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The Parent’s Guide to Warhammer and Miniatures

Having one or more hobbies is a great way for any child to develop creative, cognitive and social skills – and have fun at the same time! For many kids (and their parents!), painting, building and playing Warhammer or other miniature tabletop games is a great choice of hobby that involves creativity, self-expression, storytelling, logic and math in one immersive package. But, as a parent it can be hard to know where to start. So we created this The Parent’s Guide to Warhammer and Miniatures to help you out.

In this article, we examine Warhammer and miniature tabletop games as a hobby for kids and their parents. We introduce what Warhammer is all about, discuss in ways choosing it as a hobby can help a child thrive and develop, and guide parents new to the game through what’s what in the vast Warhammer franchise.

We also discuss ways in which you can share your hobby with your kid if you’re already into miniature games yourself, and how you can welcome your kid into a hobby you love without preventing them from making it their own thing.

No matter if you’ve just heard about Warhammer for the first time because your kid(s) discovered it in the local hobby store, or you’re a new parent dying to share your favorite hobby with your kid, we hope this article will help you help your kid thrive and grow through playing and hobbying!

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What is Warhammer? (A parent and child perspective)

Warhammer is, for the lack of a better term, a multi-faceted hobby revolving around fantasy and science fiction universes created by the British miniature gaming company Games Workshop.

Games Workshop creates many different types of miniature games within those universes (more on that just below), but no matter what game or specific universe of Warhammer we’re talking about, participating in the Warhammer hobby always lets you engage with the Warhammer universe in the following ways:

  • Fiction and Lore: A big part of the Warhammer hobby is about immersing yourself in the rich fictional universes it contains. Games Workshop has a publishing branch, Black Library, which publishes scores of Warhammer novels and short stories every year about the characters you can meet in Warhammer games. There are books for young readers as well as for adults, with the majority of the books being for young adults or adults.

    If you’re looking for an age-appropriate Warhammer reading experience for younger kids (ages 8 to 12 or thereabouts), the Warhammer Adventures books are a great place to start, and they also exist as audiobooks of a very high quality. In addition to the books, there are also (usually very violent) Warhammer cartoons available on Warhammer TV.

    The best part of the fiction and lore of Warhammer, however, is how much it encourages hobbyists to make up their own stories. Many Warhammer games have campaign systems, where players can play through a story together and expand on the universe through their own imagination, not unlike what many children and adults enjoy doing through role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons.

    The Warhammer IP is mainly split up into two major fictional universes that any parent helping their kid with getting into the hobby should know about:
    • Warhammer 40,000: This universe is by far the most popular, and you’ll run into it in almost any miniature gaming store in the world. It is a dark science fiction universe (meaning that it takes place in the future and is chiefly concerned with advanced technology and exploring outer space, to put it very briefly) set around 40,000 years into the future. In this universe, humankind has spread across the galaxy on thousands of different planets, but many things have gone wrong in the process.

      Humanity has grown highly superstitious and has forgotten much of the science and technology they once knew, and all technology and power is closely controlled by the oppressive, deeply religious and warlike Imperium.

      This Imperium keeps humanity somewhat safe from all the alien and demonic horrors in the galaxy, but it uses most of humanity’s resources on war to do so. Almost all stories told within the Warhammer 40,000 is about this war. Most prominent among these stories are stories of the Space Marines, an army of superhumans in power armour who fight against the Imperium’s enemies, which include demons (called daemons), the insect-like Tyranids, Orks (a space version of the orcs you might know from Lord of the Rings), Aeldari (a space version of elves), the robotic Necrons, and many more. If you’re used to reading science fiction, Warhammer 40,000 might remind you of a weird mix between Dune, Star Wars, Starship Troopers and something resembling Tolkien’s fantasy books -with a heavy side dish of horror.
    • Warhammer: Age of Sigmar: This is the fantasy version of the Warhammer universe, meaning that instead of technology and aliens, it’s about magic and monsters (very simply put!). This universe is made up of 8 different interconnected worlds, one for each type of magic in the game, so there’s Aqshy, realm of Fire, Ghur, Realm of Beasts, Shyish, Realm of Death, and so on. This entire universe was almost entirely lost to the forces of the Chaos Gods just before the main story of the Age of Sigmar universe begins, so it kind of resembles a post-apocalyptic world (meaning that everything is terrible and almost completely destroyed or overrun by evil).

