Everyone deserves a sword when you visit Scotland with kids

Swords. They are the bane of every mother’s existence in her house. They knock over vases of flowers, pictures in frames and have even been known to take down a TV or two (not in my house, but I’m sure somewhere it has happened). Swords belong in only one place, the battlefields and castles of Scotland, which is why Scotland with kids is the perfect place for an epic battle… I mean vacation.


When my boys and I met my parents in Scotland for a little multi-gen family fun, I knew a bit of craziness was in store. My dad would be with his boys. I was raised in a house full of woman. The only testosterone my dad got was from our family dog, who wasn’t the brightest pup on the block. When I gave my dad two grandsons he was in heaven. No more Barbie dolls for him (unless he was hanging out with my niece). This grandpa was going to build towers, have endless noogie fights and sword battles that would make William Wallace want to recruit a kindergartener and toddler.


We started off our journey by picking up two foam swords at the Toy Museum in Edinburgh on the Royal Mile. It seemed like a natural thing to do when going to Scotland with kids. Foam also seemed safe. Foam would stop my boys from stabbing each other. Foam also didn’t hold up to their antics. Being the amazing (aka a sucker) mother that I am, we found plastic swords and wooden shields at Edinburgh Castle. Well, of course we just had to have them. The foam swords were out and the plastic, more painful when they whacked you, swords were in. Imagine my joy.

But joy it was at the end of two weeks in Scotland with kids traipsing through fields, castles, palaces and abbeys. When I thought my boys were at the end, they pulled out their swords for a fight on top of the hill at the Abbey on Iona. Hikes through Glencoe became quests with grandpa to find the dragon around the next hill.

plastic sword

As much as the boys loved their swords and the swords kept them entertained, I did have to set a few ground rules.

  1. No hitting mommy unless she has a shield and sword. My toddler had a hard time understanding that hitting me in the knee when I was defenseless really hurt and just wasn’t very sporting of him.
  2. Everyone had to have their name or initial on their sword. More than one fight broke out when one of my sons thought he had the wrong sword and wanted the other one.
  3. If you can’t carry your own sword you can’t bring it. Mommy was not going to carry swords and shields all over Scotland with kids, even though yes, I did end up carrying them through a few fields, as well as carrying a tired toddler.
  4. Swords go home with grandma and grandpa. My boys and I had almost three more weeks to our European adventure and I had no room in my suitcase to carry swords and shields. They had to go home with my parents. I had meticulously packed and there was no room for large souvenirs.

Some of my favorite memories of our time in Scotland with kids were made with those swords. We eventually picked them up from my parents after our trip and they are now home sitting in a toy bin or under a bed somewhere. Apparently you need to be in Scotland, sloshing around in your rainboots in order to use them. I have a feeling they will come out again when grandpa visits, but until then I will feel safe in the knowledge that my TV may still be standing for a few more months before it is slain by the brave knights that live in my house.


Where to buy plastic swords:

  • Amazon.com
  • Edinburgh Castle
  • Linlithgow Palace
  • Stirling Castle
  • Royal Mile
  • Toy Museum Edinburgh

About The Author

4 thoughts on “Everyone deserves a sword when you visit Scotland with kids”

  1. Mom

    Needless to say, this has got to be one of my favorite posts!

    1. Keryn Means

      Knew you would love this one.

  2. Andy

    Hi Keryn, I had a good little chuckle reading this. I only have one kid but the defenseless hitting and trying in vain to get him to carry his own stuff are daily occurrences. My brother lives in Scotland too, so I guess I’ll have to get a sword (or two) and pay another visit!

    1. I highly recommend you get a sword and shield for yourself too. It helps when you are randomly attacked by a tiny knight 😉

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