Getting started with laser tag for kids can be an exciting adventure, offering both fun and fitness in a high-tech game environment. Whether you’re a parent planning your child’s first laser tag birthday party or looking for a new activity to engage your kids, this beginner guide will walk you through everything you need to know about introducing children to the world of laser tag.

Basics of Laser Tag for Kids:

Understanding Laser Tag

Laser tag is a tag game played with guns that emit infrared beams. Players wear infrared-sensitive targets (usually vests) and aim to tag opponents by shooting their vests with their guns. The game is typically played in dark, maze-like arenas, which add to the challenge and excitement.

Age and Height Considerations

Before diving into the game, it’s important to consider the age and height of the child. While laser tag is suitable for a wide range of ages, most venues recommend that players be at least 5-7 years old and meet specific height requirements to ensure they can comfortably handle the equipment and enjoy the game.

Choosing the Right Venue

  • Safety First: Look for venues that prioritize safety, offering equipment that fits younger players and ensuring the playing area is well-monitored.
  • Age-appropriate Games: Some venues offer games tailored to younger players, with simpler rules and smaller arenas.
  • Private Sessions: Consider booking a private session for your group if it’s your child’s first time. This allows them to learn at their own pace.

Preparing Your Child

  • Explain the Rules: Make sure your child understands the basic rules and objective of the game. Emphasize the importance of fair play.
  • Dress Appropriately: Recommend wearing comfortable clothing and sneakers. Dark colors are preferable, as they blend in with the dimly lit arena.
  • Safety Briefing: Attend the safety briefing with your child. It’s crucial for them to understand how to use the equipment safely and what the game boundaries are.

During the Game

  • Stay Positive: Encourage your child to have fun and not to worry about “winning” or “losing.” The goal is to enjoy the experience.
  • Teamwork and Strategy: Teach them the basics of teamwork and simple strategies, like moving quietly or working with teammates.

After the Game

  • Discuss the Experience: Talk about what they enjoyed and what they learned. This can help them improve for next time and reinforce the fun aspects of the game.
  • Hydration and Rest: Make sure they drink water and take a moment to rest, as laser tag can be physically demanding.

Safety Tips

  • Remind your child not to run or climb on the structures within the arena to avoid injuries.
  • Ensure they understand the importance of not pointing the laser guns at anyone’s eyes.

Encouraging Sportsmanship

Teach your child to be a good sport, whether they win or lose. Congratulating others, playing fair, and following the rules are all important aspects of any game, including laser tag.

Laser Tag Play Rules for Kids:

Laser tag rules can vary slightly depending on the venue or the specific game mode being played, but there are common rules and guidelines that are generally followed to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. Here’s a comprehensive list of the basic rules typically found in laser tag games:

1. Equipment Use

  • Do not cover or tamper with your sensors or the sensors of others. This ensures fair play.
  • Handle the laser tag equipment with care. Do not drop or hit the guns and vests.

2. Gameplay

  • No physical contact. This includes pushing, shoving, or hitting other players.
  • Do not run. While fast movement is encouraged, running can lead to accidents, especially in dark or crowded areas.
  • Stay within designated areas. Do not climb on the walls, barriers, or props within the arena.
  • Follow specific game objectives. Depending on the game mode, objectives may vary from tagging opponents to capturing zones.

3. Tagging

  • Only tags made by the laser gun to the sensors are counted. Physical tags or using hands to cover sensors are not allowed.
  • Respect the tagging range and angles. If the equipment has specific range limitations or angle requirements for a valid tag, they must be adhered to.

4. Sportsmanship

  • Play fair and respect all players. Good sportsmanship is key to a fun game.
  • Listen to and follow the instructions of the game marshals or staff. They are there to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience.
  • No foul language or inappropriate behavior. Maintain a positive and respectful environment for all players.

5. Safety

  • Wear the equipment properly. Make sure vests and headbands (if used) are secured and sensors are visible.
  • Use caution when moving. The arena may have dark areas and physical obstacles.
  • Report any issues with equipment or the arena to staff immediately. This includes broken barriers, malfunctioning equipment, or any safety hazards.

6. Start and End of Game

  • Wait for the official start signal before beginning. Do not start tagging until the game has officially begun.
  • Cease all tagging when the end signal is given. The game is over, and further tagging should stop immediately.

7. Personal Belongings

  • Remove loose items. It’s recommended to not bring or wear loose items like glasses, jewelry, or hats that could fall off during the game.
  • Secure personal belongings. Use lockers or designated areas to keep personal items safe.

8. Health Considerations

  • Individuals with photosensitive epilepsy should exercise caution. The flashing lights in the arena may trigger seizures.
  • Pregnant women and individuals with heart conditions or other serious health issues should avoid playing. Consult with a healthcare professional if unsure.

