Nerf guns are popular toys for kids. As with anything, they can be age-specific.
What may be appropriate and fun for a six-year-old may not be the same for a three or four-year-old. A three-year-old won’t need as many bells and whistles, nor can they handle as many as a six-year-old.
Several factors need to be considered when looking for the best Nerf gun for a five-year-old, and a Nerf gun for a three-year-old. Let’s take a look at what you should be aware of before you shop.
In this article
- Short On Time? Here Are Our Top Three Choices
- Factors to Consider Before Buying a Nerf Gun
- Best Nerf Guns for 3 and 4-year-olds
- 1. Nerf-N Strike Maverick Rev-6 White
- 2. Nerf Glowshot Gun
- 3. Nerf N Strike Elite Strongarm Toy Blaster
- 4. Nerf MicroShots Zombie Strike
- Best Nerf Guns for 5 and 6 year-olds
- 1. Nerf N-Strike NanoFire
- 2. Star Wars Rogue One Nerf Captain Cassian Andor Blaster
- 3. Nerf Fortnite TS-1 Blaster
- 4. Nerf Zombie Strike Hammershot Blaster
- Best Overall Nerf Gun
- Nerf N Strike Elite Firestrike Blaster
- How Kids Can Benefit from Playing with Nerf Guns
- The Bottom Line
Short On Time? Here Are Our Top Three Choices
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|Top||Nerf N-Strike Elite: Strongarm Blaster with 30-Dart Refill Pack Frustration-Free Packaging Bundle||Prime||Buy Now|
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Factors to Consider Before Buying a Nerf Gun
Whether you’re buying a Nerf gun for your child or as a gift, safety needs to be the top priority. Nerf guns can be dangerous if someone takes a dart to the eye. This is why kids should wear protective eye gear when they’re playing with a Nerf gun.
Another thing to consider is whether the Nerf gun has any small pieces. This can pose a choking hazard, especially for little kids. Look to see if foam pieces can fall off or what other small pieces the Nerf gun may come with that could be dangerous.
Always look to see what age group Nerf guns are recommended for. As you search through the various Nerf guns, you’ll notice that many are recommended for ages eight and up.
There are very few that have a different recommended age group. Keeping this in mind, you want to look at the ammunition, speed, and how easy it is to hold to determine if it’s the right Nerf gun for a specific child.
Some are just not safe for younger kids. If you’re buying one as a gift, read all of the box’s descriptions to see if it is appropriate.
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While no restrictions are stating whether Nerf guns should be played with inside or outside, you’ll need to decide whether you’ll allow them to be played with inside your house.
You’ll want to look at how far the gun shoots. Many Nerf guns have a range of 10-20 feet, with some guns ranging up to 70 feet. The guns with the longer ranges may be best suited for the outdoors.
Keeping these factors in mind will help you choose the best Nerf gun for a five-year-old or any age group. Now that you know what to look for, let’s break down the best Nerf guns for kids ages three to six.
We’ve separated them into ones for three and four-year-olds and a group for five and six-year-olds to help you make the best selection. We’ve also included our pick for the best overall Nerf gun.
When it comes to Nerf guns, you’ll want to keep the size of it in mind. For the most part, Nerf guns can be divided into small, medium, and large.
The smaller ones usually come with 2-3 darts and don’t have storage space. This means a child will continuously have to reload after the darts are shot. They are usually spring-activated and have a slower velocity.
The medium ones can be either one or two-handed. These feature some dart storage and things like rotating barrels and quick-fire loading.
These are usually manually powered and require some strength to handle. These may not be best for three and four-year-olds, but some five and six-year-olds may handle them.
The larger Nerf guns will not be on your radar if you’re looking for the best Nerf guns for 3, 4, 5, or 6-year-olds. These are heavy to handle and pack a lot of power.
They are just too much for little hands to use and should be reserved for the older crowd. They’re also much more expensive than the smaller or medium Nerf guns.
