The Period Game that hopes to teach children about menstruation

The game that hopes to normalise talking about periods for kids.
The game that hopes to normalise talking about periods for kids. Photo: The Period Game

A new board game that's been designed by Daniela Gilsanz and Ryan Murphy is encouraging girls to 'go with the flow' in more ways than one.

The Period Game, targeted at children aged 9-11, is designed as an educational, but fun way to teach children about menstruation. 

Opening up conversations about their bodies, young girls are given the opportunity to remove the awkwardness many of them feel around the topic.

It also empowers them to learn and say words such as 'period', 'tampon' and 'ovaries'.

Players can play the game as a tampon, a menstrual cup or tiny underwear. Game play starts when one player turns one of the two ovaries in the centre to release a marble from the vagina.

A red marble indicates you've got your period and you're good to go. A clear one indicates you're not quite there yet, so need to wait your turn.

When play commences, players manouevre their way around the board, encountering all phases of the menstrual cycle.

These are depicted through protection cards, preparation cards and 'go to the nurse's office' spots.

Protection cards are played when landing on a period space and incorporate a tampon, a sanitary pad, a menstrual cup or a super tampon cup.

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Preparation cards are played when landing on a PMS space and incorporate messages such as 'Take a hot bath', 'Get a good night's sleep', and 'Keep calm and carry on'.

"We hope that girls and boys get a fun learning environment where they are comfortable asking questions," Gilsanz told the Huffington Post

"The way the game is set up, it's very easy to ask a question about the game where the answer relates back to your body, so you are learning two things at once: how to play and what is happening in the body. Also, we hope it helps with confidence and girl pride!"

Whilst the game is still only a prototype, the designers hope to gain interest from partners to be able to make it a reality.

Their hope is to have it in schools and homes across America soon.

But is it really going to take off?

I asked co-founder and educator at Sex Education Australia, Jenny Ackland, what she thought about it.

"It's difficult to comment on the game without seeing it properly but, from what I can tell online, it wouldn't be something we as an organisation would use in classrooms, nor would I have used it at home with my two daughters," she says.

"I don't think it's the best method of education, and I think that secondary students would probably have a laugh rather than take in the information."

Ackland notes that, whilst girls need to learn about menstruation, it's only one aspect of a vast range of topics that should be covered in preparation for puberty for both boys and girls.  

Such topics include reproduction, anatomy, respect in friendships, technology use and awareness and who a child can go to if they need help or more info.

"We know it's important for both girls and boys to receive accurate information about puberty changes earlier than they might need so they're prepared," says Ackland. 

"They not only need to know about the physical changes of puberty, but also the social and emotional changes as well."

Whilst the average age for a girl to menstruate is 12, Ackland says that there are girls starting younger and so it's important that parents have the conversation with their daughters sooner rather than later.

Whether the game becomes a hit or not is yet to be seen, but as far as educational tools and tips go, Ackland has a few of her own to recommend to parents.

Ackland offers the following tips:

  • Read some books on puberty to get the right language to use.
  • Explain why girls and women have periods and how it relates to human reproduction as a whole.
  • Don't put it off, and don't wait until they ask. Don't think that because they aren't asking they 'aren't ready'.

List of resources for primary students:

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