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'Beach Builder Challenge' Teaches Water Safety Through Minecraft

10th July 2016
The RNLI's Beach Builder Challenge uses the popular video game Minecraft to teach water safety The RNLI's Beach Builder Challenge uses the popular video game Minecraft to teach water safety Photo: RNLI

#WaterSafety - This summer the RNLI is launching the second year of the popular Beach Builder Challenge using the interactive video game Minecraft, which allows children to create and build virtual worlds.

Available to play from Monday 1 August, the Beach Builder Challenge was created by the RNLI to teach children about beach and water safety.

The RNLI has this year expanded the virtual world to include a Beach Island Adventure, which means that as well as being able to create epic beaches, creative youngsters are also tasked with completing four levels based on the charity’s Stay SAFE acronym: Spot the dangers, Take Advice, Stay close to a Friend or family member, and learn what to do in an Emergency.

"This is a fun and interactive game for 7–14 year olds to play during the summer holidays," says Jenny Thompson, RNLI lifeguard supervisor on the Causeway Coast. "We really hope the challenges will help Minecraft users visiting the beach this summer put their newly acquired beach safety knowledge into reality, and have fun while staying safe."

Last year’s Beach Builder Challenge was a huge success with more than 8,000 children participating from all over the world, including Canada, Australia and the USA. It also proved successful in helping to reach a high number of children living in inland communities across Ireland and the UK.

Feedback from 2015 suggests the game is an excellent education platform particularly as results found that 97% of participants, after playing the game, knew to go to a lifeguarded beach; and there was a 20% increase in the number of children who knew to dial 999 and ask for the coastguard if they saw someone in trouble at the beach.

Bridiee Appleby-Gunnill, the RNLI’s Community Safety Product Manager, added: "We’ve created a fun, educational experience where a young person can engage and learn about water safety in a self-organised way and where academic ability does not limit learning.

"Research suggests that children learn and retain more when they can organise their own learning. Last year’s feedback has shown Minecraft to be a fantastic enabler in allowing this to happen.

"I’m really hopeful the results of this year’s challenge will be just as encouraging. We’ll be looking for participants to take part in research, to help us further develop ways to enable water safety learning in this age group."

This year, children using different platforms will be able to talk to one another while taking part in the challenge. To register your child’s involvement email [email protected]

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