Advice for Newbie with Kids
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Posted by youperguy

I have been GenCant for years, but finally the stars aligned, and I can go to GenCon for the first time. 

In order for the Stars to align, I needed to bring my family. What are the best activities for kids 5, 9, and 12? My wife is also a gamer, so we will take turns with the 5 year old. 

I have tickets for some Kid Zone activities, and we will check out the family fun pavilion. 

But is there anything else for families we should defiantly see?

We will be there only Thursday and Friday. 

Thanks!

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Posted by buffythecatslayer

Advice for attending with kids: Don't. :-)

And tell them to get off my lawn!

Seriously though, there are a large number of vendors that have kid-focused games, spanning the full age range of your kids.  I'm guessing most of them are in the Family Fun Pavilion, but if you have time, look over the vendor list and see if there are any others that have games that look interesting.

Also, if your kids are interested in RPGs, Paizo has their PFS Academy (Pathfinder Society), which is specifically focused on kids, to get them into D&D-style gaming.  There are still tickets available to many of the sessions.  Sadly they don't seem to have a corresponding an academy for Starfinder. 

You can also filter event searches for those focused on 6+, see what's available for the younger kids.

At Lucas Oil Stadium, there is also a Kid Zone; not sure what things they have there.

Good luck shepherding the young'uns around.

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Posted by aldctjoc

Too bad the kids'll miss Sunday. That's when they all get to slay the giant balloon creature, which is actually an official event:


Aside from that: If they get a bit tired of the Con itself, the Zoo is nearby, and there's the Children's Museum a few miles north of the convention Center. That helps. Plus the Circle Center Mall is connected, and it's got a movie theater. 

There are plenty of kids-at-GenCon threads both in this forum and over on Reddit's r/Gencon. They're worth reading. 

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Posted by bakermouse10133

Button collecting, look in the program book (will be near ticket booth at the main entrance to the convention center)
Some of the vendor and other activities hold a button collecting program specific to the kids.

There is usually a lego vendor, you might want to swing by their booth.

Kid zone at lucas oil will be your best bet for a more prolonged thing to do, they will have a game library, craft activities, a face painter, and castle playground. 

 

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Posted by ubermx

Depends on your budget and your kids:


  • There are many activities for younger kids that cost only a couple of tickets.  https://www.gencon.com/events/134668
  • IF you have more to spend and you or your kids have more martial interests I have found these fun - https://www.gencon.com/events/126547
  • I've never played this but if your kids are ready for role playing/LARP this one seems good and you might have your 5 and 9 year old do something together  https://www.gencon.com/events/12686
  • Find the demo games for younger kids, they usually keep the kids busy for a few minutes and its a change of pace if someone is getting bored.

General Tips:

  • Avoid the exhibitor hall if you have your kids with you for the first 15-20 minutes of each day, there is usually a crush of humanity and kids might get lost of the shuffle.
  • If you have a small backpack that can easily hold water or cups, bring it.  Makes having water easy to get and you can use the backpack to hold snacks and food. 
  • The auction or consignment store is fun to check out your kids might like to see the stuff for sale there. 
  • If your kids have ipads/tech bring a portable battery so they don't have dead tablets during down times.  

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Posted by youperguy

Thanks all for the help!

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Posted by whacim

If your kids would like an RPG, Pathfinder typically has some kid specific sessions that my kids really got into.  Even if they are sold out, they have been able to fit my kids into a game.  They are held in the Sagamore room.

If you are staying after the exhibit hall closes, although not kid focused, Werewolf has been my daughter's favorite game since she was eight.  It is an easy game to pick up, and kids can do well at it.

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Posted by jtzell

Try the build a foam weapon sessions. My daughters when they were 8 and 12 loved that, I think they loved ambushing me in the hall with said weapons better though. :)

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Posted by littleanomaly

We're taking the almost-8yo this year. We didn't go last year, but when we got back in 2016 he sat us down for a "serious talk" about how "I'm really, really, really good at waiting in line, walking a lot, staying up late without whining, keeping track of my own stuff, staying with you and not getting lost, and I'm ready for Gencon." He'll be fine, but we're leaving the 5yo with Grandma because she wouldn't make it from the parking spot to the building without acting like she's dying from walking. 

ANYWAY. He's signed up for Cure the Sick Creature, Ultra Sparkle Kitty, Haunted Walking Tour, Pathfinder Academy (uh, my husband signed himself up for this until I told him it was for the under 18 crowd), and Build A Foam Weapon. I figure I can stock up on generic tickets and he can spend his time fighting in the arena. We'll hit the costume contest/parade, and the charity auction. I think he's planning to take a Pokemon deck. The vendor hall takes a solid day to get through and that's not even detailed "look at every single item they have". I found a list of what's being demo'd and marked all of the 6+ and 10+ games (he's fairly experienced for second grade). I'm going to have him take his backpack and load it with snacks and his ipad in case we want to play something and he's just not interested at all. We're not hardcore gamers so we're good with just wandering around and looking at things. We'll probably hit the manga library and definitely the kids zone. He's pretty excited for Hot Box pizza and their amazing breadsticks. He's really easy going though and I can't imagine his sister being Gencon-ready at his age. 

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Posted by gingerjsm

I’m running two games for kids on Thursday and no one has signed up! They are called Dread Kids and they’re great for kids who love to tell stories! I’m worried that the reason no one has signed up is because they’re listed under dog events and not kids events? I don’t know if that has anything to do with it but I’m willing to take anyone who stops by long enough to play!

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Posted by adamw

I started taking my 3 girls when they were each 9-10 years old. They are in their early 20's now (all still attend) and they still remember those first years. Very fun just to enjoy the atmosphere, but do try out a few events that are suited for kids (search the event listing). Those can be memorable as well!

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Posted by kc2dpt

The button quest thing was a big hit with my then 9-yr-old. There’s also an arcade which my friend’s kids enjoyed. My kid is a gamer so she did what we do: demo games and shop for geeky swag. My biggest concern was managing her energy level. So we took a few more breaks, made sure we ate well, took more time walking from A to B.

Also, we made puppets. That was a blast.

Still leaving my 7-yr-old with the grandparents this year. My main concern is her stamina. 4 days of gencon is exhausing. Next year maybe we’ll bring her.

Maybe check out the games library? Have the kids pick out something new for you to play as a family? Could be fun.

Pro-tip: do carry snacks and don’t go out for meals at mealtime. The lines for every restaurant and every food truck will be insane at noon and 6pm. Try to shift your meals to less popular times.

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