      Then, the God-King Sigmar returned with his superhuman Stormcast Eternals (a kind of fantasy Space Marines), and together with the other forces of Order such as dwarves (called duardin) and Aelves (elves), they’ve started slowly reclaiming their world from Chaos and the other monsters inhabiting them. Age of Sigmar is very violent and scary in its stories, but it’s a bit more heroic and hopeful than Warhammer 40,000. In Warhammer 40,000, the forces of order and humanity are slowly losing the battle against their enemies, but in Age of Sigmar, they’re sort of slowly winning, bit by bit. This doesn’t mean the forces of Order are the “good guys”, though. They’re still pretty brutal and oppressive.

      Age of Sigmar, and its older version called Warhammer Fantasy or the Old World, is full of all the stuff you probably know from fantasy stories and fairy tales: Talking trees, orks, dwarves, elves, trolls, giants, goblins, wizards, talking skeletons and so on, but it has its own unique style and some very interesting backstory to each of the civilisations inhabiting its world.

  • Gaming: The core of the Warhammer hobby is all about playing games on the tabletop, using miniatures and dice. Games Workshop produces plastic miniatures for all its games, and there are games requiring from 40 to 100 miniatures for each player, and games requiring only a few. Here is a very brief description of the different Warhammer games you and your kid might encounter:
    • games set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe:
      • Warhammer 40,000: This game, which bears the name of the universe in which it takes place, is what is called a tabletop wargame: Each player pick a faction from the game, such as Space Marines or Orks, and buys rulebooks and miniatures for that faction. Then, they line up their army of miniatures on one side of a table filled with miniature terrain, and the other player lines up their army on the other side, and then they take turns moving and attacking with their soldiers, vehicles and heroes as they try to score points to win the game. Scoring points can be done through dominating specific points on the game mat or by killing off enemy units by rolling dice against them. It’s all pretty complex, and a game can take up to 3 hours to complete, but it can also be a very rewarding experience, where players feel like they’re enacting huge space battles while also making tactical decisions and outsmarting their opponent. Tournaments for Warhammer 40,000 are held across the world, where adults play games for days against each other and win great prizes. Some of these events are even livestreamed on Warhammer TV or on Twitch or Youtube.

