From the team at BBC Wildlife Magazine
All products were chosen independently by our editorial team. This review contains affiliate links and we may receive a commission for purchases made. Please read our affiliates FAQ page to find out more and read about how we write BBC Discover Wildlife reviews.

9 of the best wildlife-themed games for children

Who will be the most eagle-eyed and spot hidden creatures first? Or ruthless enough to win at bird-themed Monopoly? Entertain the kids (and adults too) with these fun wildlife-themed games.

A family playing a board game on a table.
Published: December 10, 2021 at 5:00 pm
Grab your copy of Frozen Planet II when you subscribe to BBC Wildlife Magazine!

From bingo and Monopoly to crazy eights, there's loads of wildlife-themed versions of games out there and we can't get enough of them! We've rounded up our favourite ones suitable for kids – but beware, adults may find them addictive too!

Advertisement

For more present ideas for the nature lovers in your life, check out our articles on gifts for children, books for children, stocking fillers for £12 and under, and jigsaw puzzles.


Best wildlife-themed games for children

Sticky Chameleons

Sticky Chameleons 1

Make sure to play this game at a a safe distance from precious family heirlooms! Each player is a chameleon, equipped with a sticky pink ‘tongue’ they must use to pick up the correct insect prey tiles as indicated by a roll of the dice. Pedantic players will be annoyed that wasp tiles are to be avoided, despite chameleons regularly feasting on them in real life.

Sticky Chamelons 2

Those familiar with the sticky, stretchy toys kids love to fling at walls and get tangled in their hair will realise how chaotic the game can get in large groups. If you can stop laughing and crying long enough to keep track of the score, the winner is the first to five points. It's recommended for players aged six plus, and for two to five players.

Reviewed by Ella Davies, nature writer

Ocean bingo

Ocean bingo

Hurrah! A board game with no ridiculously complicated rules that drain all joy from the arena before anyone has so much as spun a spinner. One of a number of wildlife-themed bingo sets produced by Laurence King, it's perfect for restless kids and rainy days, and requires precious little by way of instruction.

More like this

All you have to so is select a game card; cover your 25 (out of 64) sea creatures with yellow discs as they are called; and the first to finish shouts The Word. It’s a great way for children to get to know some of our amazing ocean species, from red lionfish to leatherback sea turtles.

Reviewed by Sarah McPherson, features editor, BBC Wildlife

Poo Bingo

Poo Bingo set up

Poo Bingo! What could be better? Bingo, but with poo. It’s always the simplest ideas that are the best, and this is hands down the best bingo game we’ve come across. If, like us, you have small children for whom poo looms large, you’re in for a family treat here.

All you have to do is match the poo to the animal – but along the way, there’s loads to learn on the hop. Civets can’t digest the stones from the cherries they like to eat from coffee plants, so the poo them out, at which point they get scooped up and used to make coffee – guaranteed to garner a chorus of “Eurgh!” Wombat poo is cubed, penguins squirt poo of various colours, while the microscopic demodex mite is apparently the only creature that doesn’t poo!

Reviewed by Paul McGuinness, editor, BBC Wildlife

Monopoly – RSPB edition

RSPB Monopoly

I hardly ever win at Monopoly, so this bird-watching themed version instantly endeared itself to me when I triumphed over an avid player (who, unsurprisingly, was less enamoured with the format).

Instead of the traditional London locations, avian species – from gannet and puffin to nuthatch and skylark – and their habitats are accrued as you make your way around the board. Instead of houses and hotels, hides and visitor centres can be constructed to draw more money away from your opponents.

Community Chest cards may see you parting with your hard-earned cash for binocular repairs or reward you for winning second prize in a wildlife photography competition, for example.

While the theme could, perhaps, work a little harder in some areas, it’s a great way to introduce younger players (recommended for aged eight plus) to a variety of species.

