While I teach games in the classroom I also have a 5-year-old of my own. I’ve been wanting to try to get a 5-year-old into RPGs, and I found the game that does it. Amazing Tales is 14 pages of pure awesome that allows someone to play a small RPG with a little child. In less than an hour, we designed a fairy (and fairy culture), drew her pictures, created a witch swamp, and saved baby owls from a witch by turning her from a bad witch into a good witch. It’s that easy of a system and amazing to introduce little children to RPGs.
I highly recommend trying using the layout for the Into the Woods starting story. It’s easy to follow and has a lot of great adventure hooks for children. Already my daughter wants to go around to the other witch swamps (her creation) and turn them also into good witches. It’s a great intro to games and is easily played in 45 minutes which is about the limit of attention span that you can get a 5-year-old to stay put for.
For those who don’t play RPGS I highly recommend reading the tips part, they are great role play tips for how to keep a story moving and to help students understand that when they fail or something bad happens it’s not the end. It explains well that conflict is part of a good story and gives ideas on how students can think of ways overcome obstacles that are not through fighting.
Go to the link below to read and try out the game yourself:
Running a game in the Classroom:
As for games in the classroom if you were to run this with littles that would be challenging. I think you can get everyone in a class creating characters around the same time, but I would not know a really good way to play other than in small groups. I think it could be played like a station rotation or maybe an after school meeting. However, it does need a GM and that GM does need to know how to story tell in a way appropriate to allow little ones to interact, but also fail sometimes so they learn how to recover from mistakes. The rules are easy enough that you can probably train students to be a GM even in younger grades. However, I think you would need older students like 7 or 8.
Overall though as an RPG the game is great and take it from experience 5-year-olds can play. They play well, make great stories and want to play again.