Here at A Grade Ahead, we’re proud to provide your child with educational enrichment that can push their skills to new heights. Our programs can help students excel! However, there are other fantastic sources of learning that can help kids develop useful skills hiding in places you wouldn’t expect. Unconventional sources of learning can be fun, exciting ways of learning that flex brain muscles and expand minds in new directions. One such unconventional source is the roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons.
At its core, Dungeons & Dragons, or D&D for short, is a fantasy game that challenges players to create characters and explore a world created and controlled by a Game Master (GM). The GM is responsible for overseeing the rules and setting up encounters that could include puzzles, battles with monsters, or persuasive role play between characters. D&D is a game that can be played with a few people or an entire group. Even if you don’t expect it, your child can get a lot of learning done while slaying dragons and having fun with friends! Let’s dive into some of the educational benefits Dungeons & Dragons can provide for your child!
The Benefits of D&D!
The number one goal of school is to learn important educational lessons that will carry a child throughout life. However, developing social skills is another vital part of education, and that is something playing D&D can do in spades. At its core, D&D is a roleplaying game. That means the players have to take on the roles of the character they create and act out interactions with other players and characters introduced throughout the adventure. As a result, players quickly experience a great deal of social interaction that can forge new friendships, strengthen bonds, and better express themselves to others.
Creative Problem Solving
While playing D&D, easy solutions are rare, and there are rarely clear ways of solving any one problem. That’s where creative problem-solving shines. Critical thinking and finding creative solutions to problems are both skills every child should grow up with, and playing D&D is a great way to develop these abilities!
Take this situation for example: your GM tells you your characters are outside a clock tower. Upon going inside, you find a ring of unlit torches and a locked door. Clearly, you need to light some amount of the torches to open the door, but the first problem is that you don’t have any fire! Luckily, your wizard realizes she can cast a fire spell to light the torches.
The first problem is solved, but now what torches need to be lit? A creative thinker asks how many torches there are, to which the GM replies 12. That witty player then realizes that the party must light the torches in the pattern of a time. But what time? Well, the time on the outside of the clock tower, of course! By working together and thinking critically, the party is able to solve the puzzle, open the door, and continue on their journey together!
Organizational skills are often a major key to success, whether it be in school or a future career. Luckily, your child can practice those skills all the time, even while playing D&D! Being a successful player requires careful organizational skills. You need to keep track of your character’s information and skills, any spells you might be able to cast, and equipment your character is carrying. The key you picked up 5 sessions ago isn’t very helpful for the locked door you found if you forgot to write it down or misplaced your inventory sheet. By practicing organizational skills within the game, players can then take these skills outside the game to find success every day.
We’re no strangers to the power of math at A Grade Ahead. Our math programs are always helping students excel in a number of vital areas. If you want to practice the skills you learn in our enrichment classes, playing D&D is a great way to do it! Everything in the game is based around numbers. Convincing a guard to let you pass, trying to hit a dragon with your sword, or even avoiding the fireball that comes back at you are all controlled by a roll of the dice and math!
Let’s say you’re trying to hit that dragon again after you narrowly avoided getting roasted by its fire breath. You would roll your 20-sided dice, add your strength, and try to get higher than the dragon’s tough armor. That quick addition is fantastic practice for any mind, young or old! But wait, the dragon is going to retaliate with its claws, and it hit you! You now have to subtract the damage it did from your total health. More math! The more you play, the more you get to practice this quick mental math that you can carry with you into everyday life.
How to Get Started?
Interested in diving into a world of adventure and learning? Luckily there are plenty of online resources that can help! Check out this great source from the creators of D&D. This resource helps you get started on how to be a good GM when you play with kids. Want to learn more about D&D? Check out these books. Collaboration is the most important part of playing D&D. Sure, the GM is in control of the game and rules, but the players get to influence the world with their actions. At its heart, D&D is a cooperative game where people join together to tell a story and grow bonds as a group. It can be a great way for families to spend time together and practice the skills you learned at school and A Grade Ahead!
D&D is just one of many unconventional places full of learning opportunities! What is your experience with unconventional learning? Let us know below! We love to find ways to raise students to new heights in their educational journey.
Author: Jackie Aukerman, Curriculum Writer at A Grade Ahead