We played a rousing game of Mouse Trap today. I told the kids before they started that this would be their first experience with disappointment. I was not disappointed. The problem with games like this is that we are teaching kids that there can only be one winner and everyone else is a loser. Kind of a metaphor for how thing turns out in the adult world sometimes I suppose but anyway maybe I'm just going too deep into a fricken kids game so I'll stop getting all existential about it.
You guys remember that game right? It's that crazy build a trap game. I thought. OK Great! Time to play mouse trap with the kids. It'll be their first time. I haven't played in years. I hope it works as described "Hit the thing and put the man into the can.. that's mouse trap." instead of what I remember "fight with the board, get your fingers cut, put them man into the can.. slam the thing into the thing, watch the cat chase the dog, watch the dog chew up the piece.. and that's mouse trap!"
Today my daughter won our first ever game of Mouse Trap. Let's backup though. From the moment I unwrapped that silicon wrapping around the boardgame box I knew we'd be in for some family memories. What did my kids learn today? Well they learned how to wait their turn and how to properly roll dice. They learned how to be good sports. Faelen my son is still working on that as he cried when he was first to be captured but then seemed to be over it when I was captured next. It was I who captured him and my daughter captured me. Then to end the game Madison caught Mel and Bailey in the trap (Mel and Bailey were playing together). So my daughter won. The game actually worked. Everyone had a good time.
What does this have to do with DnD? Well a lot. I am teaching our kids how to use problem solving skills, how to use the board to their advantage, how to socialize, and how to avoid traps. I for one think mouse trap is an excellent teaching aid with exploring a dungeon (the maze) and avoiding danger (cat, dog, trap, etc) and trying to get out of the dungeon in one piece!
What's my advice? Play games with your kids when they are young. Hopefully they will want to play with you in the future when they are older and have learned magic missile.
Some quick tips:
1. Skip some of the rules if they seem to cumbersome so that the kids have fun.
2. Make sure that everyone gets a turn to shine!
3. Ham it up. Play the mouse! Be the cheese!
4. Try to console your kids as much as possible when they lose but do not baby them
5. Laugh. Laughter is always good.
6. When they get caught tell them that you'll probably be next.
7. Be next to get caught.
8. Celebrate the win.
9. Tell everyone what a great job they did!
10. Laugh some more!