Hence the attraction with shields.
I can't say the shields were my idea, nor did I ensure they were on the top of the to-do list. But fortune favors the brave, as they say, so my boys forced the issue by organizing a Summer day camp for 6-8 yr olds in our back yard (another post entirely, but WOW, was it exciting to see pre-teens developing leadership ability & responsibility. 1000 Dad U points to them!). So as you can see, I can now slip shield-making into the Dad50 list as we recently made a collection of them.
They are made of the 3-ply plywood, so they are nice and light. Round or bevel the corners so that they are not sharp and sand down all the edges. Drill 2 holes, spaced ~6-inches apart, in the middle for the handle. Nuts/bolts/washers are used to fasten the handle strap, which is added after the front is painted. The strap is made from artificial leather or similar durable material. The simple design was duplicated from a shield my oldest made at a local homeschool academy and has survived several years of heavy use with flying colors.
An innovation we added was to cut stencils and use spray painting for the crest schemes on the front. A great source of printable stencils can be found at spraypaintstencils.com. My boys went for lions, griffins, machine guns and the deathstar (lol, that stencil took a long time to cut). We printed them onto card/presentation paper so that they were durable enough to be used more than once. A Stanley knife or similar is used to cut them out. For painting we first sprayed the base color, then once dry, placed the stencil in the center, then a mask to cover the rest of the shield. We soon learned that small weights (bolts/nuts etc) need to be placed judiciously on the stencil to prevent lifting and ensure tight paint edges when spraying. Three or four different spray can colors were enough to give a range of combinations to satisfy even the most discerning camper-warriors.
Repainted old shield
Camper-warrior M16, Eagle and Deathstar shields