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How do you feel about toy swords and guns / Nerf guns for children? At what age do you find them appropriate for children to begin playing with, if at all?

How would you handle dropping your child off to a babysitter that lets their children / your child play with them if you do not find them appropriate?

Inspired by me picking up my 2 yr old son from my sister in laws where he spent the day playing with swords all day with my 4 and 6 year old nephews. :/ I'm not a fan of toy swords for older children, and definitely not my two year old. I just don't feel that they are necessary, and not pretend play I want him engaging in.

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( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 29th, 2012 11:33 pm (UTC)
Husband got one of the nurf multi shooter things during his best man speech and we were playing around one night and that shit hurt when he shot me!! Lol it was pretty close though
Nov. 29th, 2012 11:37 pm (UTC)
I am perfectly OK those type of toys once they are old enough to understand fantasy from reality and to not hurt people with the toys.

I wouldn't be OK with a 2 year old playing swords since they could hurt themselves or someone else not to mention that the other kids are so much bigger.

Nov. 29th, 2012 11:39 pm (UTC)
My kids were playing at the park the other day with a child who brought toy swords. They all had a blast. My kids don't have swords, but will use any number of other toys (bats, brooms, pool noodles, golf putter). With the swords my kids pretend they are characters from Star Wars or from Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

As for Nerf guns, I bought them for my twin nephews several years ago. My sister said she was waiting for a nice day to play with them OUTSIDE (emphasis from original). They are fun, but are not suitable for indoors.
Nov. 30th, 2012 12:20 am (UTC)
The swords brought to the park were foam as was the one my son briefly had.

Plastic is fine as long as they are very much toys.

I have never seen kids with anything as realistic as you picture below.
Nov. 30th, 2012 12:26 am (UTC)
It's some kind of Power Rangers Samurai sword or something... I just wasn't happy having him walk up to me holding that thing when I picked him up after work. It would have be fine if it was foam / less realistic and he wasn't playing with older kids that I know are pretty rough.

She then mentioned buying him a sword for Christmas.... which I definitely do not want, and told her.

Edited at 2012-11-30 12:26 am (UTC)
Nov. 29th, 2012 11:39 pm (UTC)
We have a pair of nerf guns for our daughters (5 and 8), but they really were unwanted Christmas gifts that my brother and husband abandoned. I don't mind if they play with them, as long as they're shooting the windows (they have suction cups on them) and not each other. Swords, I don't mind really, again, as long as no one is going to lose an eye or hurt the other person. I prefer foam swords but I did buy the girls plastic pirate swords once. My husband made me hide them after a few days because he was sure they were going to get hurt, but I liked seeing them practice fencing.

We have taken our girls to the shooting range and each of them have shot a rifle before, though, too, so I don't know if that means my views differ radically from yours. I would NOT like it if my daughters (or sons, if I had them) were playing with realistic looking guns, especially hand guns. And it depends on the game. I don't like war games, but target practice is fun and I think it's good for motor development (aim, etc, though there are lots of other ways to practice aim so I'm not saying it's the only way!).
Nov. 29th, 2012 11:47 pm (UTC)

Pirates and their swords

My younger daughter learning to shoot with my husband at age 3.5. I don't want my kids to play with realistic looking toy guns because we are teaching them real gun safety and we do not PLAY with real guns either.
Nov. 29th, 2012 11:40 pm (UTC)
We participate in the SCA (sca.org), and as part of the SCA my husband does medieval style sword and shield fighting with rattan swords wearing armor... so my son has grown up around sword fighting. I have two choices, give him nerf/foam swords that are age appropriate, or have him try to steal Daddy's rattan swords every 2 seconds because he wants to fight like Daddy does. I choose to give him age appropriate nerf swords.

He doesn't have any toy guys, I"m sure it will happen eventually but as of now he has no interest and really no exposure so wouldn't know what to do with one anyways.

For the record, he's 2, nearly 2 1/2. For reference I added a picture of the 2 year old with his sword, and the Daddy with his armor/sword. :)

Nov. 29th, 2012 11:47 pm (UTC)
Cute kiddo! He looks quite proud of himself.
Nov. 29th, 2012 11:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks, yeah he's a big fan of fighting like dada. And we have begun teaching him the rules of engagement from a very young age. He can't do actual youth fighting until 6 years old, but he already knows that you don't hit anybody with a sword that isn't also armed, and as he gets older that rule will evolve to not hitting anybody who isn't wearing armor
Nov. 29th, 2012 11:50 pm (UTC)
I'd be ok with a foam sword, but its more the hard plastic pointy type I have a problem with.

They were playing with something similar to this

And she said my son "got" hers with it a few times which I'm assuming means hurt him.

