Kids On Roof- Uncensored Toys

While falling in love all over again with the Dutch toy maker Kids on Roof I was searching through their website. I have always loved their toys and really what's not to love. Great aesthetics, fabulous concept, and responsible production.  So I was surprised when I saw (I think) a new collection- the Uncensored Toys. And I'm not sure what I think about it. Here they are:
"Not meant to shock.......Let kids play war peacefully -as they have been doing for centuries and will do coming centuries..."  I am shocked. And also a little shocked by my shock.  I am so conflicted by these. While on one hand I completely understand the need to allow children to play without limits on that play.  I feel really awkward about providing children with the actual tools for violent play. I mean these are pretty directive. It's not like they are going to be mistaken for a kitchen utensil. I suppose a child who has no concept of war would see these are simply trucks. If we provide these to children aren't we subtly condoning violence or at least glorifying it a bit.
Can children play war peacefully? Is that an oxymoron?

I remember reading once about a group of preschool children who had lived through a violent attack on their school. It was a horrifying day. People were injured, some died. Teachers reported that for months after the attack the children would play, aggressively, the scenario over and over again. But in each go round children would take turns being the victims and the gunman. The outcome changed as well. Sometimes, police would rescue everyone at the school. Other times there were no survivors.  This play most often made the teachers very uncomfortable and they often wanted to stop it. But they as a group realized the importance that the play had on the children's healing. Eventually the children play through this scenario less and less until finally they were done.
Being mindful of the fact that children do need to engage in acting out the scenes that they see, are we helping or hurting when we give them the tools to play aggressively? Is this an American perspective? From the best of my understanding the Netherlands isn't really a war hunger crowd. Are we more touchy in the US about it due to our violent culture? What do you all think?


  1. What a great post!!!
    I have one boy who is not into guns, and one who is. I was discussing this with a fellow preschool parent in a similar situation today. He observed the dismay the gun-loving child would feel were he deprived of the object of his greatest desire. We both marveled that it seems innate in each of them, yet is lacking in the other, bringing up nature/nurture thoughts. I threw away the sticks taped up to be a gun that was "shot" at me one-too-many times, because of a similar shock I feel. I don't think I'd buy these, or play "guns" with my kids, however I think a strict and outright opposition encourages it's exploration more as something secret, which is worse, I think.

  2. Thank you so much, Renee! We couldn't agree more that to censor violent toys or play would indeed create an environment where children would feel the need to hide it. Which would most definitely be worse!


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