        Full games of Warhammer 40,000 with all the rules for the game in use is mostly suitable for kids age 13 or older with a solid grasp of English (or one of the languages the game has been translated into such as German or Spanish), or who has a parent or a leader in an after school programme who can help them play the game.
      • Kill Team: Kill Team is a smaller version of Warhammer 40,000, where each player only has around 10 miniatures, and it’s about small teams of special forces trying to carry out missions behind enemy lines. Kill Team is much cheaper to play than Warhammer 40,000, and you don’t have to make quite as many complex choices when building your “army”. The rules, however, are still pretty complex. A game of Kill Team can be played in around an hour to an hour and a half, and requires miniatures, dice and tokens that can be found in the various starter set boxes for the game. Kill Team is especially fun if you’re playing the game in your family, since it’s easy to make a team for each familiy member and make small campaigns and tournaments at home – and 10 miniatures is a pretty perfect amount for a good hobby projects of collecting and painting your miniatures.
      • Horus Heresy: This is an advanced version of Warhammer 40,000 that takes place 10,000 years before the main game and involves mostly Space Marines fighting each other in big armies. This is only for teenagers or above who have gotten really into the Warhammer hobby, and some of the miniatures you can buy for the game are cast in resin, which requires the help of a parent to handle and assemble safely.
      • Necromunda: Necromunda is a bit like Kill Team, but you play as a gang in a huge megacity on an Imperial planet. It is almost more of a role-playing game than a tabletop game, with dozens of ways to customize your gang and tell stories about it. Really great for older kids who love painting, modeling and telling stories – but also very dark and gritty.
    • games set in the Warhammer: Age of Sigmar/fantasy universe:
      • Warhammer: Age of Sigmar: Age of Sigmar is the fantasy equivalent of the bit Warhammer 40,000 tabletop wargame. You play as a faction such as the Stormcast Eternals or the goblins of the Gloomspite Gitz, and assemble an army of around 40-100 miniatures (except for the Sons of Behemat faction og giants, which can get away with fielding just a handful of plush toy-sized mega-miniatures) and play tactical wargames on the tabletop against your opponent’s army. Just like Warhammer 40,000, this game has a big community of competitive players around the world who compete in tournaments that are sometimes streamed online with commentary as if they were sports events. The most obvious difference between this and Warhammer 40,000 is that Age of Sigmar is fantasy and much more focused on magic than machine guns and bombs, but it’s also a slightly smaller community that, at least in some areas, will have more “casual” players who are just playing it to have fun, even though the actual competitive community is just as fierce as in its sci-fi counterpart.
      • Warcry: This is the “Kill Team” of Age of Sigmar, and it’s a shorter and more straightforward tabletop game where each player only fields around 10 miniatures. Among all Games Workshop’s miniature tabletop games, Warcry is the most accessible, with rules that are easy to understand, and a focus on hand to hand combat. Most of the factions from the Age of Sigmar tabletop are represented in the game, but it also has many “warbands” available that are unique to the game, and often very imaginative.
      • Warhammer Underworlds: Underworlds is a hybrid of a miniatures game, a board game and a card game. You still pick from a long list of fantasy-themed factions from the Age of Sigmar universe, but the game is played with 3-6 miniatures (or thereabouts) on a hex-tiled board, and each player has a deck of cards they use alongside their miniatures and dice. Underworlds is really fun if you like complex and competitive rules, and it involves less hobbying (painting and customizing miniatures) than any of the other games.
    • In addition to these main games, Games Workshop always has a bunch of other, smaller game systems going at any given time, such as the tiny-scaled Legions Imperialis, the old school fantasy Warhammer: The Old World (which takes place in the universe you or your kid might know from the Total War: Warhammer games), the american football-but-silly-fantasy Blood Bowl game or actual board games such as the Warhammer Quest games.
  • Hobbying: When miniature gaming enthusiasts refer to “hobbying”, they usually mean the creative side of the Warhammer hobby: building and painting miniatures and scenery for their games. This is almost as big a part of the hobby as the gaming, and many Warhammer fans even collect and paint without playing the games very often.

    All Warhammer miniatures, and most miniatures from other companies as well, arrive in bits or organized on plastic grids called sprues, and have to be clipped off, assembled with plastic glue or superglue, and then sprayed with a primer paint and painted with acrylic paints or other paints that take well to the primed plastic surfaces.

    Hobbying can be done on any level a person might enjoy: Most people, kids and adults alike, start out assembling miniatures as the instruction booklet in the box tells them to, and then painting them as well as they can with a few paints they’ve bought. Youtube, and the internet in general, is bursting with video tutorials for how to paint your miniatures, and it isn’t nearly as difficult as, say, drawing realistically on paper with a pencil, since most of the details on the miniatures are sculpted, and you can get great beginner results from just “coloring in” each area of the miniature. My own children (ages 6 to 11) all enjoy painting miniatures, and will sometimes spontaneously sit down and paint for an hour or two with very little assistance.

    As hobbyists practice and improve their skills, new ways of painting and modeling become possible: Perhaps you start combining bits from different miniature sets to create your own versions of miniatures or even model little battle scenes (called “dioramas”) to put on display in a cabinet, or you might try out painting lighting on your miniatures or learning about color theory or how to paint shadows or the tiny pupil in the eyes of your miniatures. While figuring out how to paint miniatures at a basic level only takes a couple of tries, you can keep improving your skills for decades. Painting competitions featuring madly skilled painters, some of which make a living painting miniatures, can be found across the world, with Games Workshop’s “Golden Demon” competitions being some of the most famous.

