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You might remember reading about the Dungeons & Dragons after-school club at a Seattle girls middle school earlier this year. Just because school’s out for summer, however, that doesn’t mean that the D&D fun has to stop! Teacher Ethan Schoonover and his camp co-teachers Hadeel al-Massari and Kat Kruger welcomed the girls back to school for an incredible week of RPG-themed activities and, of course, gaming sessions.
Take a look at just some of the fun the girls had in their one-of-a-kind camp, and read on for some of their activities that you can do with your kids at home.
Dungeons and Dragons and Summer Camp
The five-day camp was a full day of games and activities, but with plenty of time to snack, chat, and relax. Each day brought a new and different activity, from painting miniatures to designing characters to a field trip to an archery range.
Scattered throughout the days were D&D sessions in groups of 4-5, lasting about an hour and a half to two hours. Students played the characters they created, role-played, and fought in combat against skeletal wolves and more nasties.
A day of gaming didn’t mean they were glued to their seats for hours, however. The girls’ version of a “How Do You Want to Do This?” often resulted in the entire group jumping up from the table to enthusiastically act out the finishing blow.
Girls were encouraged to read the rules out loud, sometimes encountering new vocabulary they might not be familiar with yet, along with putting those math skills to good practice. Ethan, their teacher and Dungeon Master, is also a master at the “rule of cool,” letting the young players try whatever their imaginations devise but knowing when to set limits when needed. (You can only try to tame a skeletal wolf so many times, after all.)
Now It’s Your Turn
These creative girls aren’t the only kids who can enjoy Dungeons & Dragons over the break! If your kids are bored during the dog days of summer, you can take some suggestions from Ethan, Kat, and the other amazing volunteers with some activities you can do at home.
Kat asked the girls to use the Player’s Handbook to research and summarize a playable race of their choice. Then the girls took turns presenting everything they learned to their fellow campers.
“It really helped them figure out that there were some cool races,” Ethan says. “A bunch of the girls picked gnome once they researched it.”
D&D Paper Smalls
Guest teacher Jen Vaughn worked with the campers to make colorful paper “smalls” for their characters based on templates that she put together, and Ethan suggests it as another fun D&D-themed activity to do at home together.
Download the instruction sheet and paper smalls template to get started! You can also print an example of Jen’s character, Riot from d20 Dames, for ideas and inspiration. These amazing dolls can be minis in your home game or a paper doll to design armor and items for time and time again.
“I love swooping into a classroom and causing a giddy mess with the kids,” Jen tells Geek & Sundry. “Having taught kids’ workshops on comics and character creation in the past, a big hurdle was always ‘making it look right’ (i.e. like a realistic human) in the kids’ minds.
“By providing them with blank humanoid bases for their paper smalls (you know, like paper dolls, except dolls are ALWAYS HAUNTED), they could shake off some of that concern and concentrate on making clothes, hair and weapons and tools.”
— Jen Vaughn @deadlines (@TheJenya) July 25, 2018
It’s obvious both the students and staff had a blast during the week, and hopefully you’ll be inspired by this amazing camp to share a little bit of D&D fun with the kiddos in your life. (Or by yourself! You know you want to make a paper small.)
MORE RPG AWESOMENESS!
- Tales From the Loop is heading to the small screen.
- These pop culture characters can be inspirations for creating a wonderful wizard in D&D.
- Here’s a crash course in picking the perfect mini.
Photos: Kelly Knox and Ethan Schoonover
Special thanks to Jen Vaughn for providing the paper templates.