Toolkit: Using games in youth work for development education

Year of production: 2020

Cover of the Using games in youth work for development education

The toolkit “Using games in youth work for development education” has as an objective to provide youth workers with an understanding of games and practical guidance on how to use them in a considered way within their practice. It was developed as part of the ‘Games in Youth Work: Engaging Young People in Development Education’ project. This project sought to engage young people with climate action and Development Education using games.

There are many resources available on using games-based activities in a youth work context. However, designing games can be a much more powerful experience for young people than simply playing them. The teamwork, technical and creative skills needed to design games make it a positive youth work activity.

The toolkit introduces the concept of Development Education in section 2. This provides the context for the use of games; the issue is the starting point and provides the purpose for the use of games. 

If you intend to use and develop games in your practice, you will need to understand the basics of how games are structured and described. This is the same whether talking about board games or computer games and is dealt with in section 3. This toolkit makes the distinction between gamification and using games in your practice. Section 4 explains that gamification is about integrating elements of games into youth work activities (e.g. badges, leaderboards, game cards and so on). Using or making games is, however, different; the focus becomes playing the game and what can be achieved or learned through such play. Section 5 provides a step by step overview of how to design a game with a Development Education theme. The final section 6 deals specifically with computer games and how they can be used in your practice.


National Youth Council of Ireland logo
National Youth Council of Ireland

The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) is the representative body for voluntary youth organisations in Ireland.

Limerick Institute of Technology logo
Limerick Institute of Technology

The Limerick Institute of Technology is a constituent institute of the Technological University of the Shannon, located in Limerick, Ireland.

Paul Keating

Paul Keating, Lecturer Limerick Institute of Technology