Following these rules helps ensure that laser tag remains a fun and engaging activity for players of all ages. Always check with your local laser tag venue for any additional or specific rules they might have in place. Check out this PDF manual with more detailed rules.

How to prepare your kid to play laser tag for the first time:

Preparing for a laser tag game, especially for kids experiencing it for the first time, involves both practical preparations and setting the right expectations. Here’s how to ensure your kids are ready for their first laser tag adventure, making it an enjoyable and memorable experience.

1. Understand the Game

  • Explain the Basics: Before the big day, sit down with your kids and explain what laser tag is. Use videos or pictures to show them the equipment, the vest, and the arena. This can help demystify the experience and build excitement.
  • Discuss the Objective: Make sure they understand the main goal of laser tag is to “tag” opponents with their laser guns while avoiding being tagged themselves.

2. Set Expectations

  • It’s Just a Game: Emphasize that laser tag is a game meant for fun. Winning is less important than participating and enjoying the experience.
  • Talk About the Environment: Explain that the game will be played in a dark arena with special lighting and music, which makes it exciting but might be a bit surprising at first.

3. Safety First

  • Discuss Safety Rules: Go over the importance of not running too fast, to avoid collisions and falls, and remind them not to climb on the obstacles.
  • Protective Wear: If the venue allows, consider knee pads or elbow pads for extra protection, and ensure they wear closed-toe shoes for better grip and safety.

4. Dress Appropriately

  • Comfortable Clothing: Choose comfortable, breathable clothing that allows for easy movement. Dark colors are advisable as they blend in with the dark arena, making it harder for opponents to spot them.
  • Proper Footwear: Sneakers or any comfortable, closed-toe shoes with good grip are essential to navigate the arena safely.

5. Arrive Early

  • Pre-Game Briefing: Arriving early allows your child to get acquainted with the environment, listen to the rules from the staff, and ask any questions they might have.
  • Equipment Fitting: This also provides time to get the laser tag vest and gun fitted properly, ensuring comfort and ease of use during the game.

6. Hydration and Snacks

  • Stay Hydrated: Encourage drinking water before and after the game, as running around can be quite the workout.
  • Light Meals: Have a light meal or snack beforehand to ensure they have the energy for the game without feeling uncomfortable.

7. Team Strategy

  • Encourage Teamwork: If they’re playing with friends, discuss simple strategies like sticking together or assigning roles. This can make the game more fun and engaging.
  • Practice at Home: You can simulate simple laser tag scenarios at home, using flashlights as “lasers” to practice aiming and dodging.

8. Post-Game Plan

  • Cool Down: Plan for some downtime after the game to allow them to cool down, hydrate, and share their experiences.
  • Reflect on the Fun: Discuss what they enjoyed most and what they learned, reinforcing the positive aspects of the experience.

9. Encourage Sportsmanship

  • Teach the importance of fair play, congratulating others, and being gracious whether they win or lose.

Preparing for laser tag involves not just logistical arrangements but also ensuring your kids are mentally ready and understand the game’s fun and safe nature. By following these steps, you can help guarantee that their first laser tag experience is thrilling, safe, and the beginning of many more to come.

More Laser Tag Tips for Kids:

1. Rules matter and must be followed:

  • Make sure they listen carefully during the briefing session. Knowing the rules not only helps them play better but also ensures their safety and the safety of others.

2. Wear Appropriate Clothing

  • Encourage them to wear dark, comfortable clothing that is easy to move in. Dark colors make it harder for opponents to spot them in the dimly lit arena. Comfortable sneakers are a must for safe running and maneuvering.

3. Stay Aware of Surroundings

  • The arena can be dark and filled with obstacles. They should keep an eye out to avoid running into walls or tripping over props.

4. Use Cover Wisely

  • Teach them the importance of using the obstacles and walls for cover. This strategy can help them avoid getting tagged and plan their next move.

5. Aim Carefully

  • Encourage them to take a moment to aim before shooting. Spraying and praying wastes ammo and exposes their location. A well-aimed shot is more effective.

6. Move Stealthily

  • Loud noises and fast movements can give away their position. Advise them to move quietly and cautiously to sneak up on opponents or evade being tagged.

7. Communicate with Teammates

  • If they’re playing in teams, remind them to communicate with their teammates. Working together can make the game more enjoyable and successful.

8. Keep Moving

  • Staying in one spot makes them an easy target. Encourage them to keep moving, but remind them to be mindful of their surroundings to stay safe.

9. It’s Okay to Be Tagged

  • Let them know that getting tagged is part of the game and it’s okay. The most important thing is to have fun and try their best.

10. Stay Hydrated

  • Running around can be exhausting. Remind them to drink water before and after the game to stay hydrated.