The games on this site were designed by Living
Earth Games . No more games are manufactured. The games are stil for sale on the following site until stocks last https://www.etsy.com/shop/livingearthgames
Many thanks to Roman from the Childrens Permaculture Guild, who wrote the following article about our games for the permaculture activist. :
Living Earth Games:
Boardgame Technology for Education
(Reprinted from Permaculture Activist, Issue #90, November 2013, http://www.permacultureactivist.net/)
While working on my Masters in Education with a focus of developing
Permaculure-based curriculum for public schools, I had the opportunity
to spend the day observing a classroom in an Apple Distinguished School,
a technology immersion program that boasts Smart Boards (an interactive
whiteboard) in every classroom and a one-to-one student/laptop ratio. I
was most intrigued by how students' interactions during free time were
mediated by their technology.
I observed and recorded data on
two groups: those playing online games and those playing boardgames. The
results, in terms of awareness, interaction, and communication, were
staggering. Those playing online games would spend the entire period
without so much as making eye-contact with one another. These students
would often go 6-8 minutes without saying a word and even when they did
it was a generic phrase (e.g. “Look out!” “Go that way”) by the student
awaiting their turn while watching the other play.
the students playing boardgames made eye-contact an average of once
every 12-15 seconds and were engaged in ongoing conversations.
Furthermore these students would occasionally make physical contact and
even stop playing momentarily in response to the moment (one pair ran
over to the window to watch an osprey land near their classroom,
something that went completely unnoticed by their online counterparts).
The two different experiences could be summarized as following:
The first group (online) just happened to be beside one another while
passively CONSUMING computer programming. The second group (boardgames)
was actually spending time TOGETHER. When it comes to pastimes that
build community board and card games are appropriate technology.
Boardgames are non-electronic forms of entertainment that can help
sharpen one's focus, increase attention spans, and most importantly
develop problem-solving skills. Some other advantages include improved
social skills, patience, sharing, fairness, participation, and the dying
art of human interaction. In short they emphasize a quality of
experience over quantity of consumption. If computer games are consumed
like fast food nowadays, then boardgames are the rising slow food
This is why I was so thrilled to discover Living
Earth Games which manufactures fun, cooperative board and card games
based on permaculture design and systems thinking. While home schooling
her three children Lizet Frijters was searching for a way to make
learning more entertaining. She began designing eco-games inspired by
nature and manufactured in an environmentally-friendly manner. So far
Living Earth has published three incredible games: Living Landscapes,
Gaia's Garden, and One Seed.
GAIA'S GARDEN is a cooperative boardgame centered on companion planting and beneficial insects.
The player rolls the dice and moves either the gardener, a pest, or a
predator along the garden path. Players must work together to select
appropriate plants from the nursery which will encourage biodiversity
and IPM while discouraging pests. The gardeners need to plant for
beneficial insects before the pests arrive. Everyone wins once all the
rows are completely planted. A really neat feature of this game is that
any player can leave and new players can join in at any time.
lovely illustrations are printed with vegetable ink on 100% recycled
paper and mounted onto the recycled cardboard with homemade organic
flour paste. The actual board itself is divided into three sections for
easy storage in its organic cotton bag (screenprinted with earthen
2-6 players, ages 4 to adult.
SEED focuses on the four elements, wildlife, and the seven steps
required to grow a pea from seed. Instead of traditional numbers the die
features images of Sun, Water, Air, Earth, Wildlife, and Bees. Players
learn about germination, the interrelationship between the four
elements, the role of wildlife in the garden, and the importance of
pollination. The players must cooperate to complete the lifecycle of the
pea before it is eaten by a slug or bird. Like Gaia's Garden there is
no competition between individuals and a player can join at any point
during the game. One Seed was specifically designed as a “print and
play” game which enables the player to download and print off the PDF
immediately after purchase and eliminates any shipping costs. Once
printed, I pasted the paper onto cereal boxes found in the recycling and
cut out the game pieces. It only took a few minutes to have the
finished boardgame in my hands and without any postage fees!
1-6 players, ages 4 to adult.
LANDSCAPES is perhaps my favorite of the three games because, in
addition to being extremely fun to play with friends and family, it is a
very useful design tool for adults. Unlike the previous two games,
Living Landscapes is a card game whose aim is to help the player
“understand sustainable landscape design.” In the directions Lizet
writes, “With this card game we learn to see relationships between the
elements of a landscape and our needs.” The card deck is divided into
three categories: 12 green cards representing Elements (e.g. windbreak,
pond), 10 Red cards for Functions/Needs (e.g. soil improvement,
irrigation), and 30 Black cards which are products (e.g. legumes, wood).
The players must figure out how the elements, functions, and products
are all connected.
There are several ways to play Living Landscapes.
In one version, for example, the goal is to make sure each function is
supported by at least two elements and yields a product. In truth the
game is designed for open-ended play limited only by the imagination of
the participants. My daughter has even created her own game using the
“There is no winner or loser in the game,” Lizet writes, “it
is rather an introduction to discussion. The fun comes from the exchange
and discussion between players.” The soft water-color images are
beautiful and even include a few blank cards allowing individuals to
personalize their own deck. As an added bonus these permaculture playing
cards have traditional numbers and symbols on them (i.e. 8 of Spades)
to play any common card game such as poker or bridge. Although once you
have experienced the lively discussion of possibilities, patterns, and
solutions that Living Landscapes fosters, traditional games will seem
mundane by comparison.
Unlimited players, two age categories: 4-7 and 7 to adult.
Last year our town was hit by a freak ice storm effectively knocking
out power to tens of thousands of homes for a week. As our neighbors
fled to stay in hotels, with relatives, or found temporary sanctuary
inside cafes our family took out our natural wool blankets, used an
Aprovecho Rocket Stove to cook meals, and spent our evenings playing
these boardgames by candlelight. We shared laughter, ideas, and
reconnected with one another. This was appropriate technology in
All images and work on this website are copyrighted by Lizet Frijters.
No images can be reproduced or published without prior written
arrangement by Lizet Frijters