You will need
- Scrap paper
- Sticky tape
- Pens or pencils
- A ball of string
- Inflatable ball (optional)
Before you begin
- You’ll need to make a label with the name of a plant or animal on it for each player. It’s OK to use a plant or animal more than once, and it’s up to you whether you copy the example animals we’ve suggested or make up your own.
- Decide how you’ll display the labels while everyone catches, holds, and throws string during the game. You could use sticky notes, stick scrap paper on with sticky tape, or ask everyone to prop their labels up somewhere everyone can see.
- If you’ve got a large group, you may want to split into smaller groups for this game.
Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional coronavirus-related controls to think about may include:
- Set up a hand washing station that you can use throughout the session.
- Make sure people wash their hands before the game and again straight afterwards.
- Make sure everyone stays a safe distance apart at all times, including when they’re in the circle.
Play the game
- Everyone should sit in a circle.
- The person leading the game should give everyone a label and tell them how to display them.
- The person leading the game should explain that the group now represents an ecosystem – a community of living things.
- Everyone should go around the circle and read out their plant or animal. The person leading the game should make sure that everyone knows what the plants and animals are.
- The person leading the game should give someone the ball of string.
- The person with the ball of string should look around the circle and find something they think they’re connected to, for example, something they’d eat (or be eaten by!) or a place they’d live.
- The player with the string should hold onto the end of the string, throw the rest of the ball of string to the player they’re connected to, and explain how they’re connected.
- This player with the string should repeat steps six and seven. They should make sure they keep holding onto the string when they throw the rest of the. ball of string to the next person in the circle.
- Everyone should continue making connections and throwing the ball of string around until everyone is connected at least once.
- Everyone should talk about how the connections shows how all of the different plants and animals are connected to each other.
- The person leading the game should choose one or two strings. They should carefully cut these strings with scissors and explain that this represents something being removed from the environment.
- Everyone should talk about how cutting one or two strings affects other parts of the web.
- The person leading the game should help everyone understand that this shows why all sorts of life is really important. This variety of life is called biodiversity – WWF talk about biodiversity as ‘the magic ingredient that enables the world to work smoothly’.
- The person leading the game should explain that humans are part of this web of life – we need biodiversity to survive.
- The person leading the game could show everyone Our Planet’s video about biodiversity. Who better to explain it than David Attenborough?
Biodiversity is important to help the world run smoothly. Can anyone remember what biodiversity means? People might remember that it’s all about variety, or that it’s a magic ingredient that helps the world to work smoothly.
How does biodiversity make people feel? Maybe some people are happy that they can enjoy nature, surprised at how much humans depend on nature, or worried that biodiversity might continue to decrease.
- Active games
The game area should be free of hazards. Explain the rules of the game clearly and have a clear way to communicate that the game must stop when needed.
Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using scissors. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.