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Michael’s birthday was last week, and he asked to have his party at the local airsoft course, Toxic Airsoft. Yes, An airsoft birthday party.

I’m not a fan of my 11 year-old running through the desert wielding an airsoft gun, but the players wear face protection and there is a list of rules about a mile long. Airsoft has been popular within the past year or so – I don’t know what the pull is, but all the kids are talking about it. For those of you who don’t have tween and teen boys, airsoft is similar to paintball, but not as messy. Small round pellets are shot out of a compressed air gun. At targets. Or other people. On purpose.

So… being the super cool Mom I am, I called the owner of Toxic Airsoft hoping he would tell me that Michael and his friends were too young to play. He kind of talked me into letting Michael have the party there. He said that on the weekends, an average of 30-50 people show up to play. He said it’s fun, and the kids can play with adults – no doubt about it – because the rules are made for everyone. It’s safe.

Ok, enough with the words already. I know you just want pictures.

toxic airsoft birthday party tucson

Airsoft birthday party

Just before the first game started. The group played mini-games that lasted about 20 minutes each. Once hit, the players raised their guns in the air and walked off the playing field.

Airsoft birthday party

The playing field had cars, bunkers, and even a helicopter for the players to hide behind.

Toxic airsoft

There’s the birthday boy!

Airsoft birthday party

Toxic airsoft party

Their first defeat!

toxic airsoft tucson

tucson airsoft range

Obviously none of the pellets hurt too bad, because they all went out for the second game…

vail airsoft

…and were quickly shot. They got better as the night wore on, but it was too dark for my camera!

Kids and airsoft

Does airsoft birthday party hurt

Can you tell that our group was a bit underdressed? No camo, no gas masks. Rookies.

Taking some practice shots during a break.

Even little brother was able to practice shooting, but he didn’t play.

Every single time the kids walked off the field, the owner, Pat asked “Are you guys ok? Are you having fun?” I don’t know that I would have been as relaxed about them going if Pat hadn’t been so kind to them.

The big question… did they get hurt? Yeah, a little.

The injuries ranged from a small red spot to a welt, depending on the speed of the guns the other players were shooting with. Michael took the worst of it with two big welts, and there were two of our kids that came out with just a few pink spots.

I asked if they would go again, and every one of them said, “yeah!!”

I can honestly say that I never would have thought that Michael, who never even owned a “water squirter” (I didn’t allow him to call them guns) until he was 5, would be playing something like this at 10 11. But he did. As did his friends.

Would I recommend it? Absolutely, if your kids are strong enough to take the pellets. They had so much fun – so much – it was great exercise for them, and they worked as a team – most of the time.

I think that having two boys is teaching me that even if I don’t totally agree with something – like tweens shooting at each other with pretend guns – it’s good to keep an open mind. Because sometimes, it’s really not that bad. I just had to look for the silver lining.

I still don’t understand it, though. Probably because I’m a girl.

Do you have kids Michael’s age? Would you let them go to an airsoft field? (If the answer is no, I still want to hear from you ;)

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  1. Trevor Spedding says:

    We don’t have that in England. Probably the nearest thing we have is paintballing.

    1. It is in almost every country… England has it too…

      I am over 40 (did I really just say that) and I play at least once if not twice a month. It is great exercise and fun with adults and teenagers.

      I have a 12 yr old girl that likes to shoot my airsoft guns.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Our 11year olds are like the exact same age. :D we had a friday birthday last week. I don’t think I would do that kind of party (those welts are GNARLY!) but my kid went parasailing for his birthday, so that’s probably more dangerous. looks like you guys had fun!

  3. How fun! Uncle Noah would have LOVED to go with them… I would have been with you, taking pictures, and wincing every time someone got hit ;) Glad Michael had a fun birthday.
    You totally are a super cool Mom!

  4. Looks like the!!! For an 11 year old boy. I’m so proud of you for being open-minded. I know how you feel about that kind of stuff. Did I tell you what I’m bringing the boys when we come in September? Remember to keep an open mind… :)

  5. Christina says:

    Ouch! I’ve never heard of that but it looks painful!! Looks like they had a blast though!

    My husband and I go shooting and we have recently starting teaching our kids gun safety. Josh let them shoot a BB gun for the first time on the 4th of July. Alex LOVED it – which terrified me a little how enthusiastic he was about it. LOL I just hope they listen to what we preach!

  6. Awesome – my 10 y.o. would love this! Sounds like Aunt Jen has got something blogable coming your way ;)

  7. Yikes! I’m with you… we don’t play with guns or talk about shooting or anything. That said, when Zac (or Lilly, if she wanted… though she’s pretty darn girlie) wanted to do this in 8 or 9 years… yeah, I guess I would.
    You did it right! Safety first, and definite fun. You’re SO the cool mom!