Nov. 29th, 2012 11:51 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm not a fan of those, kids are going to fight with toy weapons, it's just the reality of life, so it's our job as parents to give them relatively safe age appropriate toys to play with. I wouldn't give my son one of those plastic swords, foam I'm fine with though :)
Nov. 29th, 2012 11:46 pm (UTC)
Why are you asking? Just curious what people think in general?

I don't care if my children want to pretend fight. It's the real fighting I'm more concerned about.
Nov. 29th, 2012 11:52 pm (UTC)
I'm curious as to others opinions and if I'm being unreasonable.

Foam swords are ok but the pointy stabby realistic fighting swords sorta irk me. My 2 yr old was playing with this one or something similar today -

Nov. 29th, 2012 11:55 pm (UTC)
If it's a safety issue, than to me it isn't really about play fighting but whether or not a toy is safe, right. I don't like my children to take risks, such as climbing on furniture or playing with hard, pointy stick-type things.
Nov. 30th, 2012 12:06 am (UTC)
Ok, thanks for clarifying. I was going to answer that I personally don't have a problem with them, but that my opinion doesn't really matter and that if you're not ok with them then it's not ok.

If they're going to play with those pointy swords then a 2 year old shouldn't be swinging them around. That's not safe. I'm also a little concerned about older kids playing a hands-on game like that with such a tiny playmate. I have a 4 year old and a 2 year old and the difference between them is absolutely massive; I wouldn't let them play something competitive unless I'm supervising them closely to make sure it's "fair" and nobody gets frustrated or clobbered.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 30th, 2012 12:25 am (UTC)
I see no reason to not let kids play with toy guns/swords. My 4.5 yr old has been playing with them for 1.5 yrs and my almost 2 yr old is sort of playing with them b/c he sees his brother play. The most the baby does is hold up the toy sword and try to say "By the Power of Grayskull, I am He-Man". I do try and keep them away from the baby because he still learning how to not play too rough. As long as they are not hurting anyone, I am fine with it. That being said, when the cousins come over, I hide the squirt guns and sword b/c the two boy cousins get a little over zealous with toy weapons. Both boys have a hard time judging when enough is enough due to their being on the ASD spectrum, and I choose to just remove the temptation when they are over.

Kids are going to pretend they have guns and swords anyways b/c kids have fingers they can use and access to sticks when they go outside. It's inevitable once they hit school age, but it's the job of the adults to help the child to understand when play gets too rough.

If you have an issue with it, then the daycare provider needs to know that it's not okay. Is there a polite way you can let your SIL know that you would rather not have the swords around when your son is over?
Nov. 30th, 2012 12:37 am (UTC)
My daughter is six and I still don't think they are appropriate. I would probably be more lenient if her friend (five years old) weren't as engrossed in these things as he is -- gore in every sentence, cannot play a game that doesn't involve stabbing/shooting/severing/etc. But, I'm not! :)

That last sentence you wrote, that's the one I would use to your sitter. I wouldn't press it, but certainly bring it up. How can it hurt?
Nov. 30th, 2012 12:45 am (UTC)
I've kept them away from my son as much as humanly possible because my mom and dad gave them to my brother, who was 9 years younger. And he beat the hell outta me with them when he was 2-4 years old because I wasn't allowed to take his toys, lock him out of my room, or retaliate. So when I had my own son, I was like HELL NO. I don't care if my son plays with other kids' toys at their houses because, lets face it, you can't drop your kid off with someone else and tell them they can't play with their kids' toys. Its not gonna happen. Now, at 2, I'd have a problem with it (especially if the other kids were older...I mean, what other things are they playing with that aren't appropriate for a two year old?). I would perhaps ask that if your son was going to be included in that type of play regularly that a soft sword be used, something that compromises like that. But regardless of how non-violent my son was raised, other boys tackle him, wrestle, play kick and punch, have swords, etc. and I can't lock him in a bubble. So while they're not toys for at home, they are okay when the toys will disappear after a short time.

Nov. 30th, 2012 01:13 am (UTC)
I wouldn't buy them for my kid (Except maybe a water gun or something like that when he's older).
I wouldn't want the babysitter--somewhere he was every day-- to have them either.
If he was somewhere he only goes rarely and they had them and played with them, I'd be annoyed but probably not say anything.

Though, swords seem a little less violent than guns to me.
Nov. 30th, 2012 01:21 am (UTC)
I dunno, it is your first/only kid? Someone made an excellent point to me when my son was younger that I should think about whether I would have a problem with xy or z if he were my third kid. Not that it excuses everything, just one lens to look at it through. If your son were the same age and those were his older brother at 4 and 6 would you have a problem with it? If you never want guns/swords around your kid that is cool, my MIL didn't allow toy guns with her kids or the daycare she ran, even though she pointed out that it kind of failed because literally anything could be turned into a gun or sword.
Nov. 30th, 2012 01:25 am (UTC)
I don't mind pretend swords or guns. I don't like look-alike guns for gun safety reasons. Lots of kids will just make a gun or sword out of whatever they have -- sticks, paper, other toys.

