Introduction: Easy Shields for Kids
Play swords are pretty awesome but inevitably someone gets their hand whacked or their elbow thumped and, especially for little kids, this can be a deal breaker. My kids and I made these awesome foam swords (which you can get instructions to build here) and pretty quickly recognized the need for shields. Necessity is the mother of invention and I was surprised at how effective and easily-built these shields turned out to be! If you are a more visual learner (or just prefer learning from videos) take a look at the build video above. Wave good-bye to bruised wrists, grab your forging hammer... er.. hot-glue gun and let's get started.
Step 1: Check Your Inventory
There are only a few supplies needed for this project which makes it delightfully cheap. I actually had foam board leftover from our sword project which makes things even easier. I have listed the supplies needed below. An * by an item means it is enough for one shield and you should get more as needed for additional shields.
- * Foam board sheet
- * 3 or 4 hot-glue sticks
- Paints to customize the color
- Glitter to add shine
- Clear, generic school glue
- Duct tape
- Hot-glue gun
- Hobby knife
- Paint brushes
That's it! If you want to know what specific supplies and tools worked well for me I have listed them on my blog here.
Step 2: Forge Your Foam Board
I decided to free-hand design the outline of the shields we made which worked out pretty well. Cut out two identical sheets in the shape of the shield you want and glue them together.
My son wanted something dragon-themed and my daughter wanted a fairy shield so I cut out a shape that felt like it fit and then made decorations that fit the theme. For my son's I cut out shapes that looked like dragon scales when layered and for my daughter I made a 3D diamond shape. It is easiest if you take a look at my build video to get a feel of how I crafted the decorations together.
Once the parts are cut out, you can head to the decorating party!
Step 3: Throw a Decorating Party
Get out those paints and be sure to put the kids in something you won't mind getting a stain or two on. Let them get creative with the colors and even paint an insignia if they want. Alternatively you could just spring for a can of metallic spray paint and blast through this step to the next.
Either way it can be a nice touch to add glitter which is what we did. Simply paint on a thin layer of clear glue and add glitter as desired. Again, you can see this in action here.
Step 4: Get a Grip
To finish things off we need to put straps on your shield. We cut a strip of duct tape about two-feet long and folded it in half causing the sticky side to adhere to itself so that only the non sticky side is left exposed. (The length needed may vary depending on the size of your arm, but this worked well for our 4 and 6-year old.) This forms the material for one strap. I then hot-glued about two inches of the end of one strap to the middle-left of the back of the shield. I then looped that strap around and glued another two inches of the other end to the shield just below the previously glued end. Repeat this process on the middle right of the shield and then you are all done! If this is a bit confusing just take a look at the video to get a better idea of what I am talking about. It really isn't super complicated.
Step 5: Slay a Dragon
Finish strong by drawing inspiration from our Dad Venture video before you strap on your armor and go forth with courage! In the video you will see how we play a game called "Dragon Fire" with our shields which I totally recommend. It was a blast! ;-)
I have also posted simple rules for the game on my blog. Enjoy!
Thanks for joining us in this adventure! If you enjoy spending time with your kids and would appreciate fresh ideas and inspiration weekly, consider subscribing to my youtube channel where I do a weekly project with my own kids. I would love to have you join our family!