Green games: learning about nature through play

Posted November 15th, 2011 by Jessica Haney in Green

For “living Green” to stick with kids for the long haul, it’s got to be built on a foundation of respect for nature. Otherwise, what’s the motivation to keep up good habits if seemingly easier alternatives appear?

What better way to get kids geeked about Green than games?

We’ve only made it through an entire game of Wildcraft: An Herbal Adventure Game a few times, but when I got a bee sting yesterday, my son was excited to recall the plants that might help me. The goal of this cooperative game is for all the players to make it back to grandma’s from their mountain hike before dark with their buckets full of huckleberries.

The key is that it doesn’t matter who fills up their buckets: as soon as someone gets to the “top” and fills them up, he or she starts coming down. When that player “meets” the other players on the way down, they all go together sharing the full imaginary buckets.

Along the way, you all meet with small misfortunes: hornet stings, rashes, blisters, hunger, fatigue. These you come down with each time you get a “trouble” card. But have no fear, you get remedies from “plant” cards and your friends can give you a remedy if they have a “cooperation” card.

We’ve learned a lot from this game. Now all I have to do is actually plant some of these lovelies in our garden! Whenever we’ve seen one out in nature or at a nature center, my son is so excited that it came from his game. And yesterday, he found me all the cards that could help with a sting and then copied down all the names. Maybe I’ll actually finally go place that order I’ve been thinking about at Mountain Rose Herbs.

We’ve also learned a lot through Bird Bingo, which we bought from the lovely shop at Green Springs Garden Park, and Wildflower Bingo that we played on vacation with his cousin. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I think we’ll finally open Orchard.

And of course, the best games are made up, like a leaf or nature item scavenger hunt. Check out these beauties my son found yesterday, thanks in part to an energetic babysitter.

If you have a Green game suggestion, please share it in the comments!

Jessica Claire Haney — whose foot is recovering nicely, thank you — blogs about living naturally (most of the time) at Crunchy-Chewy Mama.

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