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Dress Up: Knight {Play Sword}

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I have been working on a costume for my son for the local Renaissance Festival. This costume is separated into three blog posts:

  1. Knight’s Tunic
  2. Toy Swords
  3. Pillow Shield


I bought 6 of these foam swords off Amazon because they were cheaper on Amazon than I remembered them being at the store. And hey! Two day shipping free with Amazon Mom.

These actually were a lot shorter than I expected which was
perfect for toddlers! They may not work as well for the sword
fight I was planning with Daddy B, however. Ha. 

I love these. I actually keep two longer ones at work and they’re great for therapy. I usually use them in individual therapy with kids, especially kids with ADHD and/or poor boundaries.

This activity helps to work on listening, obeying rules, and respecting boundaries. For therapy, I leave the swords somewhere in the room and generally the kids will immediately gravitate towards the swords and ask if we can play with them.

I’ll mention they’re special swords and have more rules with them than other toys in the room, then ask what the child thinks the rules might be. I tend to go with their rules and add any on if necessary.

The main rules I focus on is: not hitting aggressively with the swords, not hitting items that could break (emphasizing that if the glass broke, the child could step on it and get hurt), and I usually set it up so that if either player says STOP, everyone has to put their swords down (either pointed down or on the ground- I decide which based on that particular child’s ability to have the sword in their hand and not move it, ha). If the rules are broken, the game stops and the swords get put away.

I do throw out reminders through the game so that things don’t escalate to the point where the child breaks the rules. For example, I’ve found that when kids get playful that they can often unintentionally start to hit more aggressively. As I see a child start to get hyped up and they hit a bit harder, I might remind them, “Make sure we don’t hit too hard.” or “Gentle.” If that doesn’t work, “STOP!” and we all put our swords down.

Then I asked them to tell me the rules again. I might also ask them how well they were following the rules… what rules were you doing a good job following and which do you think you could work on? If you break that rule, how do you think it might make the other person feel?

The big thing is that we DO put the swords away when the child is having trouble learning from the activity. We don’t injure intentionally and I don’t want to setup an environment where the child is aggressively beating up on me. It might be appropriate to have the child take out his/her aggressions on an inanimate object in some therapies, but not on a person. Eventually after I’ve done this activity in individual therapy with the client, I may bring in the parent and have the parent and child play, following the same rules and boundaries. 

I know some parents are anti-weapons for toys, but I’ve found them to be useful in therapy and so I don’t mind having them at home for my son either. I loved playing dress up and play fighting as a kid (and as an adult) and am a pretty passive calm human being so I figure it isn’t the play acting itself that is harmful, but how we teach children to be around those items. I think it’s important to talk about the difference between real and play, just like we teach our children not to eat the play food.

I think it’s safe to say that G approves! 

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