Reviewed by Angharad Moran, former production editor, BBC Wildlife

The Wild Bunch

The Wild Bunch card game

Chances are you’re already familiar with the crazy eights formula. Each player is dealt eight cards, and players take turns to lay a card from their hand – match either the colour or the family, in this case mammals, birds, insects or fish. If you can’t play, you pick up from the draw pile. The first to lay their whole hand wins.

Wild cards add spice – chameleon cards change colour (obviously), crabs change the direction of play, kangaroos skip a turn, etc. The subtle genius in this game is in the choice of species beautifully illustrated on each card. Oranges include bronze orange bugs and bubble eye goldfish, while blues showcase emperor dragonflies and blue tang fish. After a few rounds, everyone’s species knowledge will have shot up a notch or two.

Reviewed by Paul McGuinness, editor, BBC Wildlife

The Lost Words

The Lost Words pack

Based on the bestselling book by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris, this is a relatively straightforward card game recommended for children aged eight plus, the object of which is to be the first to pair the cards in your hand with those on the table.

The Lost Words - otter

There’s an edge to proceedings, as certain cards allow you to mess with your opponents – draw a magpie, for example, and you can steal a completed pair. One hand took about 30 minutes, and it was something of a delight to play with such beautiful illustrations of the natural world, and to hear 10- and 12-year-old boys talking about brambles, wrens, otters and larks.

Reviewed by Sarah McPherson, features editor, BBC Wildlife

I Saw It First! Ocean: A Family Spotting Game

Ocean board game

The concept couldn’t be simpler. You have a board with pictures of some 300 species of creatures – whales, coral, shellfish, jellies, crabs, et al in the Ocean version (pictured above), and creatures such as gorilla, tiger, Temminck’s tragopan and Sumatran torrent frog in the jungle version. And you have a box, from which you draw illustrated tokens. All you have to do is match the picture on the token with one on the board. The winner keeps the token and you draw again from the box. Whoever ends the game with the most tokens is the champ.

The tokens include the species’ names, and as we played, we assimilated oceanic ID knowledge without realising. So far, my son and I have only played a handful of times, but our spotters’ badges are assured – we’ll never fail to identify a terrible claw lobster or googly-eyed glass squid. Simple, but effective.

Reviewed by Paul McGuinness, editor, BBC Wildlife

Plop Trumps

Plop Trumps tin

Another game about animal poo! There's just something about disgusting things that many kids (and a lot of adults too) just absolutely love, and for those, this card game will go down a treat. Like with other Top Trumps games, you're competing against your opponent's card to score the highest (or lowest should you choose to play that) in a certain category. In this version, there are six categories to choose from: frequency, hardness (how did they measure that I wonder?), length, width, smelliness and yuck factor.

Plop trumps cards

There's a wide range of species in the set. As well as the three pictured above, there's also snow leopard, giant panda, barn owl and many more. Each card comes with dietary information about the species (carnivore, herbivore or omnivore), and even more additional information about the species (usually about its faeces).

Reviewed by Megan Shersby, editorial and digital co-ordinator, BBC Wildlife

Butterfly Wings: A Matching Game

Butterfly Wings game 1

A box full of 25 delicately detailed butterflies awaits players of this game. The challenge? Each species is featured twice, once with wings open, and once closed – all you need to do is pair them up. Though crimson rose and zebra longwing make life easy, those such as blue morpho and gold-banded forester may prove a little trickier.

Butterfly Wings game 2

While Christine Berrie supplies the wonderful illustrations, Mike Unwin provides information on each species in the accompanying ‘key to the butterflies’, which reveals the correct pairings. You’ll soon be able to tell your dead leaf from your sunset daggerwing.

Other wildlife- and animal-themed matching games are also available from Laurence King: Pair of Birds, Flower, Animal Tracks, Dinosaur Bones, Leaf, Cats & Kittens, Dogs & Puppies.

Reviewed by Angharad Moran, former production editor, BBC Wildlife


Advertisement

Main image: Family playing a board game. © Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sponsored content