Long before Stranger Things, children (and adults!) have been getting together and playing Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) as a way to expand their creativity and explore fantastical worlds. It’s a great game for children to get to know one another, work together, and tell stories that can last hours, days, and even months. Many educators have started teaching and running Dungeons and Dragons games for kids online and in-person. You can find these on Sawyer

If your child has a big imagination, loves fantasy stories, and is looking for something fun and new to try, Dungeons and Dragons might be for them! In this guide, we’ve outlined some information about Dungeons and Dragons including how to play and the age rating as well as the benefits of D&D for kids. You can also download our character sheet template for your child to use when they create their first character!

What is Dungeons and Dragons?

Dungeons and Dragons was created in 1974 by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. It is a collaborative role-playing game in which players work together to accomplish a mission. The group of players is often called a party. The party goes through the story solving problems, gathering tools, treasure, and weapons, and increasing their experience points so they can become more powerful. 

How to play Dungeons and Dragons

Before the party “departs” for their mission, each player needs to create their own character. They should use a character sheet to record important information like their name, ability scores (which can be determined by rolling the dice), the species (human, elf, etc), character class (also called occupation), alignment (moral code), and more. 

There is also a Dungeon Master (DM) who acts as the leader and the storyteller for the party. They take the party through the adventure. Some DMs write their own adventures, but many use the pre-written ones that can be found online or in a Dungeons and Dragons game. They also describe the other interactions that the party encounters with monsters and other elements. Then, the party decides what to do in these situations and the DM rolls the dice to see how well they fare.

Photo of D&D for kids
Photo courtesy of Role to Play Games

D&D for kids

So, is D&D for kids? Definitely! The Dungeons and Dragons age rating is 6 years old and older. If your children are on the younger side, it might be helpful for you, another adult, an educator, or an older child to act as the Dungeon Master to help the party and the mission move along efficiently. In addition, when you play D&D with younger children, it might be best to keep the adventure to an hour or two hours max because they have shorter attention spans.

If your children are pre-teens or teenagers, you can let them lead the way and enjoy the independence. Dungeons and Dragons is an incredibly social game and the players become very close very quickly because they are collaborating to accomplish goals.

Benefits of Dungeons and Dragons

Children of all ages can gain a lot from playing Dungeons and Dragons both in the classroom and outside of it. In fact, students from a Dungeons and Dragons club in a Texas high school scored higher than their peers on their standardized tests. Here are some of the many benefits of Dungeons and Dragons.

Increased storytelling skills

If your child loves playing dress up and make believe, reading and writing stories, watching movies, and participating in performing arts, Dungeons and Dragons would be a great game for them to continue to unlock those storytelling skills. As they create their character, go through the mission, battle obstacles, and collaborate with their team, they will get to flex their storytelling muscles.

Better collaborative problem solving

There can be a lot of disagreements around the D&D table, but a strong party works together to solve these problems as a team. This collaborative problem solving can help your child in their daily life as they work in group projects at school, play team sports, and even interact with their siblings at home.

Photo of Dungeons & Dragons
Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Game Lab

Stronger empathy

Playing as a different species, going through battles outside of real life, and meeting all new kinds of people will help your child develop a stronger sense of empathy both around and outside of the D&D table. Plus, their interactions with their teammates, potentially needing to sacrifice experience or hit points to help the party move forward, will help them develop this important feeling.

Improved listening skills

Dungeons and Dragons games move quickly and a lot of information gets shared verbally. Children who play D&D need to remember key details and stay organized throughout the adventure. It can be the difference between life and death for the party!

Extra math practice

Dungeons and Dragons is played with a 20-sided dice. Some plays require multiple rolls, which means the players might need to do some addition and subtraction as well as multiplication. That means that as children have fun and explore a new world, they also get to practice their math skills and increase their abilities. Looking for more fun math games for kids? Check out our list!

We hope this article has inspired you to sign your child up for a Dungeons and Dragons game this school year. You can find both in-person and online D&D games for kids from the best educators in the country on Sawyer. Happy adventuring!

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