Western Shoot Out

A safe and fun way to use pretend weapons to shoot at targets
One or more safe shooting weapon (Nerf gun, Nerf bow and arrow, suction bow and arrow, or water gun)
Targets (choose from the set up list below): cans, bottles, balloons, inflatables, cardboard etc
small tables for displaying targets
score sheets (or plain paper) and pens
eye protection (goggles, sunglasses, Nerf glasses, etc.)

1. Set up the shooting range area -
A. Soda can knock down - on a small table stack empty soda cans to form a tight pyramid (you will need at least 6 - 3 for the bottom, 2 for middle,1 on top).
B. Water bottle knock down - on a small table line up three empty water bottles side by side with about 6 inches in between each bottle.
C. Beach ball blow down - carefully hammer a dowel into the ground (about 6 inches), place paper tube over dowel so that it stands, balance an inflated beach ball on top.
D. Blow up critter swing - using string or rope, suspend a blow up critter from a tree branch, awning, swing set, etc.
E. Cardboard target - using a CD for your template, trace a circle in the center of your cardboard sheet, repeat with circles of ever increasing sizes to create a target. If you like you can paint or color within the rings. Lean the cardboard against a chair or tree, or attach it with blue tape to a safe wall.
F. Shoot through box - Cut a circle out of a cardboard box using scissors or an exact-o-knife (adults only please!). Set box on a table if it needs more height.
G. Balloon Bonanza Bullseye - Fill a standard balloon with air, tie with string, and hang from a tree branch or overhead structure. If you have helium balloons, tie them to weights or secure them to the ground, to set up a bobbing, ever moving target.
H. Felt sheet stick - You'll only need this if you have those Nerf darts with velcro tips. Take a sheet of cardboard and glue on felt squares at random. You can decide how challenging you want to make this by using either large or small felt squares. Simply glue one large felt square in the center, or multiples on one sheet...it's up to you.
2. Create score sheets for your players (or download our PDF).
3. Divide your group evenly into the number of stations you have created. Send each team to one station.
4. If only using one station, line players up, one behind the other.
5. Hand out score sheets and pens to all the players.

How to Play

1. Set a timer and have kids take turns keeping score of their shots for each station.
2. When the timer goes off, have kids rotate to the very next station.


1. It is also enjoyable to turn the "Western Shoot Out" into a relay race or competition. Teams can compete against each other for time and/or accuracy at each station. Or you can have individuals keep their own score (similar to miniature golf) and the person with the best score wins!
2. The "Western Shoot Out" can also be altered to fit any specific party theme. Simply make your targets "theme oriented" and your western shoot out can become an "Alien Invasion!"


1. Assign an adult to each station - they can keep score, advise players on techniques, and make sure that everyone gets a turn.
2. Safety first! Players should wear eye protection (sunglasses work fine).
3. Remind players that they are only shooting at targets, not each other.
4. If you are playing indoors you can use buckets of sand to hold up your paper tubes, and suspend objects from door jams (just make sure no one is walking behind the doors when players are shooting).

Activity Length
30 - 60 minutes
Either/or (can be played either way)
Easy peasy (fun and simple)
Mess Factor
Clean and tidy
Noise Level
Number of Players
3 to 4
5 to 10
10 to 20
Prep Time
20 minutes or more
Team Division
Every man for himself (individual players)
Teamwork! (divide into teams)