Earth Day — Let’s Get Kids to Create Change thru Games
I’m so inspired every time I hear about kids who are making a difference in their communities. Giving back. Giving what they have. Creating change one step at a time. It makes wonder — how do we inspire more children to do the same?
We can lead by example, and we can get them involved in structured activities or groups that make community service their main focus. We can encourage them to find ways to share their talents or passion (music, art, nature, for example) in a way that brings joy to others.
We can also encourage kids to teach others. Many adults have not had as much exposure to environmental topics as kids have today (Earth Day was not always celebrated when I was in school!). It could be very helpful to a community for kids to lead the way when it comes to building awareness about recycling, composting, and reducing carbon footprints.
An easy way to inspire kids to teach others is through games! Kids love playing games. They know that games can teach. And there are tools that make it easy for kids to build their own games. Why not have them create games with a purpose?
The “Games for Change” festival recognizes games that teach to achieve a social mission. For example, “Reach for the Sun” sim game teaches students what plants need to survive (and recently won a best gameplay award). Along the way, kids also become aware of the environmental challenges that plants face. Could your average 10-year-old build a game like this? The good news is that there are programming tools, such as Tynker, that kids can use to create games to communicate important content in a fun and interactive way.
Tynker’s recent blog post showcases a litter sorting game that kids can play or modify with their own ideas. The article also outlines more Earth Day themed game ideas that leverage existing Tynker projects (all kids have to do is create a free Tynker account and they can save and modify the examples to create their own games).
Let’s leverage kids’ interest in games to get them to create change. Earth Day can be the perfect occasion to get them started.