As a teacher, the importance of play in learning cannot be overstated. Sadly, we’re not allowed to have fun in government schooling anymore. Interest-led learning is out – Procrustean bed style schooling is practiced.
The Crunchy Mama’s review of Wildcraft! reverses the notion that learning is boring. Whether you’re into survival and preparedness or not, this board game is a great way to introduce kids and adults to the world of wild food foraging. It might even save you one day!
Wildcraft! board game — an excellent and fun introduction to wild edibles and medicinal plants
BY THECRUNCHYMAMACHRONICLES ON JULY 12, 2013
Good day, friends! I want to share with you today my review of a board game that introduces children and adults to wild edible and medicinal plants. The board game is called Wildcraft! An Herbal Adventure Game created by Kimberly Gallagher with herbalist John Gallagher and artist Beatriz Mendoza. I purchased this game 2 months ago and I receive no monetary benefit by recommending this product to you.
I wanted to write this post because my family is wild about Wildcraft! I don’t have to twist my children’s arms to play it — they ask us to play it and they have shared their enthusiasm for the game with others (such as Nana and cousins). Actually, my two oldest realized that they can play without mommy or daddy and play it at least once a week on their own.
Of course, their enthusiasm is not the top reason that I take the time to write this post for you. The subject of the game, wild edible and medicinal plants, and this terrific approach to learning them is the top reason. I have written several posts on wild edibles (1, 2, 3, 4) because I am enthusiastic about fresh, local, nutritious and free food; I desire to share my first-hand knowledge of wild edibles with you because I believe that you might share or acquire my enthusiasm for wild edibles. I use herbs for health and specific ailments and have done so for the past 6 years or so but I would not call myself an herbalist or herb expert. Of course, I always want to learn more and I pick up herbal knowledge here and there, as needed.
As with other things of importance in life, I want to teach my children about wild edible and medicinal plants. My oldest (who is 8 years old as of this writing) can identify quite a few wild edibles and he, like his mother, loves to share with others his wild edible knowledge Wildcraft! board game is a great way to reinforce the things that we have already learned as well as to learn even more.
I’ve created a 3-minute video to introduce you to the game. It’s here:
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My middle son (age 6) really enjoys the game for the “adventure” of the game, the matching aspect, the cooperation aspect, and, like the Gallagher’s children as explained here, the shortcuts and slides of the game. I love the fact that they are learning the names and pictures of useful wild plants. For families who have no or little previous experience with using wild plants, it gives an introduction to the concept that nature provides plants to help us stay healthy, to heal our wounds and ailments and to meet our nutritional needs. Unfortunately, many children and adults in our “fast food and drug store” culture have never been exposed to those ideas. For various reasons, many people from that culture decide to pursue a more natural path for their health and well-being. This game is a terrific help for newbies to learn some of the wild edible and medicinal plants that nature provides.
While I do really love the game, there is one thing that I was disappointed in. The game does not teach any specifics on how the plants can be used to cure ailments or to fulfill hunger. One of the top things about eating wild edibles is learning which part of the plant you can eat, at what stage in development you can eat it, and how to properly prepare it (i.e. does it need to be boiled in 3 changes of water?). Some plants have edible and toxic parts so it is vital that you know those things. It’s the same with medicinal plants. You must know which part is safe to use, how to prepare the part, how to use the part (i.e. is it safe to ingest or can it only be applied externally?), and how much to use. The creators do acknowledge this and have provided a lot of freebies (e-books including a cookbook and a 10-video beginning herbal lesson series) to help you learn how to use the plants to meet your health needs. I personally went through the 10-video herbal lesson, learned from it and enjoyed it.
The price is $37.00. For some, that price might seem a bit high for “just a game”. I certainly understand. For our one-income family, it was money well-spent. We will continue to enjoy playing this game, learning better and better how wild edible and medicinal plants can help us. And we will continue to learn the deeper learning material offered as freebies including a monthly herbal newsletter.
If you are on the fence about spending that much on a game, here is some great news — they guarantee that you will love Wildcraft! or they will refund your money AND you can keep the game!
Even if you do not have children in your life, as long as you have another person who is also interested in learning wild edible and medicinal plants, I highly recommend that you get and play the game together and, of course, learn and start using the plants in your cooking and for your minor ailments. Of course, if you are on prescription drugs, you should consult with your physician to make sure that the herbs that you are interested in incorporating into your “medicine chest” will not cause you problems.
Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, they are sold out of the game. Their website indicates that they will have more by the fall (2013) and that you can enter your email address to be notified when the game is again in stock and available for purchase. The space to enter your email address is at the bottom of the webpage.
If you have purchased this game, I’d love to hear what you think of the game!
Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you’ve read, please consider subscribing via email or by following me on Twitter or YouTube (where I upload videos more often than I post on my blog).
Author bio: The Crunchy Mama is a libertarian unschooling mama to three sons, married to her husband since 1998. They live on their Midwestern homestead of 2 ½ acres with chickens, ducks, dogs and an ever-growing organic vegetable garden. She is an avid wild food eater. In general, she’d rather be outside enjoying creation. If you’d like, you can connect with The Crunchy Mama on Twitter @thecrunchymama, YouTube, or on her blog Crunchy Mama’s Urban Homestead.
- Purslane: A Prolific Prepper Powerhouse (survivalsherpa.wordpress.com)
- Surviving in the Wild: 19 Common Edible Plants (amprepped.com)