Tuathal, my eldest son, is 15 and has taken to the SCA like a duck to water. He will cheerfully watch fighting, courts and soak in the atmosphere of a group A&S session (without feeling much inclined to do anything A&Sy yet) and is extremely happy to get stuck in with archery and fencing whenever he can. He needs to be prodded to help out sometimes, but it is genuinely from an innate obliviousness and a tendency to try to sit in the background than from any conscious avoidance, he sets to work cheerfully enough when he’s given instructions.
Art is 10, and is not so sure. He says he prefers modern things, he’s not mad about wearing garb and he doesn’t like sitting still and watching stuff. There are not many kids involved in the SCA in Lough Devnaree and he’s too young to learn to fight. Archery he loves and if he gets to help out he is a very happy bunny indeed, but leaving him without occupation (while I’m helping out in the kitchen, for example) leads to the dreaded whine. At home he’s well able to entertain himself, but at events he seems to feel more aimless and lost, especially if there are no other kids.
The last event, Festival of Fools, did wonders to recommend itself to Art. There was a puppet show, pin the tail on the dragon, secret bubbles at feast and the fire poi display. He has stopped being so bolshy about classes after finding out he rather enjoyed the last one he went to (silk painting) . And at Yuletide University he got to do a class on puppetry which he loved. People have been kind to and patient with him and I am very grateful for their assistance and welcome. (And for not killing him 🙂 )
I’ve started planning a box of games and toys that Art can bring with him to amuse himself and to share with other kids. I reckon that well equipped with such things we can make a sort of kids mini event within the events we go to – Art has a natural desire to help out and be social, getting games going with newcomers would suit him down to the ground, and where he’s at an event with Gytha’s girls, well they’re a kids club already 🙂
So far, for the box, I have chalk, marbles (the glass kind, not the proper medieval kind..yet..), some card targets, a soft cloth for a blindfold and I’ve ordered a da Vinci mini catapult kit. I’m going to make up some quoits, and discuss turning some skittles with my dad. I will look for some black and white check cloth to make up a Queek mat and I already have some coloured glass stones for playing with. I want to pick up a set of jacks – I loved jacks as a kid, the more correctly period knucklebones may appeal more to the kids I know though…. I had a look for some Bocce balls.. man those things are expensive, will have to see what I can find over time I think. I’ve looked up some medieval chase games, so I’ll probably print off a booklet for the box. I think I saw some appropriate small puppets in Athlone before Christmas as well, I must wander back over and see if they’re still there.