I was pleasantly surprised recently to find a new generation of games emerging in the market. For parents that wish to help their children learn about real and important issues while making it fun there are many board games that encourage eco awareness.
When I was a child I liked Candyland a lot. I also used to play a game that centered around shopping at the mall and a computer voice would announce sales. Hmm…surely we can do better than get our kids hooked on candy and senseless consumerism. Some games in my house now include Scrabble, RISK, Balderdash, Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit, SpongeBob Monopoly, and Cranium. BUT thanks to some very innovative companies we have added some more games to our home entertainment library. Thanks to everyone that sent me games to road test…we have had a blast playing! Here are some of the highlights in eco friendly Board games and entertainment:
Plan Toys Eco Recycling Game – This set includes a dice, a playmat, 4 recycled bins, 4 figures, and 16 pieces of recyclable waste token. A person who has no taken left is the winner. For 1-4 players. Under the Green Concept Design PlanToys selects only eco-friendly materials and manufacturers utilizing a minimal waste concept. PlanToys long-term commitment to social programs promotes healthy child development and environmental protection. All PlanToys are made using chemical free, kiln-dried recycled rubberwood and designed with water based non-toxic colors as accent. A small wooden playthings can produce big change. Through innovation and commitment to design excellence, PlanToys team of child development experts play a critical role in developing their selection of diverse wooden toys.
My kids and I had fun playing this game. Its great for teaching them how they can be a part of the solution.
Xeko – This is a really fun trading cards game that has won many awards. The game teaches kids (and adults) about ecology and endangered species. It is a trading card game with a social conscience and there are a couple different missions available…we have Costa Rica. Game players learn about the complex nature of ecosystems, as they try to save those endangered ecological communities in whatever mission they have. It is difficult to describe the game and it was pretty difficult to learn the game as well. Basically you play cards against each other on a big map of the ecosystem. While I found it to be quite fun I had to play against my husband. It was too advanced for my 7 year old but for kids 10 and older it would probably be a blast. The starter set comes in a lovely box and the cards and board (or map) are really beautiful. Extra cards can be bought to expand the game and the missions can even be combined.
The Yoga Garden Game – This game is adorable! It helps kids learn basic yoga poses and teaches them about plants and animals at the same time. The goal is to plant a flower garden before night falls.
My First 3 Nature Games from Bioviva – This set of 3 games was very age appropriate for my 3 year old. My 7 year old enjoyed them too but got bored quickly. The simple, lively games help young children learn about the amazing animal world, from animal offspring to animal defense mechanisms. Plus, as children play the games, they are developing readiness skills such as visual memory and following directions. Created by environmental scientists to promote understanding of life on earth, the earth-friendly games are printed on recyclable papers using animal-free ink. My daughter especially liked the Who’s Afraid of the Fox game and Hide and Seek Dominoes. It provides us with a fun and educational activity when the two of us are chilling during baby brother’s nap time.
Garden-Opoly – Based on the old favorite Monopoly, in this fun game, each player buys garden favorites, collects Clay Pots and trades them in for Greenhouses. Add aphid infestation, water bills and a dandelion outbreak and it becomes a little more difficult… and a lot more fun! A player may even be elected president of the garden club or find themselves on weeding duty and lose a few turns.
Ocean-Opoly – Buy your favorite sea creatures. Raise the rent by collecting Blocks of Water and trading them in for a Big Fish! Every deed is filled with fun facts.
Farm-Opoly – players increase their profits by collecting acres and trading them in for Big Red Barns. Full of country humor and an occasional fun fact, FARM-OPOLY s a celebration of an All-American way of life. It is all fun and games until you find yourself in hog waller or mucking stalls.
The Wild Seed Game – The goal of the game is to successfully “sprout” and grow. By turning cards, children either advance toward that goal or regress (deer eats the sprout). Fun way to teach basic concepts of food chains, nutrient and light requirements, and other conditions seeds need in order to germinate and thrive. Instructions focus on using four different strategy levels, with each level becoming increasingly challenging. This is the perfect game to bring out when children are sprouting their own sunflower, morning glory, or bean seeds.
Harvest Time – First, gardens are planted. Then everyone rolls the special die. to do the harvesting. The job is to harvest the gardens before Winter comes. Will we get them all? Maybe, if we remember to help each other out. A simple but challenging game for beginners. This is another great game that emphasizes cooperation and not competition.
A Beautiful Place – Another co-operative game! An ecology game for children! Planet Earth can be a beautiful place, shared by all. Sadly, it has been harmed and made ugly in lots of ways. Players work together to restore the beauty. Can they do it before the dark pollution clouds encircle the beautiful place? They have a much better chance if they work together.
All in all there are some wonderfully fun and educational games out there to teach kids about helping the environment, our individual impact, and how to take advantage of all the joy found in nature. I think that natural families will LOVE to have some of these games in their collection so keep that in mind next time you need gift ideas. ;)