The protagonist of the Nintendo Legend of Zelda games is Link, who's a sword-waving cross between Legolas and Indiana Jones. He runs around in a floppy hat solving puzzles and dispatching bad guys while trying to save the eponymous princess. My sons really enjoyed Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, and were keen to get swords and shields so they could start pretending to hack apart hordes of minions in the back yard. This seemed a reasonable request, but making these safe AND strong enough to endure the depredations of two enthusiastic and energetic youngsters is not entirely trivial.
This instructable will show you how to make robust versions of Link's sword, a scabbard, replicas of his wooden shields, and fully functional slingshots. While this stuff is all part of a costume, it's also all quite tough enough to handle being bashed, scraped and abused in the course of a usual day's play.
Note: this instructable is four projects in one, so if I've blasted past something too quickly, post a question in the comments.
Step 1: Design
Link's most well-known weapon is the Master Sword. However, it's a big fancy bejeweled and bewinged purple & green monster,* and the boys wanted swords that looked a bit more "real". They liked the look of the one that Link wears at the start of Twilight Princess - the "Ordon Sword" - so that's what I modelled these swords on (see screenshot above from IrateGamer's WiiU tech demo video). The shields I made are upgraded wooden shields from Skyward Sword, the banded shield and the braced shield (screenshots taken from zeldadungeon.net). The slingshot is the basic one from Skyward Sword.
* if you want to know how to make an awesome replica, see Jonny1983's beautiful hand-tooled wooden version.