Board Game On | WHY YOU SHOULD TEACH YOUR CHILD TO PLAY RPGS
Maybe you’ve only heard of the game Dungeons & Dragons just recently, from shows like Stranger Things and The Big Bang Theory… or maybe you’ve been playing D&D since 1st Edition. Either way, you still might not know that Dungeons & Dragons is only one specific game in the genre of table-top role-playing games (known as “TTRPGs” or just “RPGs”)- which let players take the role of characters of all kinds and embark on adventures across the universe, from the comfort of any table. You might also be unaware that there is a wide selection of these adventuresome, story-telling games that are designed to be played by children!
RPGs are growing in popularity across America, capturing the attention of new players and communities- and it’s not just all teens and adults! Younger children can greatly benefit from finding an age-appropriate role-playing game that speaks to them, learning to play it, and forming a group to play.
If you don’t know, role-playing games are played in groups of three or more. Most players will build a single character inside the fiction, who works with other characters to explore and change the world. While one special player takes the role of the “Game Master” (or GM), who builds the world around the player’s individual characters, and controls how that world reacts to the events of the game. Players will need the rules on how to play and pencils and paper, and sometimes dice and small items to represent their character on a map- and they’re off to another world.
The very nature of role-playing games makes them a social activity that helps children build strong friendships and community locally, away from computer and phone screens. These games require a high level of team-work, not just inside the fiction of the character’s world, but for the players. Children can practice sharing the spotlight, leaning into their strengths, and helping others when they need it. When you give children the space to take the role of another person, it can improve their empathetic skills as well- as they learn to think what it might be like to walk in another person (or elves) shoes.
Children will also practice creative thinking. This world isn’t controlled by a computer, but a person, so players can interact with the world in any way they see fit- even if a programmer didn’t plan it ahead of time, like a video game. This allows children to utilize creative problem solving– and many children’s RPGs put a focus on solving problems without combat, too!
Communication of ideas is key in RPGs, and learning to express themselves can have positive effects on a child’s academic English and writing skills. RPG’s often use dice and other mathematical formulas or tokens to add chance and excitement to games, so these mechanics can strengthen an understanding of probability and basic mathematics.
The best part of RPGs, however, is that they’re fun! Children will have fun playing, and thus it becomes easy to have them practice all these wonderful skills and abilities- they won’t even know they’re benefitting!
Some RPGs that are designed for children include…
“No Thank You Evil!”
(A popular beginner’s RPG for children just starting to learn to read)
“Magical Kitties Save the Day!”
(What child doesn’t love cute cats? A perfect fit for animal-lovers, with just the right amount of magic.)
“Quest of Yore”
(A little more complicated RPG for older kids, based on the Pixar Film Onward)
(This one is actually compatible with D&D itself, but is designed for those who might just be starting out with RPGs- it’s another one that includes play as talking cats and dogs, too!)
“My Little Pony: Tails of Equestria”
(An officially licensed RPG from the world of My Little Pony, perfect for fans of the show!)
You can find more information about all of these games, and role-playing games in general, at The Adventure Begins, as well as safe areas where they can play when they’re ready to start.
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The Adventure Begins | 525 Woodland Square Blvd. #130, Conroe, TX 77384 | 936-273-3223
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