Between school and work, we forget that some players are also parents. But is that really a bad thing? As a parent myself, I don’t think so. There is something special about kids that can help you create worlds, characters, and situations that you may not have thought about before. But how?
Let’s look at the situations first. Sure, some are rather silly, like marshmallow dragons getting stuck in a chocolate fountain that is full of peanut butter. Actually, that sounds tasty. But sometimes, they can give you the next grand adventure in your Fantasy RPG, or an intergalactic battle for your ship to come across in your Sci-Fi RPG. Just listening to their silly stories can often lead to something amazing.
This goes along with situations, but you can also use the games they play as a bases for your worlds as well. Think about it. If you are having trouble creating the world for your game, you can watch your children, or a child you know, build a fort or rocket, or watch them use a broom as a horse, and this will give you some insight to the world they are playing in. Once you see that, listen to how they talk. Certain things will give away the world they are seeing during the game. “Dragon” would indicate a Medieval game, “planets” a space game, and “yee-haw” for a western. Paying closer attention doesn’t sound so bad, when you think about it.
Lastly, we can see who they are in their games. If they are riding a broom, they could be a knight or a king or a magic user. If they are fighting in space, they could be an alien or human in an intergalactic war. Or if they are digging in the yard, they could be an archeologist or pirate looking for treasure. Even their names can give away who their character is and how they behave. In the end, you can get a great idea for a character for you to play, though you may want to change the name of Captain Pink Beard of the good ship, Sparkle Butt. Though, if you like the strange name, keep it. It is a good post starter. When I was a near-parent, I had already scoured for some baby classes near me, because learning for the young begins quite early.
In conclusion, watching the children in your life play can open up many doors that you can use to make your worlds, writing, and characters even more fantastical. Just watch, or better yet, play in their games. After all, their limitless imagination doesn’t last forever. They will grow up and their imaginations will change from dragons and cowboys to how to talk to their crush at lunch. As a parent, or just someone who takes care of children for a living, never give up an opportunity to find large amounts of inspiration for the smallest of sources.