All she wants for Christmas is to crush her enemies, see them driven before her, and to hear the lamentation of their women.
December 6, 2011 4:51 PM   Subscribe

My eight-year-old daughter has asked Santa for a sword for Christmas. Please help me find the right one.

The ideal sword would be sturdy, but not too sturdy; my daughter is a whirlwind of destruction, and I'd like to survive to see the new year, but I also don't want to get her something that will fall apart after a day or two of play.

An additional wrinkle to the request is that any sword I would preferably not be made of foam. She's a compulsive picker and will whittle any foam-based object down to a nub faster than you can say, "pile of foam all over the carpet."

Super-extra-bonus: A sword-and-shield combo.
posted by lekvar to Shopping (16 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Apoch at 4:56 PM on December 6, 2011

It would be helpful to know where you are based. I deduce it is somewhere in California.

There are plenty of places that do wooden swords, and will ship to you.

How about this?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:56 PM on December 6, 2011

This place also looks pretty good, and can post by Christmas if you order by 12 December.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:00 PM on December 6, 2011

The Zelda sword above is a steel sword. Just because it's from a video game doesn't mean it's intended for a kid.

Nerf makes a couple that I totally covet - they're foam, but not the real fuzzy open cell foam that you think of when you think "Nerf." They're nice and dense and heavy enough to feel substantial. I see them at Target all the time - worth taking a look at. I'm not sure how pickable they are but I'd guess they're on the low side.

The other option is a bamboo/rattan kendo practice sword, but those have a much, much higher potential for wanton destruction. I could break someone's arm with one, if I got (un)lucky. A better plan if she's really into that sort of thing is to give her kendo classes for Christmas (or another martial art - she sounds like a kid after my own heart and oh God I would have loved karate classes at eight years old.)
posted by restless_nomad at 5:00 PM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Major screw up on my part, sorry about that. This is soft plastic.
posted by Apoch at 5:07 PM on December 6, 2011

His thoughts were red thoughts, I'm in the hinterlands of the CA Bay Area, and the kits in those link are exactly what I'm looking for.

restless_nomad, she wants to take kendo classes, I want her to take kendo classes. It will happen. For now, though, it's going to have to be toys. I've been hit with those practice swords before, and I'm not going to get my daughter one until I can get one for myself, for defensive purposes.
posted by lekvar at 5:12 PM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

Glad to help.

One last one - these ones appear to be US made, unlike the other links I provided.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:31 PM on December 6, 2011

My six year old daughter has both a wooden sword and a nerf sword. The wooden one was bought at a Renn Faire more than thirty years ago and has held up to decades of whacking. It's a little too hard core for a six year old. The nerf sword has held up to two solid years of whacking between siblings and friends. It's so beloved that Santa will be bringing new ones this year to replace the banged up ones.

We are crossing our fingers that she will be able to go to fencing class next spring. Nothing like crushing your enemies to improve the 6yo mindset.
posted by instamatic at 5:43 PM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

The website isn't great here, but the swords are -
These are meant to be used, are guaranteed and are impressively made. Had to buy one for myself when I saw them and would buy more if I had a place to put it!
posted by blaneyphoto at 5:49 PM on December 6, 2011

When I was roughly that age my dad made me a sword out of wood. He barely had any woodworking skills at all, and looking back, it really wasn't a thing of beauty but did I love the thing. I watched him make it and "helped" to sand down the edges. I was also the envy of all my friends who had breakable foam or plastic ones. Then we made a shield out of plywood and a kitchen cabinet handle and drilled two eyeholes for peeking behind it. He's gone on to develop much better woodworking skills but its still the thing he's most proud of.

It didn't occur to me to wack hard enough to break it b/c i knew how much effort he and I put into making it. (also it was pretty sturdy)
posted by captaincrouton at 8:32 PM on December 6, 2011

How about a kendo shinai? It's a sort of quasi-sword made of split bamboo that makes a great big "CRACK" noise when you hit something with it, but the design reduces the amount of actual momentum hitting the target. Granted, they do require some maintenance to keep in working condition, and I'm pretty sure you could still get hurt pretty badly by one (there's a reason people literally wear armor for kendo sparring)…
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:09 PM on December 6, 2011

My 11 yo daughter has a wooden sword/shield set that I bought for her at the ren faire when she was three. Obviously depends on the kid, but she has never hurt anyone with it. There was one year, when she was maybe 6 or 7, she took them *everywhere* dragging the sword on the ground behind her, so it's a little filed down on the end. It still sees regular use, eight years later. It's a little banged up and dirty, but I fully expect it will get passed on to more kids when she's finally done with it. She's had a few plastic swords that other people gave her, they never last and one produced our only sword injury, where a bit of rough plastic actually cut her on the leg.
posted by upatree at 10:48 PM on December 6, 2011

I'll also support a wooden sword.

A word of warning, be sure ALL surfaces are nicely sanded and/or sealed with wax or varnish. I had a wooden sword as a kid the only two negatives were:

1) Before I used it so much as to wear it down, some of the corners and edges were ever so slightly rough, and why my older brother chose to "slit my throat" with it, we were both surprised when it actually drew a small amount of blood

2) It cracked due to playing in puddles with it, then drying it out too quickly.

Now I may be over thinking this, but the type of wood may also be important for younger swordswomen. I imagine hardwoods would not be as kind to the enemy as softer, more supple woods may be. I know nothing of wood, but it's a thought.
posted by cmchap at 8:27 AM on December 7, 2011

Here's what a grade-school friend of mine made for us: get a pine stake, the kind you'd use to stick a campaign sign in the ground. Spray paint it silver. Attach a grip at the non-pointy end with some foam rubber and wire. Make a handguard out of cardboard and decorate it with crayons.
posted by Guy Smiley at 8:34 AM on December 7, 2011

I hadn't looked at their site in awhile, but it looks like has added latex swords to their collection. I don't know how durable they are, but it would beat getting whacked by a wooden sword! Cheers!
posted by davismbagpiper at 1:12 PM on December 7, 2011

I ended p ordering the Robert Bruce set from Tyme Again. So Double-Best Answer for His Thoughts and thanks to everybody!
posted by lekvar at 3:20 PM on December 13, 2011

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