I’ve been a preschool teacher for a long time and as long as I’ve been teaching there has always been the “gun” thing happening in my classroom. Preschool boys, not all, but most, like to build – and create – and pretend to shoot – guns. Often.
Of course I say the mantra “there are no guns at school,” but you know what! that is a ridiculous thing to say, because these kids just built them and are playing with them so – enough already! there are guns at school!
What I have found to be more effective – well, lets say more relative – is to talk with my students about their designs, asking how they work and what they are thinking about when they play out their scenarios. Because, after all, these are toys, folks. Just because a kid creates and plays with guns doesn’t mean he is thinking about shooting people. I’m sorry to say some of my students are allowed to play video games where they shoot at people but most of my students aren’t doing that at home, yet they still like to build guns and pretend to shoot and obliterate an enemy.
My students have created amazing Lego tanks and other types of armored vehicles and yet none of my Legos have any components that are meant to be guns or cannons. They have created block tanks and playdough fire arms. They have found many ways to configure all sorts of things into weapons that look like they would hurl projectiles. So I have to celebrate the visioning, engineering, and resourceful capabilities of these young designers.
My only caveat is that I request more “creation” than “destruction.”