Why buy your kids a cheap, soon to break toy when you can make them a great hardwood sword that will be durable, fun to play with, and even look good?
This should not be considered the only way to make a nice wooden sword, but it definitely makes a nicer one than you can usually find. Most of the work can be done with hand or power tools. The blade itself requires the use of a tablesaw.
As such the usual disclaimers are invoked. The use of tablesaws and other power tools can be dangerous. Take appropriate safety precautions and if something seems unsafe to you, stop.
Step 1: Step 1: How to Make the Blade
The blades are best made from a hardwood. I used white oak, but you could use maple, ash, cherry, red oak, etc.
Rip a piece 1 3/4" x 1" x whatever length you desire (I ripped 48" pieces and later cut them down to 24").
When you've cut all your pieces (if you're making more than one sword) change the angle on the tablesaw to approximately 15 degrees.
You will be making four (4) rips.
Follow along with the picture (crude, I know).
1st cut will give you your first bevel. It should be exactly in the middle for the part of the sword blade in the air, and slightly past the middle for the part of the sword blade resting on the table.
The idea is to get a crisp bevel on what will be the side of the blade and a small (1/8") flat spot on the "edge" of the blade. Less chance of a horrific injury when the kids are playing with the swords later. For the purpose of clarity we'll call the end now towards you "A" and the end that will be cut first "B".
For the 2nd cut, flip the piece so that the 1st cut is up and towards the fence. "A" is towards you.
For the 3rd cut you will flip the piece end-to-end so that "A" will now be cut first and "B" is towards you. 1st cut is still up, but away from the fence.
For the 4th (and last) cut, flip the piece so that the 1st cut is down towards the table and against the fence. You may have to adjust the fence a small amount so that the cut matches the other side.
You now have a sword blank. Cut it to the desired size.