Following on our post about digital games for the outdoors, we wanted to mention that a favorite local maker group has a great new mover kit. Technology Will Save Us makes a number of kits, plus hosts great workshops for families around London. (We trialled electronic play dough and little bits, an electrical lego-like toy, at one of their workshops a while back).
The mover kit is particularly interesting because it first engages kids in making a wearable (digital tech that you wear), then by the nature of its function, it motivates kids to get out and move around. Movement triggers light displays from the ‘mover.’ You can order the kit online from their website.
Middle school kids in Nashville Tennessee have been successful in getting new bike infrastructure because of their mapping efforts. Araz Hachadourian, reported in YES! magazine that ‘Nashville Teens Mapped Their Daily Routes—And Got a New Bike Lane as a Result. In Nashville, Tennessee, and Chicago, city planners are responding to demands for better neighborhood mobility and bicycling infrastructure.
Photo by Gabriela Aguirre-Iriarte
And it makes sense that planners would respond more strongly to kids…and I bet they’d respond even more strongly to younger kids who get involved in mapping the needs of their neighbourhoods and towns.
Where’s one place that we have a lot of available flat space? Road surfaces. A village in France is experimenting by putting solar panels on their roads. The solar panels are supposed to be tough enough to drive on. The village experiment will determine how tough these solar panels really are. (reported in Inhabitat). The 1km of road paved with solar panels should power streetlighting for the village.
The road is by a French company called Wattway. The company says:
The world’s 1st ever photovoltaic road surface
Wattway is a patented French innovation that is the fruit of 5 years of research undertaken by Colas, world leader in transport infrastructure, and the INES (French National Institute for Solar Energy).
We picked up a pack of these cards, by EcoAction Games, in central London and the simple pictures could be useful and appealing for children from about 5 to 8 or 10. Younger kids might not be able to play the game in earnest, but the cards are a great tools for talking about energy and the environment.
update for 2017
EcoAction Games has abandoned the name Eco Action Trumps to avoid association with the incoming US President Donald Trump. For just the price of the postage and processing you can get one of these old decks: