According to UNICEF statistics, half of the world’s unexploded ordnance (UXO) victims are children. Landmines can attract attention, arouse curiosity, or even be deliberately “hidden” in playgrounds and toys. Today, our cruel enemy uses all abhorrent methods of warfare possible. Therefore, it is extremely important children are aware of likely threats and rules for handling them.
“Watch Your Step!” is a tabletop educational game for children, the first edition of which was released in 2015. The idea belonged to the Young Men’s Christian Association in Ukraine (YMCA Ukraine) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) office in Ukraine.
In 2022, with support of the International Charitable Organization East Europe Foundation, which implements the “Watch Your Step!” Program funded by DanChurchAid, the third edition of the game was published. The game was supplemented with new materials, considering the new challenges of the war.
Smart and interesting, this game is designed for children over 10 to tell them about different types of landmines, the danger they pose, and explain to them what they should do when detecting a dangerous explosive object.
The “Watch Your Step!” game is played in teams of up to 12 people. If the class is large, you can divide it into several teams. Each participant is given a card with a question about UXO on it. Starting with the first card, the children should take turns to find fitting answers and form a circle of correct responses. Only when the circle closes is the game over. If this does not happen, the whole team will have to look for the error and try to fix it together.
To guide the children through the game, a moderator should be involved who can be a teacher, parent, or a guest specialist from the State Emergency Service. For a moderator, it is important to be sensitive and attentive in order to explain to the children what they might get wrong. Ultimately, their own safety may depend on this knowledge.
To better understand the rules, format and process of the “Watch Your Step!” game, we, together with the professionals of the State Emergency Service, have recorded a separate instructional video for the game masters.
Learning can be made fun and adventurous, even when the information is complex and vitally important. Therefore, we encourage adults to conduct this game across schools, hobby groups and classes, especially in the de-occupied territories of Ukraine where the risk remains very high.