I’ve known since loooooong before we had kids that I wanted to raise tiny gamers. One of the reasons I wanted to HAVE kids was to create my own little adventuring party – but how do you do it? How do you instill the hunger for rolling dice into kids without, like, creepy-ass Black Widow-style brainwashing?
It starts with stories.
Read books about adventures. Linger on the words. Focus on the pictures. Buy a copy of Neil Gaiman’s Instructions and memorize every page. Recite Harold and the Purple Crayon like a bard addressing a captive audience. Even when your babies are tiny, let them sleep on your chest while you whisper the words to Madeline’s most tenacious exploits (To the tiger in the zoo, Madeline just said, “Pooh-pooh!).
Tell your little ones tall tales. Embellish the already over-the-top stories of your grandparents or fill in the blanks with your own fictions. Never serve a normal dinner. In our house, curries are dragon stew. Those aren’t pork chops, they’re tarrasque filets. The recipe for your spaghetti was stolen from an eeeeevil wizard named Ragu!
Make your would-be adventurers the center of new stories. Whenever possible, wear capes (solid advice, no matter your age, tbh). Make all mundane tasks missions. Do not brush teeth. Instead, search for sugar bugs in the deep caverns of your mouths. Spend some part of every day on a quest – even if it’s just to reunite a missing shoe with its long-lost left mate.
Build things and explain them. Make up silly songs about why your Lego robot has one blue foot, one red foot, and no arms.
In all things, encourage them to tell their own stories and create their own. Ask them questions about imaginary worlds. Quiz them about colors and concepts – and don’t take “I don’t know!” for an answer. Remind them often that anything is possible in their imaginations.
One day, hand them some dice and ask, “Would you like to go on an adventure?” Chances are, they won’t say no.