    No matter what level you’re painting at, all you need is miniatures, clippers, glue, paints, brushes and a cup of water for cleaning your brush between different colours.
  • Community: Miniatures games such as Warhammer are an excellent way to make friends for life. Many of the best Warhammer players and hobbyists of today started their life as hobbyists by sharing a Warhammer starter set with a schoolmate or joining a gaming club at their school or in a local gaming store. Being part og gaming club at an after school programme or something similar is a great way to get started, and many of the friendships in such a group will often carry on into adulthood, just as being part of a sports club would. It’s also a great supplement or alternative to the online gaming communities many gaming-oriented kids enjoy, since it lets you meet up in the physical world while also keeping the excitement of gaming and competing with each other.

    Shy kids or neurodivergent kids often also find socializing around a hobby easier than just hanging out, since the hobby can focus as a sage medium through which they can interact with other kids, while staying “safe” behind their miniatures or within clearly defined gaming ruleset. This obviously goes for adults as well, and the hobby is often also a safe haven for many neurodivergent (and so on) adults who can otherwise find social interactions difficult and stressful – if you start listening to interviews or podcasts about the hobby, you’ll hear endless amounts of testimonies about how the hobby has helped people with this all the way to adulthood.

    Tournaments are also great social gatherings, where the tournaments themselves are often accompanied by painting competitions, talks, workshops and showcases, and people travel across state boundaries and oceans to attend.

Is Warhammer appropriate for kids?

Warhammer as a hobby is definitely safe and appropriate for kids – with a few caveats.

As a general rule, kids can benefit a lot from having a hobby such as the Warhammer hobby or similar miniature gaming hobbies. These include:

  • creating communities around play and creativity with their family and other kids
  • building creative and fine motor skills through hobbying
  • strengthening imagination through storytelling
  • building confidence and resilience by competing with others
  • learning maths, logic and even some computational thinking by playing complex games and investigating rules and game systems
  • training memory and focus by learning about the fictional universes and the game rules
  • learning the value of practice and self-improvement

Some aspects of the hobby aren’t appropriate for all ages, though. Some of these can include:

  • the stories, and some of the miniatures, featuring graphical violence (often cartoony, but still explicit), and, in a few cases, sexually suggestive contents. How big of an issue this is highly depends on your values as a parent and what boundaries you want to set for your children, and most of it can be completely avoided if you are part of the decision process around what parts of the hobby your child has access to. Some factions to avoid for smaller children include:
    • for Warhammer 40,000:
      • Daemons of Chaos (especially Nurgle and Slaanesh miniatures can be quite scary and look unsettling)
      • Chaos Space Marines (not all of them, but especially their daemonic miniatures can look disturbing)
      • Tyranids and Genestealer Cults (scary aliens)
      • most other factions are okay, but will feature many, many weapons, skulls and soldier/military imagery
    • for Age of Sigmar:
      • Daemons of Chaos, Maggotkin of Nurgle, Hedonites of Slaanesh, Chaos content in general
      • Soulblight Gravelords (zombies, vampires, undead in general) and Flesh Eater Courts (cannibalistic ghouls) and Nighthaunt (ghosts)
      • Sons of Behemat and other Destruction forces will often have many trophies from dead humans or even hold humans captive, which can be really disturbing to smaller children
      • otherwise, many faction aren’t too disturbing, but will feature weapons and medieval military imagery and sometimes scary magic effects.
  • both Warhammer 40,000 and Age of Sigmar are designed as universes where there are no “good guys”, and this can get lost in translation when children investigate the games. It can be a good idea to talk to your kid about how Space Marines look really cool, but that they’re part of a regime that’s really oppressing its citizens and is really xenophobic towards peole who they don’t like the look of or distrust because of cultural differences. In some rare cases, this moral grayness of the universes have caused adults and young people with extreme political views to take the fictional universes at face value and use Warhammer to promote, say, fascist-leaning or racist views. This isn’t that different from many gaming communities, however, so it’s just something you have to be aware of as a parent and be open to talking to your kids about if it comes up. Most hobbyists are nice, caring people, though.
  • if your child wants to go to tournaments or competitive gaming clubs to play against adult gamers, you might want to join them the first couple of times. Just like in sports, the jargon around playing competitively can get pretty aggressive and rough, and some adult players will not adjust their playstyle and lingo when playing against a younger player, so you might want to help your child set those boundaries to enjoy the competitive side of the game without hearing too many insults they’re not used to. Like much else on this list, this of course depends completely on the values and approach with which you parent your kids.

