Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Homemade Sword and Shield Toy

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My kids attempting to make a "mean" face to go with their toys.
 They're "pirates", can't you tell?
My kids recently were at their cousins' house. They came home full of reports- "Mommy, did you know that our cousins have toy swords and shields that they made out of wood?Can we please make some too- we also want swords and shields!"

I was actually debating whether or not to actually post this post or not, as there are a lot of opinionated people out there on the internet, quite a few of them who read my blog, and hey, I'm opinionated too, I get it... But I have a feeling that some people will take me to task for making my boys "weapons" to play with.

First off, I have to say that boys will be boys will be boys. Parents can forbid their kids from playing with guns and swords and bows and arrows and anything else resembling weapons, because they don't want to teach their kids that hurting people is ok, and that weapons are toys. I used to feel that way, I'll admit. But reality set in. Kids, if not allowed to have toy weapons, will make their own out of whatever they can find- I've even heard stories of kids "shooting" out of a barbie bent in half. Or in the absence of toys, they often make guns out of their fingers. My kids took apart our bed rail and turned the segments of it into toy swords, already long ago. Not supplying them with these toys doesn't mean they won't find some alternative to make an imitation weapon out of whatever they have.

I'll be honest, that not living in the US, there is a very different gun culture here than there is in the US. There is far stricter gun control laws, and (maybe because of that) much fewer gun related crimes. No school shootings, mall shootings, etc... In fact, kids and adults alike tend to see guns and other weapons, not as something to fight with, to hurt with, but to protect with. My kids have close family members with guns; these family members use guns in their profession to protect citizens. There is definitely not the same connotation here with guns as there is in the US.

And as for swords, I view it as an extension of the gun concept. Weapons are tools of protection, not destruction.
And that's why I made shields to go with the swords. Because if you're using a sword to protect people, a shield is far more important.

I also made them shields so that when they play with each other, no one will get hurt, as they will be aiming at the shield, not at their brother.

I crocheted them a sword holding belt- just a simple chain stitch all the way around, and then a loop to hold the sword.

To make the sword, I took a piece of scrap wood, and cut a long 1+ foot piece, then another 4 inch piece for the cross section. I filed these down very well so there were no splinters and no sharp corners.

I measured how long the handle would need to be to fit their hand, then lay them across each other, and with a screw driver, I screwed them together with one screw in the middle. Because this was still a drop wobbly, I used hot glue from a glue gun to hold it in place more and to fill in the slight gap between the two pieces of wood.

With a saw, I cut the end so it would be pointy-ish and look more sword like. Again, I filed this very well so there would be no sharp edges, and I filed the point so its actually more rounded than pointed so it wouldn't be dangerous.

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The boys painted their swords with acrylic paint, a fun activity for them to do, which gave them some nice practice figuring out which colors mixed to make what.
Lee decided to make his with a blue handle and red blade, and decorated with a black star, while Ike just used all different colors of the rainbow, and ended up with one side mostly pink and the other mostly brown...

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Lee likes hunting for treasures when walking down the street, and collects cool looking things that he finds in his treasure box. He had this gold colored medallion of sorts, which we attached to the hilt with some hot glue, as decoration. Little Ike wanted a decoration as well, so I put two little broken pieces of jewelry that I had lying around the house on his sword, one on each side, to decorate it as well. At Ike's request, I also drew a dragon on his sword.

For their shields, I had two old wooden boards that used to hold puzzles, but we've since lost all the pieces. I cut a short piece from the same original piece of scrap wood that I used to make the sword, and filed down the edges. I took some popsickle sticks that I had lying around the house, cut them into short peices, and glued them together, 6 in a bunch, glued them to each side of the piece of wood, and then glued them onto the wooden board as a handle. All hot glue, by the way.

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I decorated Ike's shield with a picture of a lion, Lee drew a picture of a knight, then asked me to draw a dragon, and then Ike wanted a dragon also on his sword. Apologies on the qualities of the drawing- drawing is not my strong point.

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There you have it- a sword and shield and gun holding belt- completely free. Or at least made entirely with items I had lying around the house.
My kids are thrilled.

Let the sparring practice begin!

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What are your thoughts on kids playing with swords and shields, or guns, or other weapon type toys? Has anything caused you to change your stance on the matter?
Have you ever made a toy like this for your kids?

1 comment:

  1. Your boys are going to have so much fun with these! I like that, once you made the decision, you went all out, with decorations and dragons and everything. I'm sure they were thrilled.

    I too tried to stop my kids from playing with any toy weapons, and wound up relenting on the whole sword thing. There's a romanticism to swords, and there's fencing and whatnot, that makes them seem a bit different to me than guns. Sometimes if you make a decision to come down partway over the line, you take the steam out of any rebellion they might be working up. (Yours are a bit young, but trust me they all do come to that some day! The dreaded teen years...)


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