My brother and I had homemade wooden swords when we were kids. Kind of mind-blowing, but I can't remember ever being bashed over the head with one.
Nov. 30th, 2012 01:56 am (UTC)
My son love guns and swords and anything like that. I am so tired of fighting it. I am convinced it is nature not nurture, because we have no guns or swords, are not involved with anything like that, and do not speak of them. For a long time I referred to things as "launchers" - as in a water launcher, a foam launcher, a nerf launcher, instead of a gun. That got us until about 4 years old and then playing with other kids ruined it. Now he is into guns, swords, bombs, explosions, attacks, good guys and bad guys, the whole nine yards. I don't know what to do about it anymore other than reinforce safety - sure, you can make a pretend gun out of that stick outside, but you can't point it at people. At this point I really think it's nature.

At 2 I would have been more worried about my kid getting hurt playing fight with older kids. YMMV.
Nov. 30th, 2012 01:57 am (UTC)
I don't inherently have a problem with toy swords or guns, but I think they need to come with talks about the difference between pretend violent play and real violence. And no matter what, a toy gun (minus a watergun) is not for aiming at other people or pretending to shoot them. Use a nerf gun to 'shoot' at a target or a tin can? Fine with me. In my family, we do NOT point guns at people, even pretend guns. When my children are old enough to understand responsible gun/sword play, I don't mind it.

Water guns are different to me, because the intent is clearly just to get the other person wet, not to injure (or even pretend to injure) anyone. If my kid ever shot a water gun and proclaimed 'you're dead!' Or anything like that, thy would be in trouble. I don't agree with that type of violent language/play. The same language goes for sword play, too. 'I got you' or 'I won' is fine, but we don't pretend to hurt/kill others.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 30th, 2012 02:06 am (UTC)
My husband and I are both competitive fencers, so yes, by all means we will let our kids play with swords - mama and daddy do, after all!
Nov. 30th, 2012 03:59 am (UTC)
Yeah, I would be pretty pissed off if I went to pick my daughter up if that was happening. More so if it was a gun, I don't know why...
Nov. 30th, 2012 05:00 am (UTC)
My daughters both have toy swords and shields, they're 5 and 21months. As for nerf guns never had them probably never will. DH is already talking to 5 yo DD about gun safety (grandpa has an extensive collection) Grandma gave all the Grandkids water guns when DD1 was 3. I've told hubby he has to wait until DDs are 8 before he can teach them to shoot.
Nov. 30th, 2012 10:40 am (UTC)
I hate them, but we have them, because my husband and just about everyone else we know feels differently to me.
Nov. 30th, 2012 06:06 pm (UTC)
My kids (5, 5, and 4) have had toy swords (foam, hard plastic, and wood) and guns (nerf and non-functioning, but none that look like real guns) for a couple of years now.

The rules are: if a sword touches anyone or anything (furniture, etc.) while they're swinging it around, it goes on top of the fridge for a while. Nerf guns only get fired at targets, never at people.

Other toy guns... well, at home I tell them guns aren't to be pointed at other people. In my experience it's tough to keep young boys from making anything into a toy gun and "shooting" each other, so playground time or playing with friends is quite a bit tougher to police.
Dec. 1st, 2012 03:36 pm (UTC)
I have a thing with that, I would never let my girls play with gun toys. They have two brightly colored water guns they play with in the bath, but we don't even call them guns, we call them squirters. We are teaching our children that guns are def NOT toys, you should never touch one if you see it hanging around, should always tell mommy or daddy (I can't see a situation where they would be around guns just laying around, but you never know!) We are teaching them that guns are dangerous and are used for protection only... so why would we allow them to play with something that we have explained already are not playthings? Maybe I'm a lame mom but it irritates me when I see the little kids on the playground or wherever playing like that, trying to 'shoot' and 'kill' each other! They are kids. They have enough time for death and shootings when they are older, with news and wars etc.

Swords I'm a bit more lenient on, as long as they are not hard or pointy. Really, it's up to you and your personal feelings on it.
If you're uncomfortable with your kid having that sort of playtime around your babysitter, I'd make sure you are very clear that you'd like those toys put up during his visits, and maybe bring some other toys that all the children may like to play with together and that you are more comfortable with. If you are paying her to watch your kid, she should try to abide by your wishes. for an hour or two or however long, I'm sure her kids would be ok not playing swords and guns.
Dec. 1st, 2012 03:38 pm (UTC)
oh and I would make sure I worded my request carefully so she doesn't feel like you are accusing her of being a 'bad mom' by letting her kids play that way. Just tell you are a bit silly but feel uncomfortable with it and you know she will totally understand!
( 33 comments — Leave a comment )


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