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Best Nerf Guns for 3 and 4-year-olds
- Nerf-N Strike Maverick Rev-6 White
- Nerf Glowshot Gun
- Nerf N Strike Elite Strongarm Toy Blaster
- Nerf MicroShots Zombie Strike
This one is our top for the best Nerf Guns for three and four-year-olds because it is one of the very few that has a recommended age under 8. This one is recommended for kids three years and up. If you’re choosing this as a gift or for your child, you know this is one they can handle.
One of the reasons we like this one so much is that it’s simple and easy to use. It has a simple loading mechanism for the foam shells.
It comes with six darts, which is just the right amount for little ones to handle. They are also foam-based, so they’re softer than some other materials.
As with any other Nerf gun, it’s important to wear eye protection when playing with this toy. The only downside with this toy is that it is a bit on the pricey side compared to other Nerf guns that are on the simpler side.
While this should keep three and four-year-olds entertained, this may not be a toy they can continue to play with as they get older.
- Simple to use
- Comes with six darts
- On the expensive side
- Kids could get bored with it as they get older
Here’s another Nerf gun for a three-year-old that’s simple enough for them to use. The Nerf Glowshot Gun comes with just three darts and fires one at a time.
The bonus part of this toy is that it lights up. This is something that should entertain the three and four-year-old crowds. Kids like to see toys light up!
The darts are foam, which is a plus when it comes to little ones. But, you’ll still want them to wear protective eye gear because accidents can happen.
This one also requires no batteries, so kids can play for as long as they and won’t ever come over to you asking for batteries. It’s a win-win!
Another reason why we love this Nerf gun is that it is very inexpensive when compared to others. It makes a great gift or a great buy for your child.
The only downside is that it only comes with three darts. This means kids will likely sift through them quickly, meaning that they’ll have to reload quicker unless you want to buy extra darts.
- Reasonably priced
- No batteries required
- Easy for kids to use
- Lights up
- Only comes with three darts
Here’s another Nerf gun to consider if you’re looking for something simple for the younger crowd. Although this one has a recommended age of 8 and up, younger kids could use it if parents feel comfortable.
There is a rotating dart barrel that holds six darts at once. The darts are made of foam with flexible, hollow tips. They’re easy to load and are designed to go far. The blaster shoots the darts up to 90 feet. So, this may be a toy you save for the outdoors.
There are no batteries required, so all of the action is done by hand. You need to make sure your little one has enough strength to load and reload their gun using just their arm strength.
This Nerf gun is also reasonably priced and is one that should keep kids entertained as they get older. So, you should get your money’s worth with this one.
The only drawback for the little ones is that it is a fast-paced toy, so you’ll want to be sure they can handle it.
- Comes with six darts that can be loaded at once
- No batteries required
- Reasonably priced
- Shoots far, so it may not be the best inside toy choice
Here’s a mini version of a favorite Nerf gun. This one is a great choice if you’re looking for a Nerf gun for a three-year-old. Little hands can undoubtedly use this one because of its compact size.
This is also an excellent choice for little ones because it’s simple to use as well. It only fires one dart at a time, so they shouldn’t get confused or frustrated with the toy.
The toy only comes with two darts. This could become a problem if a child fires them off quickly. You may want to buy a few extras because they could get frustrated having to reload always.
When it comes to price, this is undoubtedly one of the most affordable Nerf guns out there. While it may not grow with your child, you’re not spending a lot of money on a toy that they may not play with as they get older.
- Small enough for little hands
- Easy to use
- Only comes with two darts
- The toy may not grow with the child
Best Nerf Guns for 5 and 6 year-olds
- Nerf N-Strike NanoFire
- Star Wars Rogue One Nerf Captain Cassian Andor Blaster
- Nerf Fortnite TS-1 Blaster
- Nerf Zombie Strike Hammershot Blaster
While you can step things up a notch when you’re moving to the five and six-year-old crowd, they’re still small kids, so you don’t want to get a Nerf gun with too many bells and whistles.
The Nerf N-Strike NanoFire tops our list because it’s on the simpler side, but can still be fun for kids.
