Introducing Dungeons and Dragons to Kids
Let’s face it, the presence of COVID-19 has taken its toll on everyone over the last year. For everyone, being cut off from the world, forced into isolation, and the inability to do much outside the home has had real and meaningful consequences.
While this time has been trying for adults, children have had a tough time too. Not being able to be in school, having to stay home, and being away from their friends has had untold consequences. The research shows that during COVID-19 children have shown increased levels of anxiety, depression, and had difficulty coping.
As a result, parents and educators have had to get creative about how they help their children manage during these troubling times. One tactic many people have employed has been introducing young people to Dungeons and Dragons.
In this article, we’re going to discuss the benefits Dungeons and Dragons provides, the best strategies to get kids involved, and how to run successful campaigns that keep things fun, and everyone interested.
Benefits of Dungeons and Dragons for Kids
On the surface, Dungeons and Dragons has some immediate benefits for kids. Those include math, strategizing, and problem solving. With that being said, there are a number of benefits that aren’t as readily visible.
Let’s start with communication. The Dungeons and Dragons interactive environment forces young people to communicate with one another as they plot the best strategy forward. This collaboration fosters empathy, the ability to compromise, consideration for the perspectives and ideas of others, and teamwork.
Another benefit for young people is that they see themselves in a positive light. By roleplaying through their characters, kids see themselves as heroes. In other words, they can adopt attributes of the person they want to be like.
Kids also benefit from Dungeons and Dragons because they’re mechanically asked to improve their character in the face of adversity. This further enhances coping skills, confidence, and self-esteem.
How to Introduce Dungeons and Dragons to Kids
Introducing kids to Dungeons and Dragons has never been easier. No longer is the game considered one for folks on the fringes of society who spend hours in their basement.
Today, the TV shows, movies, and video games that kids enjoy, lend themselves to elements of fantasy. As a result, the idea of joining a fantasy game like Dungeons and Dragons is an easy sell.
The best way to start a campaign with children is to tell a story. This allows them to immerse themselves in the experience and sets the tone for the settings and themes to come.
Once the story is told, let kids learn the rules organically. What does this look like in practice? Let kids look over their character sheets and explore the dice while introducing different concepts as they come up. As adults, we often forget that kids are both inquisitive and quick studies. While explaining all the rules to a young person might seem daunting, it’s often easier than you think.
After you have everything in place, let kids run wild with their creativity and imaginative thoughts. As the Dungeon Master, it’s important to remain adaptable and change your approach based on the direction the kids create.
Never forget, the most important thing is that everyone has fun and feels included.
Dungeons and Dragons Adventures for Kids
As the Dungeon Master, it’s a good idea to start with some published beginner adventures. Great choices include the Lost Mine of Phandelver, Defiance of Phlan, and the Curse of Strahd. Beginner campaigns provide a framework and structure from which kids can be creative and tell their own stories.
Like no time in recent memory has it been so important to concern ourselves with the emotional, mental, and developmental wellbeing of our kids. Due to circumstances largely beyond our control, kids have been taken out of routines, cut off from education, and kept away from activities with their friends where so much socialization occurs and develops.
It’s for those reasons that so many parents and teachers have introduced Dungeons and Dragons to their children and students. The elements intrinsic to the game all have positive and lasting impacts on the issues kids are facing.
Even if you don’t know much about Dungeons and Dragons, or have only played a few times, try introducing it to the kids in your life. When you do, chances are you’ll have just as much fun as them.