Reflections of Military Life in Children’s Pretend Play

Boy playing with water gun
As Maggie surveys her active 3-year-olds on the playground, she notices one of the boys pointing a toy shovel like a gun out the window of the play structure. “Derrick!” she says as she comes closer, “you know we don’t play with guns at school. Find something else to play.” 

This is a situation that plays itself out over and over in child care programs. Many child care providers are uncomfortable with children pretending to use weapons and want to …