst of a fun activity so I will take it! nerf gun addition

Like I said this was designed for my almost 7 year old not my 3 year old. She did well with it and had fun but I would never use this activity with a group of 3 year olds – nerf guns while safe to play with still hurt if you get one in the eye or at close range which is why they had safety glasses on. You know best what your kids are ready for but I just wanted to be clear that this is meant for our big kids !

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  1. Kim says

    This would be great even for older kids learning multiplication. Just multiply any two cups knocked down and then multiply the answer by the next and so on. Or make up a chart of math to do based on how many cups go down. Ex. two cups = multiply together; three cups = multiply any two and add the third to the answer; etc. Again, for older kiddos. My almost 10 and 11 year olds both love nerf play! Thanks for the idea!

  2. says

    In 5th grade my son was struggling with learning averages, but quickly picked it up by measuring the distance of the nerf bullets and then calculating out the averages using a similar method with a white board, string and a ruler. He is in 7th grade now and still loves to do it!


  1. […] Shoot the Sum We love this easy activity because there are just three steps: stack up numbered cups, ask your little shooters to knock them down, and (if they can) add up the total. Kids will delight in shooting and knocking stuff down, but really they’re (Shhhhh!) learning simple addition as well as simple number identification. Parents who don’t allow toy guns can substitute with ping-pong balls or air rockets (see above). Get the details from British Mom-of-three Hannah at No Time For Flashcards. […]

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