Toy Gun Alternatives That Parents Can Feel Good About

A lot of parents are OK with having their kids play with toy guns, just as long as they don’t look like the real thing. You can find evidence that doing so makes them more likely to show aggression later on, and you can find evidence that it doesn’t. Personally, I would just rather not have a bunch of objects in my house that look like semi-automatic weapons. Something about encouraging kids to shoot each other in the age of mass shootings just isn’t in line with the way I’d like to raise my son. At the same time, I recognize that taking aim at targets — living or otherwise — is really fun.

I must not be the only parent out there who is ambivalent about this — as there are actually quite a lot of toy-gun alternatives available for our children. These aren’t just toy guns that are florescent yellow and orange. These are toys that have all the competitive aiming of those Nerf arsenals without reminding you in the least of modern violence.

Now, old-fashioned violence, on the other hand, might be a reference for some of these. Because, yes, once upon a time, trebuchets, bows and arrows, and axes were weapons of war. They’re just far enough removed from our current state of affairs that they don’t inspire the same kind of ick factor. But if they do, you’ll even find a couple of toys in this list that don’t even look like the weapons of olden times. Unless I missed the unicorn popper/marshmallow shooter chapter of history somehow?

Ready? Aim! … Pop!

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