Looking for fun and educational things to do with your kids this summer, or have them do on their own on “inside days?” Here are our 3 favorite web-based games that teach lessons on environmental awareness, climate change, activism and sustainability..! All of this “learning” happens while the kids in your life are having fun and playing a game that doesn’t involve shooting a weapon or capturing aliens! From elementary school kids and pre-teens through teens and grown ups, join us and test drive our favorite online climate change games!
MiniMonos is a virtual world for kids as young as 8 years old that love to play games and love the planet. According to the creators of MiniMonos: “ We created MiniMonos so that children could have a place of their own, a place that allows them to explore and grow without constant pressure to buy stuff. We also wanted them to have a place that embodies core values like sustainability and generosity, without turning those values into a boring lecture.”
Children create monkey avatars who live in tree houses. The monkeys need “caring,” their tree houses need decorating and the neighboring lagoons need to be kept clean! Children make friends with other players and also completes real life and virtual eco-projects, all in the name of fun! MiniMonos provides a safe social networking and gaming site, ala “Club Penguin” but works to integrate real world eco activities, like setting up a school recycling program, with activities in the “virtual world.” The site already boasts over 125,000 users in the “preteen set” from around the world.
Our next suggestion is for the older kids in your life – middle, high school and beyond. Climate Challenge comes to us via the United Kingdom. According to the BBC science and nature home page: The Game’s focus and aims are as follows:
Apart from the primary goal of creating a fun game, Climate Challenge’s producers aimed to:
• give an understanding of some of the causes of climate change, particularly those related to carbon dioxide emissions.
• give players an awareness of some of the policy options available to governments.
• give a sense of the challenges facing international climate change negotiators.
Players must respond to catastrophic events caused by climate change as well as natural and man made events, which may or may not be linked to climate change. This aspect of the game is meant to give some idea of what could happen as the Earth’s climate changes and also introduce the unpredictable nature of some natural events.
Let us know what you and (the kids in your life) think; the game is fun for anyone – you don’t need to be a European National to play!
Our 3rd suggestion is called E-mission, a Facebook game that lets the player “fight climate change” by protecting a costal habitat and reducing CO2 emissions in the real world. Players work to “keep their habitat clean,” earn points, get rewards, play with friends and help save the environment! The game has been created by DoSomething.org with support from the US Environmental Protection Agency and Energy Star – the game reminds us of MiniMonos, but for older kids!
Test drive these games, check in with the kids in your life, let us know what you think!