Seek OUT! was designed with kids top of mind. Below is the way I grouped players when considering play and design decisions.
Which group(s) do you fall into?
Let’s break it down by each group to see how the game Seek OUT! was created for each. While all groups are supported by the parameters of the game across the board I have highlighted where groups will see benefits above and beyond standard board games.
Greatest Benefit to All Players
Portability: Small enough for pocket or purse
Age: Questions and facts geared include older and younger kids
Playing time: variable from 15 minutes during a break to a couple of hours if taken on a hike or vacation
Seek OUT! started with busy families in mind because I am part of a busy family. My husband and I did not have kids until “later in life” so we had lots of years of family-free crazy outdoor adventures. We made a pact when deciding to start a family. This was to ensure we would continue going on wild excursions as a family. Then when our daughter came along despite our best intentions the number of hours we spent outdoors decreased, a lot. I had to work hard to do activities that I loved so much. When I committed to creating a game to help kids get outdoors I recognized that this goal hinged on the entire family making time for nature. So every decision about Seek OUT! always came back to the question “how does this help busy families connect to nature?”
Number of players: making the playability work from 1 player and up was very important.
Versions to play: having a variety in the manner to play keeps the curious kids coming back again and again
I can go on and on on the importance of curiosity and asking questions, especially in children. I feel one of my top goals as a parent (just behind feeding my child) is instilling curiosity in her.
Curious kids need to be able to express and stretch their curiosity even when everyone else has something else to do instead. As a gamer and a curious kid myself, I am always on the lookout for games (especially portable ones) that work if I am solo. A simple notebook and pencil added to Seek OUT! can keep a curious kid solo or in a group occupied noting more questions and creating their own answers.
Portability: smaller is always better when keeping up with a class of kids simultaneously
Age: in a school setting the game can range from k-6
How schoolteachers or camp counselors use Seek OUT! with their groups can vary greatly so the flexibility of the game is crucial. For younger kids, the gaming aspect is useful for teaching children how to stop and observe nature and building scientific investigation skills. As the kids are older the cards become prompts to facilitate observations, questions, hypotheses, recordings, and discussions. They can even be used to facilitate comparisons across multiple school years or kickstarting research projects. Paired with student nature journaling Seek OUT! can dovetail into the Next Generation Science Standards.
Where to play: homeschool can take place anywhere so the game is relevant across the US from cities to the wilderness
Number of players: from 1:1 teaching to homeschool meetups and everywhere in between
Community: homeschoolers can find more positive community connections by sharing with other science-minded players on social with each hashtagged card.
Homeschool parents/teachers and students all have found their own situation that works well for their needs. Here’s a list of all the places you can use Seek OUT! To learn about nature: backyards, front yards, courtyards, community gardens, street plantings/medians, neighborhood parks, vacant weedy lots, urban farm plots, drainage creeks, botanical gardens, outdoor natural history museums, public lands, public campgrounds, rv parks, state/county parks, national parks, wilderness, road trips across the country, and vacations in other countries. Learning can happen anywhere.
Ease of play: quick start instructions
See section on “Curious kids”. I consider myself a good example of both!
Nature lovers, who are also known as “grown-up” curious kids will love the quick start instructions so they can engage their friends and extended families quickly. What better way to enjoy nature together than watching a loved one suddenly “get it”.
Is Seek OUT! for you? YES! Are you ready to Seek OUT!? I certainly am. I can’t wait to see those packs of games all lined up and ready to entice you outdoors.