As a parent I try to create the conditions to my kids to have healthy ways of playing. Some related to going outside, playing in the park, walk in contact with nature, play football, other related to stay at home, like painting, playing with clay and plasticine, legos, boardgames, etc… These are quite relevant in the times we live, where the pandemic makes us stay at home more than we would like. But there are a type o game I feel that fosters our relation, helps the kids develop their capacity of communication and interaction, also helps with some base math and most of all, helps them foster their creativity in a relational way. I’m am talking about Table Top Role-playing Games, usually known as RPG.
What are Role-playing Games?
All the kids role-play when they play make believe games, when they pretend they are super-heroes or cowboys. Roleplay is natural for kids. Role-playing games remind those make believe games, the player preform the role of a character and interact with the other players that are also preforming.
So what makes a RPG different from make believe games? RPG have a set of predefined rules that help keep the game balanced. Those rules come, in general, written in a book that is usually called the core book. Most games also have a setting and predefined adventures, so there are RPG where you can play as a fantasy warrior or wizard and others where you play as a super-hero or a pulp adventurer. RPG settings are as varied as the imagination of their creators. There isn’t only one RPG, there are a vast number of RPG of all kinds and “flavors”. Normally the books with adventures and settings are calledsourcebooks.
One other thing that makes an RPG different from make believe playing is that one of the players assume the role of a guide or a storyteller – this is the role normally assumed by the parent, but when your kids get used to playing and grow in experience and maturity they can assume this role as well. Normally this role is called Game Master. The Game Master tells the story to the other players and apply the rules. The other players say what it’s character do in that context, and from this interaction the story is told and build into something new – a story built together.
All you need to play is pen, paper and imagination… oh, and some dice (normally RPG use dice, some special dice with lot’s of sides, other use cards, but normally RPG use normal dice.)
“You enter into a room, the room is full of gold and jewelry… in the back of the room you see a shadow. It’s a black knight holding a fire sword. What do you do? – says the Game Master”
Why are Role-playing games good for kids?
When you develop a story for you children to play, you decide the challenges they will face and they make the choices to overcome those challenges. They build and preform they characters and communicate with the other players, describe their actions, and think of the solutions for the challenges they face.
This helps your kids interact, develop communication and social skills and foster their creativity. You can also use stories that help them develop values that you defend, like helping others, overcome challenges in a team, friendship, sharing, all of this can be develop inside a story. Also when your kids are creating their character they can read about a certain time in history (where the story is taken) or get inspiration from a book hero, or simply the rule book. When they are older read to be able to build their own stories.
RPG can be a very good medium to help your kids develop those skills that mobile phones and TV don’t provide.
How do I start?
First thing to do is get an RPG that is adequate to your kids age. There are lot’s of RPG adequate to kids (I will give some examples to coil subscribers bellow), so grab one and start reading the rules.
Parents can play imagination games with their kids thought RPG at the same time they help them focus on rules, cooperation and story development. Kids love to build stories and play make believe, tabletop RPG are very good do develop communication and foster creativity and also develop social skills.
And the best? In RPG there are no winners or losers, there only players that cooperate in problem solving and build a story together.
Kids are creative by design, they are born without limits in their dreams, its growing up that limits them. With RPG you can help them grow with a healthy hobby that will help them keep that childish creativity as the grayness of age comes.
Thank your for reading. Keep safe, keep healthy.
Header photo from Pexels. Other photos from Unsplash
Tabletop Role-playing games ideal to play with kids
Hero Kids is fantasy RPG for kids aged from 4 to 10, its a good introduction to RPGs, perfect for younger kids that love a fantasy theme.
Price: 5,99 at Drivethurpg.com
Mermaid Adventures is a RPG for kids aged from 6 to 11, where they can be mermaids in underwater adventures.
Price: 14,99 at Drivethrurpg.com
Princes’ Kingdom is a RPG for kids with ages +5, where they role a 9 years old adventurer, exploring ideals, relations, children and adults.
Price: 9,99 at Indie Press Revolution
Happy Birthday, Robot!
Happy Birthday, Robot! is a RPG for families and classrooms, where the players take turns writing the story of Robot’s birthday.
Price: 9,99 at Drivethrurpg.com
Adventures in Oz: Fantasy Roleplaying Beyond the Yellow Brick Road
Adventures in OZ is a RPG for kids with ages +8, where they roleplay in the fantastic world of the Wizards of Oz tale. It’s good motto to read the book and watch the classic movie.
Price: 6,99 at Drivethrurpg.com
School Daze is an high school themed RPG for kids aged 10 or more.
Price: 15,00 at Drivethrurpg.com