The last post I did, Game Time, is something that has consumed quite a bit of indoor time since the post was done. At the time, we had just began to explore the possibilities of entertaining ourselves and the kids on the inclimate weather days.
I did a little bit of investigating and plotting and scheming and decided that these RolePlaying Games (RPG) can be turned in to a valuable tool for helping to teach the kids many skills. And the fact that they are playing a game keeps their attention longer than if they were doing school work.
Then I found a game that was an RPG set up simply, just for kids. It was a free download that you can either read online or print and play. If you can’t print things easily, you can make your own cards to play. You need very few to get started, or you can just make it up as you go.
(Yes, we live off grid and still have a printer. There is a link down below if you are interested in what we use that is compatible with our measley solar system.)
To get a copy of the game “First Fable” for free, you can go to DrivethruRPG and download it. It was very simple to get, and I didn’t have to give out information, just fill my cart with games and checkout. Done. Highly recommended for any kids. Homeschooled or not, it is a great tool.
The idea is that you choose a character and pretend to be that charater and act as you think they would act. Use your imagination!! There are some character options that give you a starting off point, like a fairy princess or a pirate. These characters go on adventures in an imaginary world where they face challenges and complete tasks. Kids do like fighting games, and this is specifically not a fighting game, but it does explain how to throw in a battle or two if you need to get the kids attention back.
This game has simple enough rules for the kids to understand, but still made them pay attention, focus, and think. Kids need practice doing these things, just like many of us adults….. We like to help the kids practice as much as we can.
The kids stay in the game longer because they get to play a charater that they decide on and change to make it their very own. They also have to come up with their own ways to make their charaters better, so the kids get to put their ideas to use.
The download comes with rules of play, and includes an adventure idea. You can also come up with many of your own adventure ideas without much effort. There are tons of other games out there that you could also look in to to come up with ideas.
I am just starting to make up some of my own adventures for my kids. They tell me what they think would be fun, or I can give them options to pick from. If they want a pirate ship adventure, I come up with some silly story beginning about a pirate ship, and they play out the rest of the story, with my guiddance and direction, and TONS of dice rolling.
(I plan to share the adventures we create for “First Fable” in a future post if anyone is interested. The authors of the game encourage this sort of thing.)
When it is their idea or choice, it keeps them involved. When they roll tons of dice, it keeps them involved and they are practicing counting and adding. My 6 year old has improved his counting and adding tremendously since he got to start rolling the dice and counting to see what his future holds….
One final thing that we did to keep the kids more involved, was to have them create props and/or costumes for the adventures. The story included is about finding a creature that has never been seen before. The kids come up with a few traits of the creature and then they can draw it up and have it nearby to play the game with.
They made their characters and then drew pictures of them and then wore something that they would wear. My daughter was a fairy princess and put on a dress an made a magic wand out of paper and a stick. Very simple and it keeps the kids busy while you are setting up.
Although we are just getting started with these games, we have found endless possiblities of ways to keep the kids entertained while learning at the same time. Even if all they do is roll the dice and add them up, they are still practicing counting and adding. They don’t have to be actually playing. The 6 year old will often grab his dice, roll them, add them up, and yell, “I win!” in some form or another. He can count dice rolls this way for quite a while when he has to entertain himself.
A the same time, they will continue to play their own made up characters after we are done playing the game. They can come up with their own adventures and dice rolls and it continues to keep the imaginations going.
This is likely to become a project that I will be spending a lot of time on this winter while patiently waiting for the arrival of Spring. I need something to keep my impatient self distracted from the house building we are waiting to do. I will have more to share later….