Associated with Hortus botanicus Leiden

Child's play

Through BigPicnic co-creation sessions, Hortus botanicus Leiden learned that games are a wonderful way to connect people, young and old, and from all kind of backgrounds. Following this conclusion we are preparing games for our exhibition next year. Table games, games as a giveaway, and activity games. All related to food, plants and food security. One of the games was tested during an event organised in the garden for the “Wonderment Passport” project. Children played a test version of hopscotch.

The Wonderment Passport project was one of the two finalists in the Netherlands Museums Education prize, a prestigious award that is given by the Netherlands Museum Association.  The jury’s visit on 26th  September was one big party, and teachers, children, the alderman and representatives from partner organizations all came along. About 40 children took part in a treasure hunt in the Hortus, which also involved testing an educational game about food. We are happy to announce that the Wonderment Passpor won!

The Hortus botanicus Leiden is a partner in the Wonderment Passport project, together with 11 other institutions working on science, sustainability, nature and technology in the Leiden region. This pass, which carries an RFID chip, is given to schoolchildren. After taking part in an activity, in the Hortus for instance, they can scan the pass and 'liberate' an island in the digital Wonderment World. 

The event was a great occasion to test the games we are preparing for the BigPicnic exhibit. Four games are currently being developed, following co-creative meetings last year in which we discovered that play is an excellent force for education and for creating interpersonal bonds. In one case, it turned out that a former refugee from the Sudan used to play exactly the same game as the older Hortus volunteers when she was a little girl: knuckle bones. Grandparents and grandchildren have a tremendous fun as well as teaching each other a lot by playing games together. 

The children who visited the Hortus during the jury’s visit played a prototype hopscotch, thought up by the 18-year-old graphic design student Twyla. The children were observed as they played, using the Team Based Inquiry (TBI) method.

The children played a prototype-hopscotch.

The next test version of the game will involve floor stickers on the Tropical Terrace, so that visitors and school groups can continue to try it out during the winter months. The intention is that the hopscotch stimulates play without further explanation, and teaches children about plants and food.