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“How Rachel Started Caring About Insects and Birds”

Rachel loved stories about wildlife from a young age, but it wasn't until she started playing some video games where you play as creatures or you help wild creatures that she really started to become obsessed with all things wild.
 

Outcome
Creating bird (and insect) friendly habitats in the garden.


This outcome arises from the following 6 milestones over the span of 6 years, from 6 - 12 years-old:

DetailsPathway Details

Name: Rachel Smyth
Stage of Life: 6 - 12 years-old
Genres: Action, Adventure, Collecting, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Platform, Puzzle, Simulation, Strategy and Traversal
Platforms: Nintendo Switch and PC
 

 

Discovering How Wildlife Moves

Age: 6-years-old / 01/01/2016 / 6 years ago

Platform: Nintendo Switch

Rachel enjoyed the idea of starting as the smallest of creatures, the flea in the game Fe, but slowly gaining more powers by getting to know all the other animals.

She was particularly taken with how you would sing to the creatures you meet to understand them and gain new abilities. This led to her watching wildlife documentaries, but not so much for the information they offered but because she could hear and try and replicate the animal sounds.

Rachel learned about how different animals communicate, both in the game and the documentaries she watched.

Activities: Rachel found that the following related activities worked alongside playing Fe:

Blue Planet
FILMS AND SERIES


Loving Small Creatures

Age: 6-years-old / 01/01/2016 / 6 years ago

Play Styles: Child Watching Game (Onlooker Play) and Child Helps Parent Play (Associative Play)

Platform: Nintendo Switch

Rachel watched (and helped a little) while I played Pikmin. She would tell me what to get the tiny "Pinksects" (as she would call them) to do and loved the idea that we had an army of tiny creatures at our command.

Rachel went from being a little scared of bugs and insects, to really loving them.

Activities: Rachel found that the following related activities worked alongside playing Pikmin 3:

Made a Bee Hotel
MAKING AND DESIGNING


First Steps In Identification

Age: 8-years-old / 01/01/2018 / 4 years ago

Platform: Nintendo Switch

Rachel was initially reluctant to play Alba as she thought it would be too hard for her. However, the combination of using sound to track down the birds, along with the simple controls and story meant that she was soon on board.

Rachel learned a large number of birds from the game, which she extended by researching which birds existed in the UK, where she lived.

The Feeling Of Being A Bird

Age: 10-years-old / 01/01/2020 / 2 years ago

Play Styles: Child Plays Independently (Independent Play)

Platform: Nintendo Switch

Rachel wanted to "feel the flying" for herself. This manifested in a number of playground games and a few warnings about jumping off walls. We steered her towards feeling the flying in a few video games. Feather was the one that stuck.

Rachel loved the feeling of flying in the game, and translated that to a range of running (arms out) playground games.

Activities: Rachel found that the following related activities worked alongside playing Feather:

Fly and Chase Game
PLAY OUTSIDE


Understanding Habitats

Age: 11-years-old / 01/01/2021 / 23 months ago

Platform: Nintendo Switch

We played Wingspan as a family. It's a game where you create flocks of birds by attracting them to your network of wildlife preserves. Along with having some fun together it revisited the theme of how birds need specific habitats to survive, and how this can be under threat.

Rachel developed her understanding of which birds live in our garden and which we may see on walks in the woods.

Activities: Rachel found that the following related activities worked alongside playing Wingspan:

Collaborating With Nature

Age: 12-years-old / 01/01/2022 / 11 months ago

Platform: PC

Rachel was fascinated by sim games for a while. After playing through games like Sim City she didn't like how you had to work against the environment to thrive. We introduced her to Terra Nil after a friend suggested it.

She was instantly fascinated by the idea that in this game you are working to bring back the wild, not by becoming absent from the planet but by introducing green energy and reinvigorating nature.

Rachel discovered a desire to change the way society thinks about the environment.

Activities: Rachel found that the following related activities worked alongside playing Terra Nil:

Pathway Outcome

The culmination of the milestones in the pathway lead to Rachel creating bird (and insect) friendly habitats in the garden. We have described it as a linear journey, but of course, there is always a fair amount of back and forth between the games they played.

Along with the main outcome Rachel also changed in the following ways:

  • Behaviour: Rachel loved the feeling of flying in the game, and translated that to a range of running (arms out) playground games.
  • Disposition: Rachel went from being a little scared of bugs and insects, to really loving them.
  • Knowledge: Rachel learned about how different animals communicate, both in the game and the documentaries she watched.
  • Knowledge: Rachel learned a large number of birds from the game, which she extended by researching which birds existed in the UK, where she lived.
  • Skill: Rachel developed her understanding of which birds live in our garden and which we may see on walks in the woods.
  • Society: Rachel discovered a desire to change the way society thinks about the environment.

We focus on how games contribute to this outcome, but also include related activities that play a part of this journey:

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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