Kids need to pull down the priming handle once the dart is loaded and pull the trigger to fire. They can reload and fire again and again. Don’t forget the protective eye gear. Just because this Nerf gun is small doesn’t mean accidents can’t happen.
The Nerf N-Strike NanoFire is sized right for them and is easy to handle. It comes with three darts and fires just one dart at a time. Kids can load two darts at a time, so they won’t constantly reload the toy.
Additional darts are also sold separately. It is also very inexpensive, so it makes a great gift!
- Easy to use
- Compact in size
- Reasonably priced
- Loads two darts at a time
- Only come with three darts, may want to buy more
This is another great Nerf gun for a five or six-year-old because it has some cool bells and whistles, plus it’s Star Wars themed. The blaster includes three darts that can be fired one at a time.
It’s also recommended explicitly for ages six and up, so you know it’s something that’s geared towards that age group.
One cool feature is that it lights up and has glow-in-the-dark darts. This is very fun for kids as they play. There are also laser blast sound effects.
This is something that should keep them entertained for hours. But, you may have to replace the batteries, as this toy does require 3 AAA batteries. Be sure to have them stocked in your house!
A big thing to consider with this Nerf gun is the price. It is significantly more expensive than other models on the list. So, you need to decide whether the cost is worth it before buying.
- Fun GlowStrike technology
- Laser blast sound effects
- Includes three darts
- Batteries required
If your child is into Fortnite, this Nerf Gun could undoubtedly be considered because it’s a replica of the Fortnite blaster used in the video game.
This Nerf gun has the power to blast four darts in a row. It’s a bit more fast-paced than some of the other Nerf guns, so be sure your child can handle that and the pump-action blaster. There are no batteries required, which means all the power is at their fingertips.
It comes with eight official Nerf Mega darts and has storage on the stock for four darts. Kids like this because they can reload faster without going and retrieving the darts and putting them back into the machine.
Don’t forget the protective eye gear since this Nerf gun can fire four darts in a row.
When it comes to the price, it is comparable to other ones on the market for what it has to offer. You just need to determine whether your five or six-year-old can handle loading the four darts at once and use hand power to send them off.
- Comes with eight darts
- Fires 4 at a time while storing the other 4
- Reasonably priced
- Kids need to power this themselves, could be difficult for smaller children
Here’s another Nerf gun to consider when looking at the best Nerf guns for a five and six-year-old. The Zombie Strike Hammershot Blaster is a favorite for many reasons.
One is that it comes with five darts and can hold all five at once. Kids can blast them off using just one hand, which makes it easy for them to handle. Many of them may also like the Zombie theme that this toy centers around.
This toy is also lightweight, so kids should be able to carry it around just fine. But, since it is recommended for ages eight and up, you’ll want to make sure your child will play with it without any trouble.
We like that it comes with five darts because you shouldn’t have to buy any more to keep kids busy. It’s also reasonably priced for what it has to offer. Don’t forget the protective eye gear if you’re buying this for a gift or for your child.
- Reasonably priced
- Comes with five darts
- Fast-paced, so make sure kids can handle it
Best Overall Nerf Gun
Now that we’ve looked at the best Nerf guns for specific age groups, it’s time to zoom in on the best overall Nerf gun.
For this one, we chose the Nerf N Strike Elite Firestrike Blaster. This one is plenty of fun as it comes with light beam targeting. The precision light beam works on targets that are up to 15 feet away.
It comes with three darts but is compatible with any Elite blaster and most original N-Strike blasters. So if you have one of those in the house, you can interchange them, which is a plus.
The blaster also fires darts up to 75 feet. So, it’s probably one that kids should play outside. The tactical rail is also compatible with most N-STRIKE accessories, which are sold separately.
This Nerf gun may be best suited for the five and six-year-old crowd, but younger ones could play with under parental supervision and if parents give the okay. It’s also reasonably priced for what it has to offer.
- Reasonably priced
- Precision light-beam targeting that works up to 15 feet away
- Fires up to 75 feet
- May be too much to handle for three and four-year-olds
How Kids Can Benefit from Playing with Nerf Guns
Besides having fun, there are other benefits from kids playing with Nerf guns. When kids play with Nerf guns, they’re getting exercise as they’re running around.
