Parents and Carers

Welcome to the Climate Dice Parents/Carers' Zone

Here you will find the answer to all your questions about Climate Dice.

Why do families love Climate Dice?

Everyone can play

Climate Dice really is intergenerational. From the youngest child to the most elderly family member, everyone can join in. Even babies can help to throw the dice and it’s great for including grandparents too.

You can play it anywhere

As long as there is enough space to throw the dice, you can play Climate Dice. Pop it in your bag and play it on a journey. Play it inside or in your outside space. Play it in the park or anywhere in nature. It comes in a handy pouch to keep the dice together, and there are no fiddly small parts to get lost.

There are no screens

At Climate Dice we are well aware of the benefits of technology, but sometimes it’s good to put the screens aside. Climate Dice is great for promoting conversations, for encouraging co-operation and for getting family members together, doing the same thing in the same space.

Want to know how to play?

It’s easy! You may already have storytelling dice at home and it is likely children will have used them in school. Climate Dice are used in exactly the same way:

  • One child throws the dice and looks at the images that land face up
  • He or she tries to make up a story including those images
  • The story is shared

Want to know more about the images and what they stand for?

Click here for a set of tables, one for each of the dice, providing you with:
  • The name of each image
  • Some basic information in relation to climate change
  • Some good news in relation to each image – but you can find your own if you prefer (see eg Positive News and The Good News Network)
  • Some examples of issues that could provoke high levels of anxiety and thus should be handled with care if discussed at all (with older children).

Want to know the rules?

At Climate Dice, we don’t really like rules, so we have only one:

The story must have a positive outcome or a solution to a problem at the end. (You might want to call it a happy ending with younger children). 

This is because it’s very important to support children to remain hopeful and see themselves as a critical part of a better future, a future in which many of the problems will have been addressed or at least reduced and the most doom-laden predictions have proved not to be the case. Instead of a generation that is climate anxious and fearful, we want to see them practising ‘active hope’ by focusing on healthier futures for people and planet, and taking steps to move towards that future.

Want to find out about eco anxiety in children and how to support them?

Understanding eco-anxiety

There is increasingly powerful evidence that children are displaying damaging levels of anxiety about climate change. However, we can’t avoid the fact that they will hear worrying predictions from the media and learn about it in school, so it is important to understand what eco-anxiety is and how we can address it.

Eco anxiety is defined by the American Psychological Association as: ‘Heightened mental, physical and/or emotional distress in response to changes in the climate.’

In 2021, the largest study yet to be carried out into the subject of young people’s response to climate change was published. (See link below).

10,000 young people aged 16 – 25 from 10 countries were surveyed and the findings were concerning:

‘Respondents across all countries were worried about climate change (59% were very or extremely worried and 84% were at least moderately worried). More than 50% reported each of the following emotions: sad, anxious, angry, powerless, helpless, and guilty. More than 45% of respondents said their feelings about climate change negatively affected their daily life and functioning, and many reported a high number of negative thoughts about climate change (eg, 75% said that they think the future is frightening and 83% said that they think people have failed to take care of the planet).’

A study carried out by Save the Children saw similarly worrying results from children aged 12 – 16 years:

There is ever-increasing evidence of children expressing anxiety and feeling overwhelmed by a problem they did not create. To quote Clover Hogan, a young activist and founder of Force for Change:

‘Young people have not created this reality, we have inherited it. Yet we are told that we are the last generation with the chance to save humanity.’

Caroline Hickman from The University of Bath and The Climate Psychology Alliance says that eco-anxiety – anxiety about ecological disasters – now affects more children than ever before. At the same time, she says that responses such as anxiety, grief and frustration are healthy and that adults ‘need to get alongside them rather than pathologise them.’ See link below for a fuller explanation:

Jo McAndrews stresses the importance of ensuring children do not feel responsible for solving the problems of climate change. Her short but inspiring ebook ‘Truth Without Trauma – talking with children about climate change,’ is pretty essential reading for parents and other adults who are likely to talk to children about climate change. In it, she raises the risk of children believing it is their job to save the world. ‘If they forget to recycle their plastic or switch a light off, they are not contributing to climate change. The message needs to be that adults are taking responsibility and that children’s support and action is welcome.’

