Make Father’s Day Special! Take the Nerf Upcycle Challenge…

Looking for an easy and fun way to spice up Father’s Day? Try our Nerf Upcycle Challenge and perhaps couple it with some BBQ fun…

Generally we don’t have extended family around for special holidays and I try really hard to try and make event of the small things to make the days special or interesting for us all.  However, this year Father’s Day seems to have fallen right. Not only is it on the same date in both UK and the US (Mother’s Day is months apart by the way) but Grandma and Grandad are visiting us just before hand. We brought he big day forward a week so that both father’s could celebrate together.

Barbecuing breakfast is on my awesome list this year and with the extra hands around to help this seemed like a perfect occasional. I’ve pinned some great breakfast ideas on my food board and I certainty want to try some out, but for this meal nothing less than grilling a full English – complete with bacon, sausage, egg, tomatoes and baked beans (English ones, no BBQ flavor!) – would have been right.

Nerf Upcycle Challenge invites

That would certainly have been one item ticked off the list with style! We sent Dad and Grandad cute invitations (which you can download here: Father’s day bbq; Nerf invite) and had the food all bought ready for a morning on the deck.  But you know, best laid plans and all that… we woke up to thunder, lightening and pouring rain and had to bring the whole event inside. (Sorry, I didn’t tidy the play room for the photos for you all!)

So with breakfast done it was time for a little bit of competitive fun for Father’s Day – The Great Nerf Upcycle Challenge!

Nerf Upcycle Challenge set up

We divided into two teams and set the task (download task cards here: Father’s day bbq; Nerf challenge ) of creating two target practice devices from the materials that would have made it to the recycle bin in the last few weeks. This included:

  • Cardboard boxes (lots of)
  • Plastic tubs
  • Tubes
  • Brown paper
  • Pictures from clothes labels and old magazines etc.

I also added: string, glue, pens, colored paper, tape, and these target printouts from  And to be honest, people did grab a few extra things they found hanging around.

We didn’t set a time limit or many rules and our teams cam up with ideas that were a real blast! Take a look:

The Classic:

First up was a classic fairground / carnival game with (old ball pit) balls balanced on different height pedestals. The creators added wrapping ribbon to save us from constantly running into the basement to retrieve the targets! Simple but effective.

Big Game Spinners:

For this we used carboard boxes cut into target shapes and taped paper straws on the back to allow them to pivot on a string. We added penny weights to help keep them positioned. On the front the kids colored and stuck dinosaur pictures from the recycling box. Shooting these creatures will leave them pretty dizzy!

Plane Spotting:

And our final contestants came up with a highflying contraption using more boxes and the preprinted targets.  We strung them up at different heights with the biggest point haul being placed furthest away. The three dimensional element of these planes made them a fun target… especially when the sucker Nerf darts stuck to them!

The possibilities for upcycled targets really are endless.

Full disclosure, I’m not a huge fan of guns of any type – even Nerf Guns. But the kids love them and get a ton of fun out of chasing around the house with them in winter.  I have to remind them not to shoot at heads/faces and having a more organized target centered game is very preferable. I’m very glad that some of our competition creations can be used in the basement in future. And when the sunshine comes back we’ll have a go at creating some water tip targets too.

All in all, this was a Father’s Day to remember. Much more fun than another new tie and a great way to entertain the kids with no cost, recycled materials.

Let us know what you have planned or if you give our challenge a go…

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