July 20, 2002
Introducing Kids to Gaming

Kim said...
I'm not sure how old your kids are, but you might try ElfQuest with them. Scott and I plan to start ours (when we have them) on that one.

My daughter Danielle (Dani, or the peanut) is 4 years old, and my son Ryan is 7 1/2 months. Dani's been around gaming since she was born... hells, since before she was born. I took a maternity leave from WEF and from AoW (which I was running) when she was born, and then jumped right back in. So she knows mommy and daddy both game, and she's got a fairly decent understanding of what gaming is. Or at least as much as a four year old can understand.

I've thought a lot about where to start someday. Handily, I know the parents of her best friends decently well (and one of those parents has expressed an interest in learning about gaming recently). I also have a few gaming friends with kids. I think I think even more about how to approach gaming with her friends -- so she can have a little gaming group of her own.

I may start systemless. Its what she sees most often -- no dice, just notes and a lot of talking, and mom being different people as the GM. So just as an outgrowth of "let's pretend". In a way, that's where I started, combined with the computer games, so its a logical place to go.

The hardest part of gaming with kids is the separation of "pretend" and "real". We have a lot of conversations about those as it is -- she watches a very different type of thing on TV or movie than her friends do, but then, she also gets a lot of the difference and therefore isn't as scared. And we also talk about righ and wrong -- a necessary topic before one can really get into a lot of things in life!!

Oh, another possible starting point, as something familiar, is always doing a Harry Potter Lite sort of thing. Zip out some of the darkness and keep the fun pieces. That would give the kids a familiar world at least. That's one of the big things, I think -- familiarity of world. But then, I think I've got a few years yet before she'll really be ready for it. Of course, I want to be ready when she is!

Posted by Deb Atwood at July 20, 2002 11:21 PM
Comments

Good points. I think this is why we like the idea of a fun Elfquest game. Simple stuff, nothing evil, just concepts.

I do like the idea of going system-less to start with; that's something to keep in mind.

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