The Ideal Way to Introduce Your Children to Star Wars
First you have to love Star Wars yourself. Okay, okay, you don’t have to, but I assume you do if you’re looking to introduce your children to Star Wars. I have loved Star Wars since I was 15 years old, and my children have grown up in a household where Star Wars is a ubiquitous presence. There has never been a time in either of my sons’ lives where they did not know who Leia or Anakin was, and they have strong opinions about the sequels, which came out when they were old enough to both watch and dissect them (The Force Awakens was my younger son’s first movie ever in a theater). What I’m saying is I have a little experience both in loving Star Wars and in introducing my kids to Star Wars, and I am going to lay out what I think is the ideal way to introduce your children to Star Wars.
There isn’t actually a wrong way to do this, and you can go out of order! This plan will take you from (pre-)birth to age 15, but you can jump in wherever you and your child(ren) are at! Again: there is no wrong way to introduce your children to Star Wars. I promise. (After all, I watched a taped-off-TV video of The Empire Strikes Back in 1993 with no previous Star Wars knowledge and I turned out okay!) But you’re here for advice, so here’s mine!
Start with music. When I was pregnant with my older son, Sam, he used to go absolutely bananas — kicking and flipping around in his uterine bacta tank — whenever I watched a Star War or listened to any of the John Williams scores. Whether you birth your children or not, and regardless of how old they are, the music is a wonderful way into the world of Star Wars.
Then, of course, there’s the movies. The first five theatrical releases (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, The Return of the Jedi, The Phantom Menace, and Attack of the Clones) were rated PG, and every movie since (The Revenge of the Sith, The Force Awakens, Rogue One, The Last Jedi, Solo, and The Rise of Skywalker) has been rated PG-13. However, those are guidelines for admittance to movie theaters, and you can decide what to let your children watch, and when!
My kids have seen every Star Wars movie, starting with the first six, basically from birth. I was very worried that toddler Sam would react badly to his favorite guy Anakin becoming Darth Vader, but he took it in stride, deliberately ignoring the movie during the climactic fight between Anakin and Obi-Wan and later working it out on his own while playing with his Anakin LEGO minifigure.
And then he went as Anakin (and/or Luke, and/or any Jedi) for Halloween. I made his costume, but there are plenty of options for buying Jedi robes! This one has a huge range of sizes!
The various cartoons are, by their nature, appealing to children of all ages. Start with The Clone Wars, then move on to Rebels. Star Wars Resistance didn’t do it for me, but your kids might love it, and it’s the most kid-friendly of the lot. And there are tons of cute shorts on Disney+ to round out your Star Wars viewing. (N.B. The new Star Wars: Visions is aimed a bit older, and plays with various anime styles.)
We also let Sam play the LEGO Star Wars video games from a very young age. Your mileage may vary on this, but we found that it helped him understand the stories and process the violence to play a version where characters “die” by falling apart into their LEGO components. Eventually he graduated (as it were) to Star Wars: Battlefront and Jedi: Fallen Order, but LEGO Star Wars was the gateway!
There are tons of other licensed Star Wars games and toys, of course. Angry Birds, Roblox, Minecraft, The Sims, and Disney Infinity all have video and/or mobile games. There’s Star Wars Monopoly, chess, and pinball. Hasbro still makes the 3 3/4 inch action figures that have been available since 1977. And of course, there’s LEGO. Sam’s honorary uncle has gotten him a Star Wars LEGO Advent calendar every year since he was too small to build it.
Bring a galaxy far, far away into your home. Sam had a Pottery Barn Kids Anywhere Chair with an R2D2 cover that he used every day. They don’t have that exact version anymore (though they have loads of other options) but they do have this incredible R2D2 beanbag chair:
(Does it come in adult size?)
Sam had cowboy bedding, but these Star Wars sheets are pretty appealing!
Again I ask: does it come in grownup size? My bed is a queen but I like a king-size quilt, okay?
Somewhere along the way, Sam learned to read and opened up a whole new galaxy, as it were. He devoured the Jedi Academy series, and would have loved A Jedi You Will Be if it had existed yet.
You didn’t think I’d forget the new, canon Star Wars books, did you? Jaime already has you covered on those, but here are a few not included in her list:
The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy tells the story of Gen X’s favorite Star War, A New Hope.
The Mandalorian Junior Novel introduces kids to the world of the hit Disney+ series.
The Prequel Trilogy Graphic Novel does just what it says on the box.
Alex Segura’s Poe Dameron: Free Fall is perfect for teens who want more of their favorite trigger-happy flyboy from the sequels.
And if you’re looking to dive into the High Republic, there’s The High Republic Free Digital Sampler to give you a start.
Sam is as old now as I was when I first discovered Star Wars. He’s been immersed in it his entire life. We don’t live and breathe Star Wars, no matter what it might seem like based on this article…but we do have Star Wars ringtones for the entire family.