Monday, April 18, 2011

Role-playing with kids part X

Ok, more advice on how to role-play with kids, using my sample-size of one:
Role-playing & collaborative storytelling with Sofi is such a crapshoot. Sometimes, she's incredibly creative. And just recently, on Saturday, we played That's Drama, and it went pretty well, with Hedwig & Sirius Black rescuing the Weasley family from some dark wizards. "That's Drama is the best game ever," Sofia said after. Aw. She couldn't wait to play again.

Then, yesterday,
Me: "Okay, so Hermoine is surrounded by three dark wizards - 'We have you now,' they say."
Sofia (shaking): "Try a different way."
Me: "Too scary? Okay - um - she notices somebody's following her ... she's not sure who it is."
Sofia: "Who is it?"
Me: "It's Draco Malfoy. But Hermoine doesn't know that."
Sofia: "Try a different way."
Me: "Ugh. Okay. Um. Hermoine sneezes. She thinks she's catching a cold."
Sofia: "Try a different way."
Me: "What? Why?"
Sofia: "I don't want her to get a cold."
Me: "Okay, what do you want to happen?"
Sofia: "I don't know."
Me: (Exasperated.) "I have to cook dinner now."
Obviously not her fault, but it burns me out. In hindsight, she wasn't using TADW as it's supposed to be used - you're supposed to use it to stop the game from being ruined, not on a whim - and simply asking her, "Really? It'll ruin the game for you if Hermoine catches a cold?" might have saved things.

What I don't know is how to tap into that incredible creativity consistently - sometimes the muse strikes her, I guess. But usually she's got her internal critic turned to 11.

Something that works sometimes, when she's in "I don't know" mode, is giving her choices, like a Choose Your Own Adventure:
"Well, do you want to fight, do you want to talk, or do you want to run away?"
"Well, do you want to investigate inside, or do you want to go back?"

Another thing that works sometimes is asking her, Otherkindish, "What's something bad that could happen?" If she picks the bad thing it's usually not going to upset her.

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