Two summers ago, we got some PVC pipe and various connectors and let the boys build their own PVC sprinklers in the back yard. Gresham (age 4 at the time) turned some of the pieces into this sword design which he loved and carried around all the time! Most of the PVC pieces were lost in our move, and so this past weekend we made some new swords.
To make one, you will need at least 32 inches of 3/4″ PVC pipe, one cross piece, and four caps (non-threaded). Our swords are staying together pretty well, but if the sword is going to be used heavily for dueling, you’ll need to glue the pieces together.
I cut a 21″ piece for the sword, a 4″ piece for the handle, and two 3″ pieces for the guard (that’s probably not the technical name, but I don’t have a lot of sword knowledge). For a smaller child, I would leave the handle the same, but make the sword part shorter – maybe 14″.
Obviously, these swords can hurt. They are not particularly safe toys, but while my husband and I do not believe in being foolish or taking unnecessary risks, we also don’t believe in banning every item that could possibly injure them. Our rules for the boys are that these are outside toys only. They are allowed to play sword fights with them, but only if the other person has agreed to play. They cannot just walk up to someone who is not playing and hit them. They can use the swords to whack down weeds in the yard or hit the swing set posts, but they may not hit the van, the house, or anything else!
Options for covering with foam:
Another option that I saw on Pinterest is to cover the swords with foam insulation or a pool noodle. We thought about that, but I felt like our boys would be less cautious with the padding on the sword, and with a PVC core, that sword could still really sting! We still have our pool noodle lightsabers, so they can smack each other indoors with those. (If your preschooler wants a sword, those lightsabers are the way to go!)
If you’re interested in why we think it’s okay for our boys to play with weapons, you might want to read this post.
Aidan and a friend were playing in the backyard last week being “weed ninjas!” They whacked down many of the embarrassingly big weeds in our yard. Aidan wanted me to add that he has a piece of 1/2″ PVC pipe (32 inches long) that is his “ninja pole.” He can do all kinds of awesome tricks with it – like twirling it and spinning it behind his back.