I don’t know about your kids, but when mine get home from school, they look for three things… a snack, a drink, and something fun to do to help them decompress after a full day of learning. While the first two items could be their own article (“Quick Refreshments to Throw at Your Kids as They Charge Through the Door”), I’m here to help you with the third item on the list. Rather than letting your kids go all glassy-eyed in front of one screen or another, how about playing through a group of tabletop roleplaying scenarios that are designed to be both short and to teach them that games can be fun and educational at the same time?
Playground Adventures offers an array of scenarios that were built with the twin goals of pleasing kids and parents alike. The scenarios are based upon the existing rulesets from familiar games like Pathfinder, Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, and Hero Kids, creating a family-friendly way to introduce young gamers to the mechanics of those properties. Adventures are meant to be played in the time it takes for kids to have a snack and unwind from a day at school or while the DM gets dinner ready.
For the younger players, there are scenarios set in the familiar world of Wonderland, where their characters pursue the White Rabbit. For older elementary and middle school aged kids, Playground Adventures has a “Fun & Facts” line of scenarios that use the Pathfinder ruleset and take place in and around the town of Glavost. Madam Marageth’s Magic Potion has a fun experiment using special ice cubes that parents prepare ahead of time that is designed to teach children about acidity and pH levels. Picnic at Forest Cove is teaches players about how coal is formed, mined, and used–oh, and it includes a recipe for lumps of “coal” that your children can eat! I guess I was able to help you with a snack idea after all.
Older children–think junior high students and older–who have a strong grasp of tabletop roleplaying mechanics and are looking for more in-depth adventuring can stick close to the village of Glavost but graduate to adventures like Pixies on Parade and For the Hive! The former deals with imagination and nightmare, while the latter provides information about the honeybee and the role it plays in the environment.
Note: While all the adventures are rated for ages four and up, the age ranges I have suggested are based upon my perception of the appropriateness of the material, both in terms of entertainment and educational content, and the mastery I believe the players should command over the particular rulesets in order to be able to fully appreciate and enjoy the scenarios. As always, your mileage may vary.
The scenarios listed above, as well as a number of other adventures, activities, and accessories like full-color maps, can be found online at the Playground Adventures website or for purchase at DriveThruRPG.
Disclaimer: Playground Adventures provided the scenarios specifically mentioned in the article for the purposes of this review. All opinions, including suggested ages for the various scenarios, are my own.