Thursday, May 7, 2009

weapons will be checked at the gate


Since Abbott was a toddler, I've seen an increasing fascination with simulating the use of weapons, making weapons, repurposing everyday items into weapons, despite being a TV free, no-weapon-toys family. Undoubtedly there are theorists out there who've written about this; I know my boys aren't the only ones who play in this way. Recently Abbott and Cal found their (ahem) dusty Family Story Bible. I overheard Cal say to Abbott, "Will you read this to me? It's a fighting book!" And since that find, Abbott has read it cover to cover several times, as much for the 'fantasy' aspect as the fighting stories, I think. I was inspired to get the boys a beautifully illustrated book of Norse Myths, and I've put in an order for D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths. Perhaps Medieval history should be next on our reading agenda - any recommendations?

15 comments:

trinsch said...

it seems like instinct, doesn't it? my boys will pick up sticks and two seconds later they'll have a stick fight - and i'm not even sure they know about swords or knights yet, as we haven done any reading or talking about that. or seen any movies or have any toys either.

Kim said...

interesting....is there a boy under that cape?!

Debra said...

A perfectly natural stage for little boys. They spend a good amount of time in the kitchen and being so sweetly creative. I love hearing what they're up to- precious.

Deidra said...

It's funny how the weapons play seems to come so naturally!

When I was a kid, I loved the story of David and Goliath...still do. And then there was Samson knocking down a whole building. I just couldn't get enough of that stuff. Oh...and the Narnia series. Good reads!

Elizabeth said...

I have been following your sweet blog for some time. My 3 children who are now in college loved D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths-also the tape in the car and at night. My 18 year old will still listen to it when she is cleaning her room. In HS they breezed through any mythology related topics & actually went through 2 copies of the book as the hardcover fell apart from being read over and over. Do you have any Jim Weiss tapes? My other daughter would stand on her little table quoting lines from Midsummer's Night Dream that she listened to many times. Jim Weiss is the best-found him on Chinaberry years ago and we cherish those tapes-have the complete collection. No TV ever in my children's rooms!

Sarah Jackson said...

I've been one of the lucky few whose son isn't into weapons play (and it's truly luck - not anything I did). He's 11 now and we let him play Age of Empires and Civilization, because he can experiment with the idea of battle in its historical context, and also explore working cooperatively with the other "civilizations". That's about as violent as video games get around here, and he's happy to leave the weapons in the virtual world. It won't work for everyone, but it has been the right fit for him now that he's older.

I'll have to look into those books. I'd like to use his interest in the game as a jumping off point for exploring history.

Elissa said...

ah yes, leave it to boys. one of the little ones it tate's preschool (also from a tv free, no weapons home) took his foam cross at easter and make it into a sword. yup. gotta love those boys!

nicola said...

ah, something to look forward to with my little one, although my girl has never hit the princess stage (thank goodness), so perhaps not. i took a great medieval history class as a kid. i will try to remember the book series we used. you could certainly read it to him and it had cartoons, too, to keep us interested. hmmm...will think on it!
nicola
http://whichname.blogspot.com

Kwana said...

I agree it is such a natural boy thing. No worries, Look a how creative he is.

Shelley said...

A story book that is beautifully illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman is Saint George and the Dragon (I think retold by Margaret Hodges from Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queen). It might be a little too picture book for your oldest, but it is well told and illustrated gorgeously. St. George, the Red Cross Knight battles the dragon and wins.

Another is Tam Lin by Jane Yolen. A bold female heroine. Have you read any of the Chronicles of Narnia to them? I guess that's an obvious one. I remember having them read to me very young.

As far as actual history, there is a great book about castles that is fact based that might provide interesting details about the medieval period. David Macaulay.

Have fun!

The invention of weapons by instinct has surprised me too. No guns via TV or elsewhere in our house, but a distinct use of sticks as such already at 2 years!? I was so unprepared for this. But also, he seems to have a great mothering instinct with dolls and stuffies. Parenting provides many interesting observations of human nature, doesn't it?

susie said...

D'Aulaire's is an endless source of fascination to both my girl and my boy. Who could resist? It's got all the importance aspects of human nature covered. When some of the stories seem too violent or farfetched (to me...the kids are totally ok with it), I just remember that we live in a Western culture. The more the kids know about these old stories, the further along they will be in their understanding of philosophy, history, and world religion. Plus it's helpoing me fill in the gaps in my own Western Civ. education. What can I say? I went to Evergreen.

Francesca said...

I have a beautifully illustrated King Arthur story, and I'll search to see if it's available in English. We are also a TV free family, and used to be a weapon free family. We now have a whole arsenal, from bow & arrow to cross-bows to the countless swards my boys have made themselves. They never once thought these wooden pretend weapons were nothing but play, and never once mistook real arms for anything but killing.

Thimbleina said...

Yes, I have a little boy just like it and he has been exposed to the same things as his sister and she has no inclination towards fashioning weapons out of anything. So would be interested in what other books you come across that I may be able to use later on as reading material

Lyndsay said...

That first photo is absolutely fantastic! I think Finn wants to come over and play. He carries a foam sword I found at Michael's around with him everywhere. :)

skymring said...

ha, you're probably on the right track with norse mythology if you're looking for fights ;)