Finally, telling children what type of make-believe play is acceptable and what isn’t (i.e., banning games such as “cops and robbers”) is a disturbing concept. Play is a critical aspect of child development; it is through pretend play that young children order the world around them and learn social skills. Through make-believe play, children can try out roles and ideas that might otherwise be off-limits — an important way for them to learn and grow.
We’re not saying threats should not be taken seriously, or that there should have been no response at all to these incidents. Certainly any time one child threatens another, there is an opportunity for adults to step in and talk about why that’s not OK.
But treating a bubble gun as if it were a real gun? That’s the sort of thing for which we should have zero tolerance.