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Adventure Games instead of Gun Play

There are so many childhood games that offer adventure and intrigue without guns.

Help him find play alternatives that meet his need for adventure, risk, and excitement!

Sharifa Oppenheimer, mother of 3 sons, and seasoned early childhood teacher, in her book Heaven on Earth: A Handbook for Parents of Young Children, offers these ideas for war-free adventure games:

Make bows and arrows: Put time into finding just the right sticks and feathers. “Sharpen” the arrows by rubbing tips on a stone or cement. Create a quiver out of a cardboard tube, painting it and decorating it.

Hunting games: Capture wild ponies or hunt for buffalo, accompanied by the bow and arrows.

Fire: Child-made, parent-supervised campfires are magical. Teach the essentials and finish off the adventure with skewered apples, marshmallows, or toasted bananas. Of course, proper roasting sticks must be found and carefully prepared.

Magic potions: berries, clover, mud, baking soda and vinegar. Often games of mystery and intrigue result.

Scrap lumber, hammers, nails (roofing nails with big heads). Use two low, wide stumps as a work bench. Stack a few pieces and hammer together (don’t make them “perfect”) — call this a boat. See what your child creates! (I still have a hill and house scene that my daughter made at age 7). Get the paint out, too.

Small, dull pocket knives for sixes and up: Cut bush branches, peel bark. Decide the rules together. Are they always supervised? Always on the porch? Only when no other children are playing?

Sleepovers: in tents in the back yard. Lots of chores beforehand: clear rocks, haul leaves for padding, make a rock fire-ring, gather sticks for fire, fill water bottles, fix food, etc.

Fort building: Use branches, scrap lumber. Child may need help tying basic stick structure together.

Water play: Shallow creeks, boats to sail, puddles, hoses, all offer opportunities to discover the qualities of water.

Be open to your child’s creativity.

Let them take the lead. You will be amazed at the adventures they will create.

Enjoy the adventure play (without the guns)!


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