Having recently announced we were to run a series of games based sessions with the Breeze team in Leeds, here's where you'll find out exactly what we've been up to each week and some of the reactions from the children and the staff alike...
#BreezeGames and Financial Literacy
The idea is to use and create some games and activities that introduced some basic financial literacy skills, particularly aimed at engaging and educating a group of 8 to 13 yr olds with varying abilities in this area.
The activities are part of a drop-in evening session at one of the many local community centres where Breeze Leeds run regular events for the age group in order to engage them in fun activities outside of school, and introduce them to new ideas and inspirations whilst developing key knowledge and life skills too.
I love seeing kids being able to make their own choices and take their own risks playing these games. Having fun whilst learning - isn't that a youth workers dream?!
Suzi - Breeze Support Worker
Financial literacy isn't just about about adding and subtracting amounts of money. Of course that's the important basic, and for many, the key area to work on. Confidence in knowing what you have, appreciating what something costs and most definitely knowing you've got the right change back from the shop-keeper!
Beyond that though, are other skills such as worth and negotiation. Understanding the value of something rather than just the cost is a crucial skill. Not just 'is it worth buying', but, 'is it worth buying now'! Clever negotiation and appreciation of value are the higher level skills we want to be able to explore too. Often in games, just as in life, good money management and communication is about getting a bargain... and that's where all the fun is!
What to do then? (and what not to do!)
As always the first thing is it has to be attractive, interesting... fun! You can have the best resources in the world when it comes to teaching, but if it doesn't look good and be quickly put to use, you're going to struggle! Then it has to be appropriate.
I thought it was amazing because it was a bit like trading cards - they look cool!
ZacB - 9 yrs old
Of course there are plenty of board and card games out there that blatantly involve the use of money, some very well known. Before you ask, we're talking more Monopoly-esque, rather than Poker or Roulette! It's easy to work out why the gambling games may not be the most appropriate thing here... but hold on, Monopoly isn't really what we're after either, and here's why...
Here you not only have to consider obvious factors such as age and ability, but the number of players, the time you have and the accesibilty of the game, do the players need to understand something new just to be able to start (and if so, can you make that part of the game?!). Now multiply all that by the fact your group is not only varied in these skills but have short attention spans, other things happening in the same room and can come and go as they please... very hard to plan for, so you have to have plan A, B, C ... and be ready to be flexible!
So, we concentrated on using some simple games to start with, not necessarily involving money at all to start with, making sure we grabbed the attention and laid the foundation for more to follow. Some games had money / treasure as part of the game, other times we added a financial element to a game that didn't have one. Sometimes it wass just about value and risk.
Have a look at what we've been playing below...
The fun bit!...
Zombie Dice is a simple and accesible little dice game that's quick to play, easy to understand and all about risk management. This is a great game to get started with and has become a firm favourite at every session, perfect to warm up or cool down with!
My favourite game is Zombie Dice. It makes me a bit sad when I am risking it and get it wrong, but it makes me think more carefully about how to get brains!
Jack - 9 yrs old
The theme is perfect for gaining the interest of this age group, so engagement is really easy. Each player simply has to roll dice and collect brains (it's a zombie game what did you expect?!) After each 3 dice rolled each player must decide whether to stick and keep the brains (points) they have or risk losing them if further dice don't go their way.
Simple, but amazing how it can help to develop a keener sense of risk and probability in younger minds, andbegin to quuestion the value of their short term desires against what is best in the long run!
Monster Maths and Mathical Creatures
Monster Maths (above) and Mathical Creatures below are both simple card games from Mathstraks Games, designed by a pprimary school teacher to help with maths. Neither have money or risk as a mechanic, so we brought some play coins and a few rule changes...
The cards in Monster Maths were perfect to associated with coins - with the numbers you have to make being 10, 20, 50 and 100. Normally players use random number cards to create a sum to equal one of these target numbers and get a part oof the monster towards creating a whole monster. We simply rewarded them with the equivalent amount of money for their pot as well, whilst giving them the option of spending money on more number cards to help make the task easier, perhaps! They had to decide whether it was worth spending money on cards, or even duplicate bbody parts, to make more before someone finished a monster and we found out who had the most money.
We messed with Mathical Creatures a bit more! Rather than making sums to match and collect different value creatures, we gave them each an amount of money to spend. Each time they 'bought' a monster they would have to perform the money transaction and get their change, but more tactically, try and buy a team of creatures to help them win in a final battle against other teams of creatures, where the higher your monster in each battle the more money you could earn / win.
This one became very tactical and after the first game, players were much more thoughtful about how they spent their money!
I thought the game was very interesting, I definitely enjoyed playing it! I love games that make you think and are based largely on logic and tactics. I also think they're great to help kid's maths skills.
Sky - volunteer support worker
It's Alive is a game that's been out of print for a few years now, but we use it because it's another one that the kids simply love the look of... and it's a brilliant game about buying, selling and auctioning!
Players have to act as the Mad Scientist while they use their gold and silver coins wisely to try and purchase enough parts to build their 'Frankenstein' monster. You have very little cash and body parts can be cheap and expensive, so thhis one really is about knowing when to buy and sell, but also the worth of selling something at auction, setting the price to make sure you get the most money you can.
A brilliant game that we wish we could get more of!
I loved playing that game (Wildlife Rescue) because it has animals in it... I thought this (It's Alive) was an interesting game because it was gross!!!
Lilly - 9 yrs old
This one is usually for the older players, but taught in the right way we've found that younger players can absolutely love it too.
Again the artwork is immediately engaging, as is the name! It is a bidding game where players simply play cards in secret before daring each other as to how many of the cards on the table they can turn without finding a skull. A couple of very simple but clever rules make this a very strategic and entertaining game of bluff, with lots of tension and laughter. Until of course you find a dreaded skull. Simply another great game for highlighting caution and judgement as valuable skills, and that diving in isn't alwayys the best way forward!
I quite enjoyed the game Skull because it was quite complicated (at first), but once I got used to it, it kept beng fun!
Joe - 12 yrs old
Zeus On The Loose
I like this game because I got to steal Zeus and make money!!!
Oliver - 9 yrs old
There are still several sessions to go on this project and we will be introducing other games such as Incan Gold, an Indiana Jones style treasure finhing game, a BrainBox quiz and a money based leaderboard for an old favourite with a twist - Take It Easy.
So far it's clear the games have left an impression, as you can see from this fantastic quote from one of the team...
It's great to see how confidence increases and the young people get more daring as the games go on! Imagination Gaming brings fun, smiles, independance and spirit to the young people. It's a fab way to learn maths, strategy, tactics and decision making.
Carol - Breeze Support Worker
Clearly we can't wait for the next games session!