For Spring Break 2023, I joined up with a troupe of young artists to explore and create our own Adventures!
Adventure Characters Camp at The Arts Center was 3 days of drawing, sculpting, exploring and playing our own original role playing games. This camp experience has been years in the making! Adventure Characters Camp included lessons designed around core learning standards, handmade workbooks, and integrated math (probability/ statistics) writing (story, game design) and visual arts (illustration, small figure sculpting) education for kids 8 -12.
Students learned about role playing games and how they’re different from other games. We also learned about probability through dice rolling for outcomes.
We created original characters. Students designed characters using a character chart that included aspects of story: what are the character’s unique characteristics, what makes them stronger, and what challenges them? With the opportunity to dive deep into a story-driven narrative, students could become their characters. They could make choices, interact with others, and explore their world, while seeing through the eyes of their characters.
Students also created special items for their characters, and practiced balance in their game crafting. We used the logic that if something is extremely powerful, it should bear a cost that balances its use to make the game play fun and challenging.
On the first day, students tried out their characters and items by exploring a haunted house map created specially for the camp. They took turns moving through the map, exploring items and spaces, and making choices by dice-rolling. They helped each other along with strategy and advice, building trust and friendship among their group.
On day 2, students upgraded their character stats by considering what they needed to be successful in different situations. They also sculpted character pieces in polymer clay and practiced clay building techniques.
Students also started working on their own game maps, choosing to collaborate with each other or work individually. Students developed their own guidelines and goals for playing their maps, and even worked to link their different maps together into one large play space. On the final day of camp, students played their maps, guiding each other through choices and experiences in the worlds they created.
This camp was an incredible opportunity to watch students work together on problem-solving, focus on goals and iterate on writing and visual art to craft entire worlds that others could also experience. This is a camp/ class that will naturally need to change and evolve with each new group – guild! – of students. As we push the boundaries of our imaginations more, we’ll have new worlds to create, share and explore!
Check out the next Adventure Character classes, camps and clubs:
Design and illustrate your own character for a role-playing game. Make a polymer clay minifig that’s ready for any adventure! Thursdays in April, Kids, ages 8+