Toy Soldiers

What's your take on letting kids play with pretend weapons?

As I sit down to write this, my 2-year-old Nate runs into the room with an orange Nerf gun pointed at me, a first. “Bang, bang,” he shouts. Oh great, I think. Well, there’s my opener. 

While it can be reasoned that little Nate learned about the glories of gun play from his older brother Keith, now 5, it remains unclear to me how  Keith knew, by Nate’s age, to fashion household items into guns and make those classic “Rat, tat, tat” sounds so very familiar to me—and to many of you as well, I’d wager. (I’d also bet I’m not the only one to writhe in pain when my bare foot inadvertently finds one of those tiny toy soldiers. Am I right?) 

When Keith’s “gun obsession” began (yes, that’s what I called it), it came out of nowhere to us, and I, as moms do, had a bit of a freakout. I fervently asked around, “Why does he do this? Why does he want to do this?” And I recall the feeling of relief when the most unexpected of sources, our new 21-year-old babysitter, told me, “Don’t worry! They all do that! At the daycare I worked at, we’d find everything from Jumbo Legos to sandwiches fashioned into guns.” Oh really now? So my boy’s not a weirdo? 

What was my fear based on? That by allowing pretend gun play, I’d turn my innocent child into a violent adult. Writer Malia Jacobson explores such parental fears in this month’s article, “Weapons Ban.” According to childhood experts, gun play is a natural tendency for boys, and I was intrigued by research that suggests toy weapons serve as symbols of power, leadership, authority, strength, and control. I found myself relieved yet again when learning that, according to the experts, I was correct in ultimately reasoning that I’d only give pretend guns more power if I’d flat-out banned them. 

For now, I’ll allow the Nerf guns, and I’ll focus on teaching little Nate (with Keith’s assistance) the house rules: Don’t point at people, only targets; no shouting words like “death” and “kill”; and the minute someone gets bonked in the head, the guns go away. Don’t mess with Mommy; she wins this battle.

RELATED: Experts weigh in on the toy guns debate

What's your take on letting kids play with pretend weapons? Tell us below!

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Real Moms of NJ

All the stuff that matters to moms in the Garden State

About This Blog

There's nothing artificial in these blog posts from New Jersey's hardest-working women. Where to go, what to do, and how to do it—with kids—are all part of the mix.

Meet Our Bloggers!

Essex County Real Mom Anna Sandler lives happily ever after with her Jersey-raised husband and three NYC-born children in the land of jug handles and disco fries. She loves baking and crafting with her kids, even if everything they make doesn't turns out Pinterest-perfect. Anna has never met a holiday she doesn't want to celebrate, and enjoys sharing ideas for everyday fun (indoor beach party, anyone?), as well as how to commemorate bigger moments from birthdays to first days of school.

Mercer County Real Mom Lauren Kim is a writer and the editor of mom blog and home décor website, When she is not spending time with her children and spouse, she loves crafting and tackling various DIY projects around the house. To see more of Lauren Kim’s favorite pins, visit her Mom Home Guide Pinterest Board. Follow her on Facebook for more on her favorite craft and home décor finds.



Recent Posts


Atom Feed Subscribe to the Real Moms of NJ Feed »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags