I have to do a bunch of real work today, so I'm just going to point to a fantastic column at GeekDad that every GeekMom and GeekDad should read: Teaching Kids to Roleplay is Only Natural.
Children are born to role play.
It is one of the key ways in which children learn. Ok, so it isn’t all dice, paper and miniatures, but children have been creating their own RPGs forever. They don’t even use dice.
All the early childhood development professionals know this only too well. Children mimic and recreate the worlds - pre-school teachers set up pretend shops, pirate ships or moonscapes encouraging the creation of both real and make-believe worlds. In these worlds children adopt characters and create personalities in which they can test out behaviors and interactions. (sound familiar)
We know roleplaying is fun, educational and entertaining. So, how can we further foster this roleplaying in our children so it thrives beyond preschool?
One of the greatest challenges I had when I was trying to pass my love of RPGs along to my kids was finding a way to make the experience accessible and relevant to them. It was much harder than I thought it would be, because I approached the whole thing as a guy who had been doing it for almost 25 years. (Sweet Jeebus. Twenty-Five years. Allow me to fall down while that sinks in.) If I'd had something like this column to guide me, I may have been able to add two more pencil-and-paper gamers to the world, and wouldn't end this post with a lament.