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Formerly a PC-exclusive gamer, Kae was introduced to the tabletop world by gateway of the World of Warcraft TCG. Since then, her interests have broadened with her favorite games including Battlestar Galactica, Pathfinder, Lord of the Rings LCG, WarmaHordes, and more. Kae is willing to try just about any game and loves learning new strategy.

Raising A Geekling : Part 1

One year before I:T started, Raine and I were blessed with a little one. We knew that we wanted to introduce our son to the world of gaming for many reasons before he even arrived, but the question was what to start with? His natural curiosity got him into our game room, and things have developed since then. I wanted to share with our readers how we have personally exposed our geekling to our world, and various insights on how these skills may relate to other parts of his life.

First Exposure

At our first Gen Con visit, we picked up a giant green foam d20 as a present for him. He LOVED that thing and would look at me expectantly while holding it. One of his first words, not surprisingly, was “dice”.

When he first ventured into our gaming area (a closet, at the time), he’d sit and look at the game boxes, touch the pictures, and smile. Every chance he had to grab dice and drop them, he did. Over time he wanted to be involved with our cards and pawns. For over a year, he even had his own “deck” of Magic:the Gathering cards. By this, I mean he had a large stack of the advertisement/token cards we pulled from cracking our packs, but that didn’t matter to him. He happily sat on the floor and “sorted” his cards. Occasionally we’d hear “Ooooo lookit I got!” or “oh cool!”, mimicking our reactions. The excitement he got from being part of our hobby was just the beginning.

Geekling with deck of cards

The Interest Grew

For a long time, he was content with his decks of cards and a few handfuls of dice that he was given by our local game stores. He’d of course grab at our game sessions and “help” us roll dice. One time, his roll allowed my half-elf rogue a critical stab, and another time he spawned more enemies than we could handle. But he was involved and felt so proud of himself.

We began to look at our games, and the availability of games out there, and found that we didn’t have many games that were suitable for his age. Of course, we were using other methods of play to begin teaching him problem solving like building with blocks and recognizing numbers and counting.

One day, out of nowhere, he walked into our game room and declared “I want to play zombie games with Daddy”.

What zombie game is he talking about? And the better question: what zombie game would be okay for a 3 year old? He pointed to Zombie Dice.

We thought “Well, there aren’t any scary features to this game besides the container, so maybe this can work.”

He was mainly just focused on wanting to shake the container and roll dice, not really caring about the results. However, we showed him the different symbols and explained how it worked. He knew brains were good, feet could be re-rolled, and the shots would cause him to lose his brains. He knew that three “booms” meant it was someone else’s turn. He frequently wanted to “push his luck”, though we advised him against his desires a few times to keep his brains and actually get a score. That kid won his first game of Zombie Dice against his parents, and by a landslide, actually.

raine and gremlin

We frequently pull out Zombie Dice still, but we’ve managed to pick up some other games that are more aimed towards kids. We are still working on concepts of Connect Four, because right now it is a color recognition and counting game. But you see, that is going to eventually develop into knowing that he needs four in a row, or to stop me from getting four in a row. I’m letting him learn at his own pace, because he’s got lots of time to put the details together.

Upcoming Games

We picked up Chutes & Ladders and will be teaching him that soon, and I will be reporting on our geekling-raising progress soon afterwards. Another game that we are hoping to get soon is called My First Orchard by HABA Games. If you have little ones in the 2-5 age range, you really should know about their line. They create board games that are very appropriate for young kids, though we just recently learned about them.

If you are on your own adventure of exposing your kids to tabletop, I’d love to hear what games you are using and how they are developing. Please share your experiences and game recommendations!

Until next time, happy gaming (with your kids)!

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6 Comments on “Raising A Geekling : Part 1”

  1. Joe P January 21, 2015 at 11:05 AM #

    That’s awesome, I have a 2 year old who we are doing the same thing with now. We bought a bunch of the well known kids games for Christmas like Chutes and Ladders and Hi-Ho Cherry-O! but one of his favorites is Animal Upon Animal by HABA. The game is about stacking wooden animal pieces which my son loves to do and it is pretty fun when played with other adults too (which is a bonus!), haha.

    I usually have game nights at my house because I was the first member to have a child and now that he wants to “help” with every game we play I noticed one of my buddies gets annoyed. Others are fine with his “help” and I don’t let him ruin the game or anything, but I was wondering if you have any experience with that aspect?

    • Kae January 21, 2015 at 11:44 AM #

      I’ve seen Animal Upon Animal! I love the idea of most of the HABA game line. Can’t wait to get some. Have you had any luck with Chutes & Ladders and Hi-Hi Cherry-O yet?

      Oh yes, lots. If it is feasible for your gaming group, we began to schedule game night after his bed time. This enabled everyone enough time to decide on a game and/or set up while myself or my husband (or even both of us) got the kiddo ready for, and in bed. Mine sleeps very well so we didn’t have a lot of problems with him falling asleep or waking up while we play. If not, perhaps ask the group, or even just the one that seems annoyed, if they have any suggestions. Kids have a natural curiosity and I think we often translate it into annoyance. Kids learn by touching and playing, even if that means that they’ve moved a bunch of pawns or accidentally revealed a Cylon…*sigh*.

      We’ve also started to play a game with him really quickly before we set up a game if it isn’t near his bed or nap time. A quick game of Zombie Dice or “playing cards” will frequently satisfy his curiosity, then we’ll let him continue playing solo with a movie while we set up our games.

      • Joe P January 21, 2015 at 12:20 PM #

        He enjoys Hi-Ho because of the spinner and all the little cherries, he was okay with chutes, but it was pretty much just him spinning and then me moving around the board, he didn’t care for it as much. I am waiting for the day he asks me to play Imperial Assault with him!

        I tried planning later game nights because my son usually goes to bed around 8, but people complain they are too short then. And the part that gets my goat about my friend getting annoyed is that he has a 6 month old child also, maybe he just doesn’t understand yet, lol. Or maybe I just need a better game group, haha!

      • Kae January 21, 2015 at 12:36 PM #

        Haha, I bet! I’m looking forward to introducing mine to Warmachine!

        Understandable on time – some people have work the next day or just don’t want to be up all night. As far as your friend – he will discover soon enough! And when that time comes, you’ll be able to share your experiences. He may not get it now, but in time he’ll have one of those “ohhhhhh” moments!

        Also, as all the kids get older, you’ll be surprised at how well they’ll entertain themselves. We have a couple that we game with that have a 5 year old daughter – we bring our 3 year old and they play with each other for hours! They’ll pop in once in a while and ask what we’re doing, but when there’s another little person around, board games aren’t their sole focus!

  2. Angela January 21, 2015 at 10:32 PM #

    I love when they start showing interest in gaming/nerdy/geeky things. It makes me so happy to see how interested and happy it makes them. Plus, there are a lot of great things they can actually learn from them as well! Great stories, strategy, and loads more. Yay games!

    • Kae January 22, 2015 at 9:27 AM #

      Absolutely! And getting to share an interest with them is a great bonding experience for both the parent and child! 🙂

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