SUN-AD COMPANY, Tokyo / SHORYUSHA CO., LTD. / 2020
The decline in outdoor play for children is becoming continually more serious. This is largely due to the changes in environment and lifestyle that have come about with the growing presence of video games and the internet in their lives. According to a survey, 90.7% of parents of elementary school children said they had felt a decrease in outdoor play. Outdoor play experiences stimulate a child's five senses while allowing them to see, feel and engage with things first hand; the decrease in these experiences is hindering the creativity and imagination necessary for children's development and has become an object of public concern in Japan.
The main target audience for this work was preschool children and their parents. The idea was that children come across new things and start a conversation with the question "what's this?". While playing along with their parents, children experience the joy of learning about nature and the four seasons and discover that there is a whole world of new and exciting things for them to find right in their neighborhood. With this game, we were able to help normally busy parents realize just how precious this time with their children is, and re-realize the benefits of board games.
Unlike the traditional 'bingo card' that features a board of numbers, the board of 'FUN!WALK!BINGO' is filled with illustrations of things that the child may come across during their walk. Because there are multiple themes/categories to play with (e.g., seasons or towns), even on the same route, the child can have new and different encounters each time they play. The excitement of finding countless little discoveries that the child otherwise may never have noticed, will enrich their mind and leave them excited for next time. Realistic illustrations and the sense of accomplishment felt when punching out a hole on the board make the game equally enjoyable for kids who haven't learned to read yet. We've refined the well-known bingo game and turned it into both a sensory exploration of nature and a provider of outdoor playtime.
Since the game's release, we have received considerable feedback from parents of young children expressing their empathy. After its initial distribution on social media platforms, the game was picked up by TV shows, radio and magazines, and--in response to requests from all over Japan--was also a part of various collaborations with different municipalities, educational institutions, resorts, publishers, etc, resulting in several expansions. As the game grew in popularity among consumers, homemade versions of the game became a trending topic, the name appeared all across social media as a new hashtag, and recognition grew rapidly; 'FUN!WALK!BINGO' was officially a way to play. Consequently, children all over were flocking eagerly to the outdoor world. With zero advertising costs, we sold a total of 117,616 bingo games, and accumulated 126,700,000 impressions.