Fostering Children’s Participation in Disaster Risk Reduction Through Play: A Case Study of LEGO and Minecraft
This article focuses on children’s participation in disaster risk reduction. It draws on a 2018 study done in New Zealand with 33 school children who conducted participatory mapping with LEGO and the video game Minecraft to assess disaster risk in their locality and identify ways to be more prepared. The research involved participatory activities with the children actively involved in the co-design, implementation, and evaluation of the initiative. A focus group discussion was also conducted to assess the project from the viewpoint of the schoolteachers. The results indicate that LEGO and Minecraft are playful tools for children to participate in disaster risk reduction. The research identifies four key elements of genuine children’s participation, including the Participants, Play, the Process, and Power (4 Ps). This framework emphasizes that fostering children’s participation in disaster risk reduction requires focusing on the process through which children gain power to influence decisions that matter to them. The process, through play, is child-centered and fosters ownership. The article concludes that Play is essential to ground participation within children’s worldviews and their networks of friends and relatives.