[RPG] How to enjoyably include a 4–5 year old in a D&D 5e game


My eldest daughter is nine, the same age I was when I got into the hobby. With the new edition of D&D out, it seems like too much of a fun co-incidence to give her her first taste of role playing with the starter set.

I have no doubt that if I give her a pregen character, run the game and take care of most of the rules, telling her only the basics as she needs them, she'll have a fun time. But she has a 4.5 year old younger sister who will want to join in as well, and I'd like her to be able to share the fun. The trouble is, I'm not sure how best to include her in the game.

I could give her a character too, and just let her roll some dice from time to time while trying to focus on including her in the storytelling/role-playing elements. But I'm worried her attention span will wander, especially given that D&D is a very combat focussed system.

It has to be D&D (I'm working on something for a written article about this) — so no suggesting I use a simpler, alternative system please. Otherwise, I'm after ideas on how best to help a very young child enjoy the game. It will be just kids, no adult players, and me as the DM. If you don't think it's possible, or may spoil her experience of gaming, just say so — that's a perfectly valid answer in itself.

Update: After your advice, I tried it. Here's what happened.

Best Answer

I'm not familiar with D&D so this will be a system agnostic answer.

What you could do is provide an in-game explanation as to why the character of the youngest daughter sometimes disappears from the game or does strange things. Give her a character with a chaotic neutral allignment and take over some of the narrative aspects of the game for her.

She could even play a pet (maybe she would like being a big cat?) that's not very loyal and tends to runs off on a whim if she hears a mouse rustling somewhere.

Your youngest will be happy to be included as long as her attention span allows her and the older one will get amusement out of your explanations for the little one's actions.

It would of course be ideal if you could just keep both of their attentions as long as possible, but in my experience nothing is guaranteed to hold a 4 year old's attention for an extended period of time.