Kids above the age of 14 or 15 should be fine with most aspects of the Warhammer hobby, especially if they’re used to science fiction and fantasy, but it can definitely be enjoyed as a gaming and painting hobby for younger kids, especially if they’re sharing their hobby with their family or with a gaming club for kids. Even though the universes of Warhammer can be dark and scary, many kids enjoy the thrills of such universes to a certain degree, and as long as you help them steer away from reading Black Library books for grown-ups (which are often very violent) alone in the dark, they should be fine.

A good comparison for gauging the “scaryness” of Warhammer could be to say that having unrestricted access to Netflix or Youtube will make them encounter things that are far, far more disturbing than what they’ll encounter in miniature form in Warhammer! We just want to emphasize that Warhammer miniatures are a bit scarier than most other toys or games your kid will encounter. Finally, the way a kid is affected by “scary” things can vary wildly from year to year, and even among siblings, so just always make sure your child isn’t overwhelmed by what they’re engaging with.

Tips for getting kids started with miniatures

If your kid is interested in the gaming side of the Warhammer hobby, but you’re not sure if they’ll enjoy committing to collecting a full army, Games Workshop sells a couple of very simple starter set boxes for several of their game systems. These often contain simplified versions of the game’s rules, as well as measuring tools, dice and miniatures for playing simple games for two players. No matter what level of engagement with the hobby your kid ends up with, the starter sets are great for beginners because they contain miniatures that are designed to be easy to assemble (they don’t even require glue!), and the pricing of these boxes also means it’s not that big of a failure if a miniature breaks or your kid decides the hobby isn’t for them right now.

The best Warhammer starter sets currently available are:

Warhammer 40,000: Introductory Set

The Warhammer 40,000 Introductory set is the best place to start if you just want to figure out if the hobby is for your kid and you: It contains miniatures, rules for playing, a game mat, range ruler, dice and tools for assembling and painting the miniatures in the box! You can take the entire journey from unassembled miniatures to your first played game with only the contents of this box, and it’s price of £40 is one of the lowest entry prices into the hobby anywhere if you include the paints and tool/brush. The box doesn’t get you the full rules for Warhammer 40,000, but those are available online here anyway.

Introductory Game Set Warhammer 40k
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The box contains 5 flame-thrower Infernus Marines for the Space Marines faction, and 10 Termagants and a Ripper Swarm for the Tyranids faction. This is only a tiny fraction of the miniatures you’d need to play full games of Warhammer 40,000, but if your kid likes the missions you can play with this box, figure out which faction they liked best, and then you can upgrade them to a Combat Patrol box for that faction (see our Combat Patrol guide here).

With a Combat Patrol box, which contains a couple of units and a leader for a faction, kids can play full games of Warhammer 40,000 against other players with Combat Patrol boxes, without needing to figure out how to combine the best army for that factio

Warhammer: Age of Sigmar Warrior Starter Set

This mini starter set for Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, is just like the Introductory Set for Warhammer 40,000, but without the paints and tools. It contains simple rules, dice, rulers, a game mat and two small armies: a Knight-Arcanum and 5 Vindictors for the Stormcast Eternals faction, as well as a Killa-Boss, a Stab-Grot and 10 Gutrippaz for the Kruleboyz orc faction. This is the box on this list with the lowest price point (£30), so if your already have paints, don’t care about the painting side of things or just like the fantasy setting, this is the box to go for.

Warrior Age of Sigmar Starter Set
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Age of Sigmar doesn’t currently have a “play 1 box against another similar box” system like the Combat Patrol system in Warhammer 40,000, so if you decide to branch out from this box into a full army for one of the factions, consult our Age of Sigmar faction guides for the game here to see what’s good to buy for that faction.

Warcry: Crypt of Blood Starter Set

The Crypt of Blood box for Warcry has everything you need for playing the game, and its miniatures (a vampire team and a Stormcast Eternals team) are of the kind that don’t need glue, so it’s another set that’s great if you just want to get started with playing games. It’s a bit expensive at £65, but it gives the full Warcry experience, unlike some of the other sets on this list which are only good for intro games.

