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12 days of Xmas - Sword & Shield Set

On the SECOND day of Christmas Goldfish Toy Shop reviewed some gifts – The Sword and Shield Set by Karen Swan.

Something has happened to my four year old son. One night, he went to bed a block building toddler, only to wake the next morning as a dragon slaying, running around the house in imaginary battle fighting, absolutely absorbed in role playing, pre-schooler!

It’s quite an astounding shift in play! Little people have such an ability to suspend reality and absolutely inhabit the character they’re pretending to be; sometimes for days at a time! Even though exposed to minimal commercial influence, he has become obsessed with ‘goodies’ and ‘baddies’ and hero play. The pacifist in me has a very hard time with this kind of play; after all, can’t we all just get along?

After much hand wringing and thought, I realised that I have to allow him to explore the themes he is attracted to, though I can ensure that the toys he has to express this kind of imaginative play are age appropriate and not too violent. Any mother of sons who has walked into a department store will no doubt feel the same frustrations I do at the gender biased, violent toys on offer for our boys. I may not be able to keep those toys out of our lives for good, but I am determined that in these first and very important 7 years of his development, that he is surrounded by toys that provide open ended, imaginative play, and that don’t come with a pre-determined story from licensed characters (nor the plastic and acrylic toys that go with it!)

A great way to support this phase, particularly with little boys, is with Knights & Dragon imaginative play. Brave and noble Knights fighting to save the Kingdom and slay the scary Dragon have all the adventure and bravery of the commercial Super Hero but with much better scope for the child’s imagination to create the story. It also extends the play to include life in an imaginary castle, perhaps a little farming, and overall, a visual and rich play landscape.

The Wooden Sword and Shield set is just perfect for little people wanting to play big and brave games! My visions of getting smacked around the legs, or losing all my glassware as collateral damage have been, thankfully, unrealised! With his shield to protect him, the actual sword play has been surprisingly gentle and rhythmic!

My couches have never been jumped on so much as he thrusts and parries his way through his imaginary dragon battles!

I can see that when Alex goes into hero mode, he visibly stands taller. He puffs his chest, looks to the sky and I can almost see how ‘big’ he feels. Normally a very sensitive, quiet and somewhat shy child, when he’s holding his wooden sword and shield, I can see that he is gaining a strength from the play. I asked him what he felt when he is pretending to be a Knight and he said “I feel brave and big and strong!”

That’s a pretty great way to feel after a day of play isn’t it?

The wooden sword and shield invite ‘big’ play that is free from imaginary guns or other monstrous weapons, while allowing the child to express the equally ‘big’ feelings and actions they are discovering in themselves.

My saucepan lids and rolling pins (his pre-sword & shield set weapons of choice) have now been returned to the kitchen cupboard and the “Kingdom of our House” is now firmly under the protection of our brave resident knight, Sir Alex.

On a final note, I strongly suggest you buy 2 sets, so any little visitors can join in the Knightly Battle without arguments!

HO HO HO – Heaps of Fun for Xmas Day!

The Wooden Sword and Shield set is $29.00 – You can Buy it now here!

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