This is an entry for the Make Energy contest. I got the idea for this game by researching what the biggest energy consumers are in the average household, one of them being showers. Many of us are guilty of taking really long showers or running the water when we don't need to. This problem might also be frustrating for parents who have tighter budgets. Therefore, I have designed a cheap and easy-to-make and alter game to promote energy/water education/conservation and help to save money.
Materials Needed (all cheap and easy to get):
- Magnetic timers (waterproof is a good option if used close to water)
- Magnetic hanging whiteboard
Assembling the Materials:
- Purchase as many timers as there are people and write their names on them.
- Print the attached file. If there are more than 3 "competitors," you can either design your own background or create a section off to the side (4th place would be obvious as the player would be the only one off the podium).
- Tape the edges of the paper to the hanging whiteboard.
Playing the Game:
The first "player" to shower will start their timer when they start running the water and will stop it when their shower ends. They will place their timer on the 1st place line. The next player will repeat the process. If the second player has a shorter time than the first, they will take the 1st place and bump the other player down. Otherwise, they take 2nd place. Repeat the process for the remaining players. If parents are playing the game, they can choose to reward the 1st place player and/or give a chore to the last place player, such as cleaning the shower. Parents will need to monitor the game.
Adjusting the Game:
Parents might want to use this game for a short time just to get children to recognize their own resource consumption and pull it out when reminders are needed. In the file, the title of the game can be changed to suit a variety of needs. For example, maybe too much TV is being watched or video games being played (other energy consuming hobbies) and parents want to minimize that time.
If only one youth player is available, parents can have their child beat their previous time in the shower or have a shower time goal. If they are under the time for 3 days in a row, they can be rewarded. An alternative can be to beat the parents at showering faster or using less energy around the home. You can also simply play it with a time limit, and those that beat the limit are rewarded (maybe an extra sticker on a chore chart, extra time added to computer time, etc.).
Jazzing up the Game:
If you want to make the game stand out, use a theme that is enjoyed by the players. Mario Kart is a popular game you can use as a template. The timers could be decorated to look like go-karts, and a race track could be drawn/printed instead. You could create Minecraft characters on a podium of blocks, print family member photos to place on the timers, etc. If parents have trouble with the honour-system of the game, characters could be printed to cover the times until everyone is on the board, and placements can happen at that point. Please comment if you have any other ideas! I'm an educator who enjoys making learning fun for youth, so I really appreciate any feedback :)