Over the last 4 years I have looked into running games for my kids frequently. I have tried a few times and I have learned a bit about running games for young kids. The first rule to running games for kids is they just want to have fun.
Knowing that all kids want to do is have fun you have to know a few other things about kids. So here are some questions to ask yourself about the kids you are going to play with.
- How old is the kid or kids?
- What are their favorite toys, cartoons, animals, characters, and activities?
- Do they have a good attention span?
The age of the kid may determine a lot of things about the game. If your child is on the younger side say about 5 or 6 you might be limited to specific game systems like Hero Kids, Dagger, and No Thank You Evil to name a few. That or you may just keep track of rules and even characters to allow the kids to just have fun. There are other game systems besides the ones that I mentioned which would work as well.
Take inspiration from the various things kids enjoy! For example my daughter has recently started to like Pokemon. I think she would really enjoy playing in a game where she catches monsters and fights them in arenas against others. My son is practically obsessed with squids. Maybe he could have a pet squid as a companion? Some systems already incorporate companions No Thank You Evil for example. If you are incorporating things the kids are already into it will make it that much easier to ensure that they have a blast!
Do they have a good attention span? This one is extremely limiting in my opinion. If they do then there is no reason you can't play for an hour to an hour and a half. This should be more than enough time to play a good game. If they don't try to keep things to about a half hour. As they get older their attention span should get better and this will eventually not be something you need to consider as much.
When playing with kids don't ever shut down their ideas! Always and I mean always go along with what they want. If they want a bad guy to be a certain way make it so. If they want to rescue puppies from trees let them. Remember this game is about them and making sure they have the best time possible. You want them to enjoy it and someday be as into Tabletop RPGs as you are.
So there you have it. Just a few of my favorite tips on running Tabletop RPGs for kids. If you have any questions post it below. Otherwise you can message me on any of the various social media platforms I am on. I highly suggest the Master the Game Facebook Group for any questions and discussions with the community we are building.
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