Warhammer Underworlds Starter Set

If your kid is up for tactical challenge rather than a big hobby project, this starter set for Underworlds cost £40 and gives you access to the full Underworlds experience.

Apart from a starter set or some miniatures that your kid likes, you’ll need the following hobby tools to assemble and paint most Warhammer miniatures:

  • a pair of plastic cutters for getting bits off sprues. Games Workshop sells a pair of great, but expensive ones, but alternatives like the ones shown here from Army Painter do a great job as well.
  • plastic glue – Games Workshop sells this, but if you have some Airfix plastic cement lying around from assembling model airplanes as a kid, that’ll work fine as well. Plastic glue sort of fuses two pieces of plastic together, so it can “melt” a miniature’s details if you get too much glue on it, and gluing does produce fairly smelly fumes, so help your kid figure out how to use it the first couple of times. Unlike super glue, it does not glue fingers together too bad, so it is somewhat kid friendly.
  • brushes – anything with a reasonably small brush point will do here. Just don’t buy the tiny detail brushes in Warhammer stores at first! They just slow down painting and get wrecked by being handled by unexperienced hands way too quick anyway. An Army Painter Regiment Brush (pictured below) is affordable and gets the job done for anything but tiny details like eyes.
  • acrylic paints – the Citadel Colour range of paints produced by Games Workshop go great together, and are organized in a painting system that’s really easy to follow. If you spray prime the miniatures white, Citadel Contrast paints can be used to get really good-looking results with very little effort. There are many other miniature paint brands such as Army Painter and Vallejo, and most hobbyists end up using a variety of different brands. Most Citadel paints are fairly easy to was off clothes, but it’s still recommended to use an apron or worn clothes when painting.
  • a palette or a piece of glossy paper for mixing paints. These can be bought in all sorts of art and hobby stores. If you’re not near a hobby store, a one-time-use plastic plate you would use for a picnic can work as well.
  • a cup of water to clean brushes.

How can I support my kid in enjoying Warhammer? The Parent’s Guide to Warhammer Way:

If your kid has taken up the Warhammer hobby, the best thing you can do to support them is to show interest in their project: Ask them what they’re doing, help smaller kids assemble miniatures and mix paints, read rules with them, and so on.

Another thing many kids need help with is keeping focus on a project.

When compared to playing games on your phone or watching tv shows, the Warhammer hobby requires a lot of patience and persistence to get to a rewarding end goal – it’s not exactly a quick dopamine feedback loop like many other modern activities for kids!

As a parent, the best way you can help your kid with their long term hobby goals is to patiently talk to them about the frustration and disappointment they might feel when they’re not achieving results as fast as they would wish, or when they realize their first miniature won’t look as good as the ones on the box the miniatures came in.

I’ve been an art teacher for a couple of years, as well as doing arts and crafts in addition to Warhammer hobbying with my kids, and in my experience, many kids will respond to the challenge of a big hobby project in one of three ways:

  • It’s already finished!” Especially younger kids might just slap some paint in thick blotches on a miniature and call it done before they lose focus and continue to another activity. If your three-year old does this, that’s great! If your ten-year-old does this, you might want to encourage them to go back and put in some more effort, and perhaps offer to paint with them, so they can experience how more effort equals a greater pride in what you’re doing.
  • “This is so ugly/I can’t do it/this is stupid!” This is very common among older kids. As kids grow older, they realize that the world has expectations of them, and they might also be perfectionists or ambitious themselves, and it becomes very easy for them to lose faith in themselves and their ability to improve. They’re used to quick rewards for little effort in video games and the like, and they’ll often need encouragement from you to keep going towards their goals. A classic approach to this is to add a “yet” to their “I can’t do it“, and share stories about things that it took you a long time to learn, or perhaps help them set shorter, more achievable goals.
  • Isn’t this pretty/Doesn’t this look great/What do you think of this?” This last one is the most common one: Many parents praise our kids for doing even the most mundane things when they are toddlers, both because we’re proud parents and because we don’t want them to feel bad, but as they grow older, this can turn into a dependence on validation from others that might take a lot away from the simple enjoyment of being creative. If your kid keeps stopping their activity to check if you think their miniatures look good, try to steer the conversation towards whether they enjoy hobbying. Sentences such as “I’m so happy to see you working so hard on this” or “it looks like you’re having fun” can help build self-worth and confidence around being creative and enjoying oneself in your kid’s mind, and if that succeeds, focus, persistence and concentration will be much easier for them.