  8. Hunter has been begging to play paintball with Hubby for years, his mom won’t let him but oh I would. He loves that stuff, and it is actually safer than him riding his skateboard down the hill. They take so many precautions, making sure that it is fun and safe for everyone.

    You are definitly the coolest mom EVER!

  9. um…. I think this looks painful and far away from me. I live in Lexington so I don’t know if there is one….. But it looks fun to play!!! I have some airsoft guns but all of them broke because it’s plastic. but I’m getting a new one so if anyone know any airsoft field for kids in Eastern Massachusetts (Lexington-Boston) tell me some.

  10. Jeannie Edwards says:

    We have an indoor arena here south of Atlanta, my boys, 8 & 10 (very close to 9 & 11) want to go all the time. And I never thought I would feel this way, but from right from the start, I was comfortable with taking them because of all the rules. At the arena they play at there is a referee that walks around during each round making sure that everybody is playing right. They do have an adults only night, but on the weekend there are kids ages 8 and up. And they all pretty much look out for each other, so they have made a bunch of new friends. My oldest plays travel baseball just about 9 months out of the year, so I’m happy for him to have something else to do during his off weekends.

    1. artcentric says:

      Where is this? I live in Atlanta and am looking for a birthday party place. I’m kind of worried now after looking at those red bruises. Would you say the kids at the indoor place used guns with less compression? I don’t want aggravate any parents! Thanks.

  11. Ted Timmis says:

    Hey Becca,
    Thanks for sharing your experience with the airsoft party. I have ten and twelve year old boys and I am having an airsoft birthday party for them tomorrow. I stumbled across your blog as I was doing a little final research. Here in Michigan, awareness of airsoft is spotty among adults but it seems that all the kids know about it.

    When I first sent out the email invitations, I quickly received a number of regrets from mothers who were totally against the whole idea of airsoft. I was starting to feel like maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. However, as the buzz grew among the boys (and girls) about the party, several of the moms emailed back saying that their plans had changed and that their boys were coming. I suppose that after discovering how big and how widely accepted this “sport” is, they have changed their minds.

    Now, we have reached the tipping point and several of the girls in my boys classes have asked to come to the party. Of course, I was happy to oblige. From the starting point of having no one accepting our invitation, it now looks like we will have over 20 kids.

    Like you, I will make eye protection mandatory and I have told everyone that I will be a real stickler on this point. The one thing I think I will do differently after reading your blog is to designate a photographer. I think this will be one of the big events of the year and we will need to capture the fun on film. Thanks Again, Ted

  12. Becca,

    I wish I could’ve read your blog one year ago. My son, then 11, finally talket us into buying an airsoft gun after he researched the dangers of other sports we encouraged, such as Baseball, Football, etc. The injury rates were more serious and more common in the non-airsoft sports. We also had him sign a contract that stated he would follow certain rules. These included eye protection, care and safety/location of weapons when use and when not in use. Should he break this contract we had the option of taking his gun(s) away for an extended period of time.

    He has yet to break these rules one year later and loves the sport. I still don’t feel comfortable with the whole gun thing, but I realize that this was not going away as my son got older. So I had to change my way of thinking. So far so good.


  13. p.s.

    My son did all of the research and came to us with these stats regarding other sports related injuries. That was so logical we couldn’t argue.

  14. I play airsoft a few times a week and personally I think it is really fun. The thing about it though is that you might have to start buying your boys airsoft guns because it seemed like they really liked it. Just to let you know aswell those bumps and bruises are not that bad because I got hit with a 400 fps (feet per second) gun at point plank before that busted my nail in half.

  15. My son wants an airsoft party for his 13th birthday. what kind of cake did you have?

  16. Connie Orud says:

    Hello! I really enjoy you! I feel like I’m so much like you! I want to have a Margarita with you! lol. Just wanted to thank you for the info on Airsoft party… My son turns 14 this May and this is our plan. He and his buddies are pretty aggressive, (in a very playful, fun way), reading your article on this helped me make the decision. They already put welts on each other with them anyway! Thanks again!

    1. Lol, Connie! I’ll have a margarita with you!

      I’m so glad my post made you feel a little better about the airlift party. I don’t know why these kids like to come home with welts, but if they’re ok with it, I guess I am too.

      As long as it’s not their face.
      And it only happens once a year ;)

  17. Samantha W. says:

    I am turning 10 and i want an air soft party. I am a girl… I can Take a PELT or 2 or 3 or 4 or 5, Well maybe not 5 but I am a pretty strong girl. I took a pelt from my brothers friends gun, IT HURT SUPER BAD. It was a sniper rifle! My birthday is in 9 days, I will keep thinking.


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