Educational children’s games have delved into territories such as environmental responsibility before – regular readers may remember our coverage of Play Rethink, for example. Treading the line between entertainment and education can be a tough act to pull off, however. MELTDOWN – a new board game from Germany – innovatively incorporates real ice to demonstrate the plight of polar bears whose habitat is being affected by global warming.
Developed by communications agency Kolle Rebbe for the German children’s science magazine GEOlino, the game requires players to first fill a mould with water and place it in the freezer. When ready, the mould can be tipped out onto the sponge playing board to provide the stepping stones that help a polar bear family get to safety at the center of the board. As the game goes on the ice melts, absorbed by the sponge – highlighting the threat that real polar bears face due to greenhouse gases causing rising temperatures in the Arctic. The video below shows the game in action:
Rather than relying on familiar board game tropes, the creators of MELTDOWN devised their own way to visualize and bring to life an important environmental issue. Are there other ways kids – or adults – can be encouraged to engage with important issues through fun activities?
Spotted by: Raymond Neo