Finally: Your kid doesn’t have to finish all their Warhammer projects! Getting distracted and leaving projects behind is perfectly normal for a kid, and not something to be scolded for!

My own kids have Warhammer projects they’ve been working on throughout their childhoods, and sometimes they go a whole year without touching a brush, and that’s fine. If you’re a Warhammer fan yourself, this can be hard to accept, and that’s what we’ll cover in the next section. If this article has been your first encounter with Warhammer, or you’ve gotten here searching for information about a new hobby your kid has gotten into, I hope this article has encouraged you to engage with your kid’s hobby, and I hope it’ll give them great joys and build their creativity, confidence and social skills. If you’re a Warhammer fan yourself, stick around for the last paragraph.

For Warhammer fans: Sharing your hobby with your kids

When you’re a hobbyist (ie. a nerd) and you become a parent, it often seems like the most natural thing in the world to try to get your kids into the same hobby as yourself. I mean, you’re already walking around thinking about army lists and color schemes all day anyway, and it’s creative and fun, so why not see if you can make gaming opponents and hobby buddies out of those little humans in your house while they’re there?

The thing is, trying to “force” a hobby onto someone rarely works out the way you want it to – especially if they’re your offspring. It can get downright problematic if your children end up feeling that showing interest in your hobby is the main way they’ll get your attention or get to spend time with you. That’s actually really unhealthy, and worst case scenario, this can lead to your kids trying too hard to blend in in other social situations as well.

Therefore, I wouldn’t actually recommend directly trying to get your kids into the Warhammer hobby. They absolutely need to feel that hobbying is optional if they want to spend time with you, and that you’re just as happy playing video games, playing football, or digging for ants in the garden with them as long as you get to spend time with them.

In my experience, the actual best way to share your hobby with your kids is just like the way parents have always taught children to read, cook – or even talk or dance! I am, of course, talking about you hobbying yourself in places where your kids are around. Just like children are much more likely to become readers if they see their parents reading rather than watching TV, there’s a good chance that, if you’re painting Space Marines at the kitchen table or rolling dice in the living room with a friend, it’ll only be a few minutes before you can hear little footsteps and a small voice askind “mom/dad, what’s that you’re doing? Can I try?”

It is also really important to let kids hobby their way, rather than your way. Let them play with miniatures you can afford to lose, and break their spears and antennas. Let them field an army of smurfs and gummy bears and rocks they found in the garden. Let them change the rules or the lore.

If you’re lucky, one or more of your kids might end up sharing the Warhammer hobby with you – or maybe they’ll just end up loving games or becoming creative and imaginative, just like you, and that’s just as great. The most important thing is that your kids see you giving yourself time to enjoy being creative and have fun, because that will allow them to do the same.

As an example, my oldest child thinks Warhammer is super stupid, and she doesn’t want to hear about it, but seeing me hobby has gotten her interested in designing games as well as playing Dungeons & Dragons.

Recently, she has gotten into Star Wars The Clone Wars, and that encouraged me to get into the Star Wars Shatterpoint miniatures game, for which she is now my go-to lore expert -something she really enjoys. My middle child just picked up painting Warhammer the other day and has spent hours and hours meticulously painting some 3D printed miniatures, and she wants to be a commision painter – but all that just came out of the blue after a couple of years of only following along from the sidelines.

My youngest is really, really into Warhammer (as well as animals, superheroes, Pokemon, stamps, and all sorts of other things) and has a small Necron kill team that he paints a bit on once every 6 months – he’s 6 years old and can’t sit still for a very long time, but he wants to hear everything new about Warhammer and can recite tons of lore that I forgot I told him about (my middle child is pretty great at this as well).

That is just to say that sharing your hobby can take on many forms, and it’s all great as long as spending time with your kids is the main goal, rather than them becoming like you.