A block, a stick, a paintbrush…preschoolers are an inventive bunch and can turn almost anything into a weapon.
“Look! Our firetruck has plenty of bombs on it!”
“Bang! I shoot-ed you!”
“Let’s get those bad guys!”
I am a complete loss for how to redirect this kind of play in the classroom. Superheroes, that I feel comfortable with, since there is a narrative that you can tease out of helping others and working together. It is when it is straight up “I’ve got a gun” type play that I’m caught off guard.
I know it is useless to “ban” this type of play. So far I’ve talked about how we don’t use weapons at school, asked them what they are building with the blocks (knowing full well they are using them as guns but trying to spark conversation) and also answered their questions about WHY no guns at school honestly by saying that it scares some of the other kids when they play that way.
Usually I try to make these posts somehow helpful to other people, but I can’t even pretend to have an answer…so I am looking for yours!
Such a struggle at our preschool!
We do ban it (as well as superhero play), telling students that it is flatly against the rules of our school. We had a student in the past that always ended up the “bad guy.” Eventually, he was victimized so badly by other students that he had to move to a different preschool.
I talk with my students sometimes about the importance of CONstructing as opposed to DEstructing, and address weapons as one of many tools. “Weapons are for destroying. Let’s see if we can find a tool that will help us construct instead.” Often, within moments, their sword turns into a magic wand and their gun turns into a camera.
I love that idea of tools of construction! With superhero play we focus on the helping and only allow bad guys if they volunteer!