I think the best part of being a geek is the enthusiasm and excitement of sharing your fandom love with others. We love these fandoms SO MUCH, that we want others to love them and get excited about them too. I mean, isn’t that the purpose behind most, if not all, of our favorite geek conventions across the globe?
This extends, of course, to our children. Spreading the geek love is just part of geek culture, so how do we do this in a kid-friendly way when many fandoms deal with more mature topics? How soon is “too soon” to introduce the barbaric world of Westeros or the complexities of Time and Relative Dimensions in Space?
While I won’t be sitting my toddler down to binge all 6 seasons of Game of Thrones, I’m happy to say I’ve found a few ways to indoctrinate…I mean…share with my fandoms my daughter by subtly incorporating into her everyday play.
1) Bedtime stories: When I was pregnant, I was excited to stumble on My First Fandom books. So far, we have Harry’s Magical Colors, Counting with the Doctor, Can’t Take the Sky, and Federation Alphabet. These fandom-themed books are a kid-friendly way to introduce beloved characters from our favorite fandoms. Baby Lit also has a nice variety of beautifully illustrated children’s books that borrow from more adult literature.
2) Plushy Friends: You’d be amazed at the sheer variety of stuffed animals and plush toys available today. Alice’s, my daughter, favorite plushy toys include the Cheshire Cat, Hedwig the owl, and several dragons. So, instead of a generic stuffed teddy bear, consider a three-headed dog or a hippogriff!
3) Dress-up: What better introduction to cosplay than with a dress-up trunk?! No, your kid won’t be shaping Worbla or experiencing the joys of hot glue gun burns, but you’ll still be able to share the wonder of dressing up in costume to emulate a character. My daughter’s favorite pieces include a yellow yarn Daenerys Targaryen wig (purchased from The Purple Pumpkin Shop) and a BB8 tutu (purchased at Geek Girl Con).
4) Conventions: You may need to tweak the experience a bit, because very few children have patience for panel discussions, but conventions are a great place for kids to really explore the geek world. You might even want to try cosplaying as a family!
5) Learning: A is for “apple,” but it’s also for “Auror.” If you’re teaching the alphabet, you can incorporate words from your favorite fandoms. The same goes for math! If the Doctor has 2 companions, and a Weeping Angel takes 1, how many are left? See?!
This list is still a work in progress, but I’m interested to see how other geek parents have found ways to incorporate their fandoms into their children’s daily lives.