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I'm writing an article on gaming with your kids, what the kids get out of it, and how parents can get involved. It's probably aimed at the 7-12 year old kids who are just getting started. Comments, suggestions, tips, and your personal experiences would be greatly appreciated. This is very much a work in progress, so don't mind the minor grammatical and spelling oopses.
Gaming with Your Kids
I completely agree with the points raised in the article. I have found that being involved in wargaming has taught my brother a hell of a lot more than "Flashlights tickle!". I mean - I personally financed his hobby - but I never just let him choose something "cool looking" - he always had to put thought into it and tell me why he should have it and why he needs it. It really made him think about cause and effect. That's how the little goon ended up with 3000 points of Chaos before he hit double figures! It was also great for him to make and paint them - he constantly tells people about a model that he is particularly proud of (a very well done Terminator Champion) and it's really nice to see.
Also - I still occasionally take him into our local store, now he's on first name terms with all the staff and, despite the fact that he isn't old enough, they let him paint in there and help him out, as long as I stick around - not a problem as I am also good friends with the staff. He shows incredible maturity - compared to the 13 year old kids who scream and argue and, generally, annoy the crap out of everyone! That is solely as a result of being involved with wargaming - he is patient and mature far beyond his years.
He has also picked up some more obscure things too, for instance - I taught him how to shake hands properly (firm grip, eye contact), which he does at the end of every game. He also never fails to congratulate a gracious winner or good loser. As far as I'm concerned this wouldn't have happened for a good number of years yet (if at all) had I not introduced him to wargames.
Wargames for kids - oh yes! Because by letting them play warGAMES you positively encourage the skills and attitudes that lend themselves beautifully to peace.
Nice article - keep up the good work!
That's a great story. Thanks for sharing. It reminds me to amend my article because big brothers and sisters definately have a role in introducing their siblings to the hobby. That way, instead of getting an annoying brother, you get a battle buddy.
That's quite a good start there - well written.
I've only got a young daughter, so it will be a while before I can teach her, but I have helped kids of family friends get into the hobby.
I think that you could expand on a few more things like:
- Painting, Building, Modelling and Gaming teaches patience and care, teaches how to plan and follow that plan to get results, how to show care for a project/product and instills a sense of pride in their good work. It also encourages them to constantly better there skills.
- Gaming teaches problem solving and constantly tests their ability to assess risks, problems, changes in situation and subsequently overcome them. It also teaches lateral thinking and improves both their mathematical skills (coming up with lists etc on the fly) and analytical skills.
Dovie'andi se tovya sagain (It's time to roll the dice)- Mattrim Cauthon
A guy at my store has gotten his daughter into magic. He uses it as a way to connect with her, and like you said, it teaches problem solving skills.
I've worked with kids quite a bit as both a coach and camp counselor, and one of the most important lessons wargaming offers is delayed gratification. With technology, we get very used to immediate gratification for most of our wants. Wargaming takes a sincere investment on the part of the player in terms on time and effort on their models. Teaching kids delayed gratification is an incredibly powerful ability. It helps them focus on larger projects and look at the bigger picture, which particularly comes to light when they are older and in high school.
One thing I might also suggest is that to try and get your kids involved with their peers in the games. Hobbies are meant to be a social thing, and sometimes games can isolate themselves and use the hobby as an escape. Kids should see the hobby as a way to connect with their peers.
Overall, I think your points are very practical and well written. Good article.
I have 5 children that are all playing both Warhammer Fantasy and 40K. The ages range from 7 – 20 with four boys and one girl. My wife also plays. We started about 7 years ago with LOTR when the movies were coming out. At the time, we lived in Houston and there was a GW store in the Katy Mills Mall near us. The three older boys were taken in by the cool LOTR models and soon were asking for them for birthday and Christmas gifts. They even went out and mowed lawns to earn money to purchase their own. It didn’t take long for them to convince Dad to join in and our daughter followed soon after (she and I actually started collecting together as she was unable to craft a lot of the models and needed quite a bit of assistance with the painting as well). After about two years, we moved to Montana where the nearest independent retailer is about 3 hours away and the nearest GW store is probably 10 – 12 hours away.
We were (and still are) White Dwarf subscribers and the more the boys read about the other games (Fantasy and 40K) the more they wanted to get involved. So, after five years in Montana, we now have four Space Marine armies, an Imperial Guard army, Tyranids, Necrons, Eldar, Orks, DE, Tau and two small contingents of Harlequins for 40K as well as Empire, Dwarfs, two High Elves, Wood Elves, Orcs and Goblins and a small Lizardman army. We have a 6 x 4 table and three 4 x 4 tables that all of us have pitched in to help build and have enough terrain (both kits and scratch built) to have all of them in play. Which is a really good thing as the kids all have friends that they have gotten involved in the games and we have periodic gaming weekends where the fun starts on Friday (usually with any modeling and last minute painting) and then runs through Saturday and Sunday afternoon with battles being fought on all tables.
With all of the problems that GW seems to have with pricing and rules errors, etc… they still have given me and my family hours of fun together with modeling, painting and gaming. Our oldest is now married and lives about 2 hours away but he and his wife are both make monthly trips down to join us in our games with his wife being more interested in the crafting and him wanting to blow up any and all comers (his record is about 50-50, but he still loves playing). After we have a battle, we usually sit down and go over the battle over pizza and soda and discuss the finer tactics and complete screw-ups and just plain hilarious results of the totally random dice rolls (one of our friends rolled 8 dice and needed 3+ to hit – somehow he managed to roll seven 1’s and one 2 to miss everything).
Again, while we may get frustrated with all the foibles of GW and their management of the game as well as the frustrations of dealing with poor sports and troublesome preteens, I cannot recommend this hobby enough to any parents with their kids. While the hobby may be pricy, we have managed this with a sharp eye on Ebay and package deals from online stores.
Hope this is something like what you were looking for… Enjoy – because I sure do!
Actually I can thank my eldest son for getting me back into gaming. He and his friends started exploring gaming with 40k but he had absolutely no experience painting figs. I on the other hand painted and set up AD&D displays @ my local gaming shop back in my youth. I used this time as a vehicle for my son & I to spend quality time doing something we both enjoyed and it worked like a charm. Every parent should attempt to find an activity that's engaging and enjoyable to do with their children. It's the best investment of time you (as a parent or child) will ever make.
I hear voices...and they don't like you!
I wish this article had been around ten years ago. Both of my daughters expressed a passing interest in painting and playing 40K, basically because it was something that obviously meant a lot to Dad. The oldest played for a couple of months but this was just before she discovered boys and 40K disappeared from her interests almost immediately when that happened. Three years later her younger sister thought it would be cool and she actually painted some as well as played before the same distraction pulled her away. Having only daughters made it more difficult to pass the hobby along to the next generation as you may have noticed that ladies in the hobby are few and far between. It's a rare girl/woman who develops a taste for this hobby. The oldest daughter has long since moved out and my youngest graduated from high school this year. I have a glimmer of hope that I may still get a few games before she moves on. My wife has recently decided to get back into gaming if I paint her army (she has no interest in painting). I needless to say jumped at this idea. Seeing Mom getting involved actually spurred Erin into getting out her Knights of Gryphonne again. As she's going to college here in town, I may get to get in a few battles with my wife and daughter before her interests drift again.
Yes, there are female marines and my Sunhawks will let you know in a major way.
Not all the Emperors Children turned coat. We will redeem our name.