Whether they’re trying to reach their targets or retrieve their darts, they’re up and moving. Many parents like this because it gets them off the couch and away from the video games.
Playing with Nerf guns also helps kids to become creative. They start role-playing and creating different scenarios. This creativity is something they can utilize all of the time.
By using their imagination, kids can realize how many different things they can do. This can also boost their confidence as they come up with multiple ideas.
They also work on their cognitive skills while role-playing. They may start to imitate the actions of their favorite characters as they play with their Nerf guns.
Many times kids want a Nerf gun so they can play with their friends. This one-on-one interaction is also significant for kids. It’s much better for them than sitting in front of a screen playing video games all day.
As you look at the benefits of kids playing with Nerf guns, it’s also important to explain the dangers of guns to children. Explain the difference between toy guns and real guns and how they are dangerous.
You can tell that while the darts used in Nerf guns are entirely different from the ammunition used in real guns. They must understand the differences as they play and as they get older.
If you’re new to the Nerf gun scene, chances are you have some questions about them. Here are some common questions that people have about Nerf guns for kids.
Does a Nerf gun shoot far?
It depends on the size of the Nerf gun. Smaller ones have a range of 10-20 feet. Some of the larger ones can go up to 70 feet, while the medium-sized ones can fire up to 40-50 feet.
If you’re buying a Nerf gun for smaller children, you can expect it to have a range of around 20 feet. Always check to see if you’re comfortable with how far it can fire.
Are Nerf guns unisex toys?
Of course! There are plenty of girls who like to play with Nerf guns. You’ll notice some are made to appeal especially to girls.
Are Nerf guns dangerous?
Kids can get hurt using Nerf guns. This is why they must always wear protective eye gear. It would help if you also were mindful of small parts that could cause a choking hazard.
This includes small parts to the gun and any foam pieces from the darts that can fall off.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to Nerf guns for a five or three-year-old or any age group, you need to examine what each child can handle closely. Some three-year-olds can handle toys that are designed for older kids and some who cannot.
Many Nerf guns are recommended for ages eight and up. Be sure to keep that in mind as you’re making your selection.
When it comes to choosing Nerf guns for the younger crowd, always remember to keep it simple. That’s while you’ll notice that many of our top picks are on the simpler side so that they can appeal to children at different milestones.
We chose the Nerf-N Strike Maverick Rev-6 White for the three and four-year-old group because it’s easy to use and lightweight for smaller children. It’s also one of the very few that is recommended for kids three years and up.
It has a simple loading mechanism and uses foam shells. They are made of a soft material which is especially helpful for smaller children. It comes with six darts, which is enough for small kids to handle.
For the five and six-year-old group, our top pick was the Nerf N-Strike NanoFire. While this one is still on the smaller side and is easy to use, it has a bit more enhanced as it can load two darts at a time, so kids don’t have to reload constantly.
They have to pull down the priming handle and pull the trigger to send the dart flying into the air. It’s also small enough for little hands to use without getting frustrated. We also like the fact that this one is reasonably priced.
As for the best overall Nerf gun, the Nerf N Strike Elite Firestrike Blaster caught our eye because it has some fun light beam targeting.
While this may be a bit too much for the three and four-year-olds, the five and six-year-olds can certainly have some fun with this one. The fact that the darts also fire up to 75 feet is a plus for kids who want more action.
Although it comes with three darts, it is compatible with so many other models that you can interchange them if you have more than one type of Nerf gun in your home.
When choosing the best Nerf gun for a five-year-old or a three-year-old or another age group, you should always look to see how far and fast the darts fire. This can give you a good indication of whether it’s a suitable toy for the child you’re buying it for.
If you are giving this as a gift, make sure the parent is comfortable with their child receiving a Nerf gun, Some parents are not although their children would love to receive one as a gift.
Giving one when the parent is not on board can result in an awkward situation. As long as they’re on board, a Nerf gun can be a fun toy for kids when played appropriately and with proper adult supervision.