Like Rachel Musson from Thoughtbox, who helped create our Teacher’s Guide to Climate Dice, she also emphasises the need to recognise that children will have big feelings about climate change. They will hear alarming predictions and these could generate fears about the very nature of their future lives. The adults around them need to ‘listen to their fears and respond wisely to their questions’ she says, in order that they do not feel alone with those feelings. That is the crucial issue.

Another way parents can help is to ensure children have opportunities to spend time outdoors. ‘Knowing their own environment thoroughly will teach them about the wider world, and allow for many opportunities to talk about how climate change is impacting all of life,’ says Jo.

It is our view that children should be taught the facts about climate change, as they will hear them and indeed experience them soon enough, as children in the Global South already know all too well. But they should be encouraged to look to a future that does not have to be the disaster that has been predicted, a future in which adults will have started to take responsibility and action for change.

It will also be a future in which they will have an active role as tomorrow’s scientists, politicians and activists but they will only be prepared for that future if they have the emotional resilience and positive thinking that adults can help them achieve.

The message must be that yes, life will be different, but millions of people are already working hard to make the changes we need to live with this reality. Children need to hear about the good news in equal measure to the issues we face and you can find this on sites such as Positive News and The Good News Network. Also see our tables for specific examples relating to almost all the images on Climate Dice.

Climate Dice is designed to provide a fun and safe space for you to talk about climate change with the children in your life. It will help them to express their feelings and to learn to (RE)image a brighter future.

Want more suggestions for successful play?

Encourage the child who is playing to put themselves in the story. Our research shows you get better stories that way, but it also helps children to see themselves as an active part of solutions. You may want to suggest a story start such as ‘One day I was …’

Encourage and support children to make a story without re-throwing the dice. We want to help them to problem-solve. However, use your judgement if re-throwing one or two dice seems the best option.

Don’t worry if children interpret the images in a different way to that described in the tables. All stories should be celebrated, as long as they adhere to the one rule. 

Don’t introduce a lot of information about climate change at once, and certainly not with young children. Adults playing Climate Dice with children should concentrate on ensuring that stories are positive, even if their solutions to problems are fantastic!

Allow children plenty of time to express their fears about climate change if this arises during play. This is more important than playing the game, and you can always play again another time. Click the link for some essential reading from Jo Mcandrews, who offers valuable advice on how to talk to children about climate change:  ‘Truth Without Trauma – talking with children about climate change,’

Want to know more about the benefits of Climate Dice?

Climate Dice offers family and friends the opportunity to play a fun game with a climate change theme. Amongst its many benefits are:

  • Improved creativity
  • The chance for children to use their imaginations in a positive way
  • A wide range of spoken language benefits
  • Enhanced storytelling skills

At the same time, there is increasingly powerful evidence that children are displaying damaging levels of anxiety about climate change. You can read more about that here. However, we can’t avoid the fact that they will hear worrying predictions from the media and learn about it in school, so how can Climate Dice help to manage this anxiety?

Climate Dice aims to help family and friends to:

  • Provide children with information about climate change in a safe and gradual way
  • Provide a balanced narrative that acknowledges work that is happening around the world to mitigate the worst effects of climate change
  • Encourage children to see themselves as part of a positive future, without ever seeing themselves as responsible for making it happen

All this while having fun away from screens! Climate Dice is a great way for adults of all generations to interact with children, to spend quality time and learn together in a safe and positive space.

Want to see some examples of stories at different levels?

You can read some stories written after playing with Climate Dice and find out how to send us your stories. We’d love to include them!