A local children’s author’s latest cooperative board game will soon be available for free to some students at Eugene Field Elementary School. Thanks to a Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L) Energizing Our Environment Microgrant, Amy Houts’s upcoming cooperative board game Race to Recycle will be given to each student in preschool and kindergarten at Eugene Field Elementary School, Maryville, Missouri. An additional copy will be available in each of the preschool and kindergarten classrooms as well. Houts said the game will have a do-it-yourself component, which is normal in her cooperative board games, as the pieces all have to be put together before game play begins.
“The game starts after a big outdoor festival takes place, and there’s a lot of trash that needs to be recycled,” Houts said. “The kids can work together in groups of two to four players to move down the board and get all of the recycling picked up.
“The die goes up to three, and when you roll it, you move that amount of spaces on the board and pick up that many bottle cards to put in the recycle bin at the end of the track. If you land on a tile with the recycling symbol on it, you get to put in an extra bottle card, but if you land on the mischievous monkey, you lose one. The goal of the game is to have all of the bottles picked up and put into the recycling bin by the time you reach the end of the track, and if you do, everyone wins, but if you don’t, you have to start from the beginning.”
Most of the board games Houts has put out so far in her career have all been cooperative, rather than competitive. Instead of having one winner, Houts said, the point of a cooperative game is that everyone wins if they work together.
“It teaches cooperation and sharing,” Houts said. “The students can only clean up the park if they work together. The game also helps to develop the students’ counting and fine motor skills. It’s a great game for the students to have fun and learn important lessons.”
With the grant from KCP&L, Houts will provide around 150 total copies of the game to the students and the classrooms. Eugene Field assistant principal Kim Walker said Houts took the lead when it came to applying for the microgrant.
“(Houts) approached me in late July and said there was a grant being offered through KCP&L in an effort to make an environmental difference in the community,” Walker said. “She asked what I thought about applying for the grant to pay to get her upcoming board game in our classrooms and our students’ hands, and I thought it would be a good idea. She did all of the legwork on this microgrant. We’re very appreciative of her and the work she did to make sure we got the funding.”
Twenty-three different microgrants were awarded this year through the KCP&L Energizing Our Environment Microgrant program, which Walker said varied from starting recycling programs to implementing gardens on the property of schools, among other proposed projects. The grant Eugene Field received is worth $1,675.
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