Wired GeekDad brought this great little game to my attention - The Dungeon Adventure,
a simple dungeon crawling game created by Ben Garvey, and available for $5.99 at kidsdungeonadventure.com
The Dungeon Adventure is a set of guidelines for simple dungeon crawl games. Adults build a dungeon floorplan out of building blocks and stock it with monster and treasure cards, and the young adventurers choose their favorite toys to send into the dungeon to complete the quest. Combat is very simple - there are no attack rolls, players and monsters just roll 1d6 for damage. When a monster runs out of hit points, it's dead, and you can help yourself to the treasure it was guarding.
The PDF set includes a 6-page rulebook, a sheet for tracking heroes and monsters hit points, and a set of monster cards. The monster cards are one of my favorite parts - rather than illustrations, the cards feature colorful pictures of toys (spiders, snakes, dragons, etc.) that kids will love.
My only issue with the game is that, as written, characters can die. This could be troublesome for some young children if they become attached to their heroes. It is easily remedied by allowing the players to drag any mortally wounded heroes back to the "hotel" and heal them there (possibly for a substantial fee).
It's a great little PDF package that can be used as a starting point for many grand adventures, and a good base to build a simple role-playing game on. What happens when the heroes venture into the wilderness? Can they use their accumulated treasure to build a stronghold? What if the monsters surrender and want to join the side of the good guys? The answers to these questions aren't found in The Dungeon Adventure, because the real fun is coming up with them on your own.