Would you let your child play with a catapult pen?

catapult-pen“What on earth was that?”

A marble flew past my daughters ear and hit the floor in the kitchen as she tucked into her toast on a Saturday morning.

My husband picked up the marble and puzzled how on earth it had managed to get there; he looked accusingly at the cat that had just wandered into view.

“It was Stuntboy.”

Piped up my daughter….

“He shot it with his pen, Daddy.”

This was the story that greeted me when my other half was chatting about his morning after I had my lie in this week. My regular, and much looked forward to lie in.

Stuntboy has a free pen…with Toxic Magazine.

It had a spring for its shaft, and a small catapult in the top…perfect for a marble. And perfect for him to use while sitting eating toast with his sister at the breakfast table.

You can see for yourself here if you would like; just a quick demonstration of how far and fast you can ping your spring *as it were*…..

The magazine was a present from a friend. Perhaps this is a warning for me in the future to check what gifts are with such magazines; though I can’t say I would have anticipated a “sick catapult pen” would be included with too many of them…. Not as a general rule anyway….

However, on close examination of the pen in my son’s hand; I am not so sure that this type of toy should be being given to children across the land. It doesn’t take much to cause serious damage with something like this. But then, perhaps that’s also the case with the knight’s sword that is also currently sitting on the floor in our lounge, and I wasn’t telling him to stop using that, was I?

Perhaps it is the lack of control with the direction of a catapult that bothers me; with a sword there is more control. Well, as much control as a six year old every shows with anything sharp and pointy. Is it worse than a gun that fires darts, a Nerf gun, or anything else like that which is currently available in the shops. We don’t tend to do guns; we have a laser one that makes flashing noises. We also have a light sabre, but that is about it.

Even the light sabres are now missing the tops after a particularly vicious Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker encounter. That didn’t seem to bother Stuntboy too much though.

Perhaps it is because the pen was a freebie with a magazine that I was surprised it could be so dangerous…

Or perhaps my husband and I are just being old fuddy-duddies…

What do you think? Would be really, really keen to hear your thoughts. Is this responsible free gifting? Am I being un-necessarily prim and proper advising him to only use said pen for writing? It is probably only designed to catapult rolled up paper in schools across the land. Is that a good thing anyway? If my son spotted it was the perfect size for a marble and he is six… *the mind boggles*

Please do give me your views too.