Gun and Superhero Play?!

Super Hero and Gun Play?! You don’t allow that at Panda, do you?

This has opened many debate at nursery and as a team we have researched the topic, debated it and attended training seminars to come up with the opinion that “Yes we do”, because at Panda we are focused on the process of learning, supporting our children to learn through things they are interested in and recognising the learning we can scaffold on to this type of play.

After all, if you say ‘No Guns’ – the children are very good at playing guns but pretending not to. So why not embrace their thoughts and interests and jump on the opportunity to support their learning. We understand this type of play can get out of hand and are always on hand to direct it, rather than ban it.

Kate Nutbourne on the Keeping Early Years Unique blog ( outlines a few facts about the positives of weapon / superhero play and how to manage it:

  • Children use this type of play to explore right from wrong
  • It’s physically exerting- children need to move
  • They are not learning to ‘kill’ or harm but playing together
  • It does not lead to a violent child or adult as they grow up
  • It is an amazing imaginative play experience- by developing play acting skills
  • Children know what is real and what is pretend
  • It is confidence boosting- by perhaps taking on a different persona
  • It builds a sense of belonging- by being a part of a group
  • It develops negotiation and cooperation skills

How we manage gun /superhero play:

  • We do not use replica toy guns- these often look very similar to the real thing, and instead we develop cognitive skills by making guns or props with recycling/resources
  • A consent rule- only play with those wanting to take part
  • No shooting at faces or people (if this upsets them)
  • No hurting people or living creature or causing any damage

As outlined above, we are happy to support children to build superhero instruments from our recycling and resources but we do not allow plastic toy guns to be brought into nursery.

Reference: Keeping Early Years Unique blog:

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