Magic (tm) as a parenting toolNo, sorry to say, I have not found a spell that will make your children clean their rooms. (By the way, Jedi mind tricks don't work on kids either). I'm talking about the collectible card game, Magic The Gathering .
The Dungeon Master and I had been playing Magic since Limited (though we started collecting cards with Unlimited) and when we started having kids, we had to put the cards away most of the time, for a while. But not completely. We started the kids on the game early, and you could say they've grown up on the game every bit as much as Godzilla and Star Trek. I've found playing Magic with your kids has a slew of benefits:
The best part of playing is playing together We all know that, and Magic is more interesting than Sorry and less protracted than Monopoly.
It encourages literacy and math skills You can't really play without some basic math and reading skills. A custom built deck was the reward we gave each of our kids for gaining these skills. I think this is great incentive for any kid that learns math and reading typically. Aided play seems to have some potential for the kid with learning challenges.
It's face to face social In a world where such connections are decreasing, this is golden. Our kids don't play Magic online, and I hope as adults they chose the local comic store to that.
It makes gift giving easy Kid having a birthday? Everyone gets him Magic booster packs? Great! Of course that also makes it easier when my kids' friends play Magic, too.
They want to earn cards New expansion? Buy a bunch of packs, and watch your kids clamour to do chores for you. When New Phyrexia came out, I didn't fold laundry for three weeks.
It keeps them busy As your kids become teenagers, you'll be thrilled that they're hunched over a table in a smelly comic store back room instead of out drinking, experimenting with drugs, and sleeping around.
You will never run out of things to talk to your kids about Ever. Trust me on this.