Erasmus+ Games for Goals 

Research Group
Authentic Leadership
January 2023 t/m september 2025
Contact person
Philippa Collin

The aim of the project

This is an Erasmus+ project that focuses on the gamification of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for primary school children. It is a joint project between NGOs and institutes of higher education in Belgium, Portugal, France, Germany, and Inholland in the Netherlands.

The aim is to empower primary school teachers and children across Europe by providing them with easily accessible, downloadable print-and-play analogue games based on the SDGs. The children not only learn more about the SDGs but are also invited to be actively engaged in making a tangible contribution to sustainability. By doing so, they ideally also gain the confidence to encourage those around them to do the same.

How do we conduct this research?

The analogue SDG games were initially designed with the help of primary school teachers from all participating countries. In 2022, at a teacher's workshop in France, they provided a design framework for creating innovative educational activities. This framework was based on their professional knowledge of the motivations of our target group: children between the ages of 8 and 11. The four main pillars of this framework emerged as game-based, multi-disciplinary, active citizenship, and embodied/arts-based. We aimed to make games that were physically active, transformative (engaging head, heart, and hands), and collaborative rather than competitive.

Once these foundations had been laid, we collectively chose the themes for our three SDG games: the water cycle (SDGs 6 & 14), biodiversity or the rights of all species to be themselves (SDGs 5, 14 & 15), and the right to be yourself and how to protect this right for others (SDGs 1, 3, 4, 5, 8 & 10).


Creating and testing the games 

The next step was to invite students from all four Universities of Applied Sciences to help us create the games from scratch. We started in Porto in May 2023 to work on the water cycle game with a multidisciplinary, multilingual, international group of students for an intense week of learning and making. By following the design thinking methodology, they managed to design, prototype, and produce five collaborative games that interlocked as a whole.

In retrospect, we could have made life easier for ourselves by making one game, but we all learned a great deal. We also supported the students' personal development throughout the week by leading them through challenges based on the Inner Development Goals.

Once the games were made, we translated them into the four project languages and spent the next six months taking them through rigorous testing cycles in different primary schools.

Then, starting in November 2023, we went through the same full cycle with the next game, biodiversity, with a student mobility to Antwerp. This time, we wisely chose one single game.

"I must express my absolute admiration for the experience. It was intense, yet I would eagerly relive it all again."

- Emma Jo Keevers, Creative Business-student

The importance for education 

If we look at this project from the point of view of our own students, it has been very worthwhile. Even though we can take no more than 10 Inholland students to each of the three student mobilities, they are given a rich international experience. They experience working intensively and creatively in English with students from different disciplines towards a common goal. At the beginning, many of them had an interest in sustainability but little grasp of the SDGs. However, by the end, they were ready not just to actively contribute to sustainability in their own field but were also empowered to influence others.

There have been a number of spin-offs at Inholland. For example, a BIP in 2023 based on the SDGs for our Erasmus partners from Artevelde (Belgium) and Vilnius Tech (Lithuania). Also, a database for SDG-related links for the Leisure & Events Management course (LM) and the global mindset (

The opportunity to use the Inner Development Goals for sustainability and personal development has also been very valuable. As a research group, we are now exploring how to develop more arts-based educational tools to share across Inholland. See also: Transition Makers.

The last student mobility will be in Germany in September 2024. While most students that have participated so far have been Creative Business students, we hope to collaborate with the Pabo and host a new cohort of students then.

How did we involve the work field?

This project connects us directly with local and European primary schools as well as the SDG Nederland organization.

Inholland works closely with the Dutch NGO Citylink Haarlem-Mutare. For many years, they have maintained an extensive network of local primary schools where they have carried out various SDG-related projects.

For the Games for Goals project, we collaborated with the children in group 7 at both the Bosch en Vaartschool in Haarlem and OBS Meander in Delftgauw. The children help us by testing and giving feedback on the prototype games so we can improve them before translating and publishing them. Once the games are completed and published online, the schools are free to use them as and when they choose.

The expected outcomes

By the end of the project, there will be:

  • 3 downloadable print-and-play games to teach the SDGs to primary school children between the ages of 8 and 11 in 5 languages (French, English, German, Portuguese, and Dutch).
  • 3 successful international and multi-disciplinary mobilities for approximately 100 students.
  • Personal development for students and primary school teachers.
  • An Inner Development Course developed for the professional personal development of both students and teachers.
  • Our aim is that the project will provide not only three innovative and tested games but also a catalogue of additional sustainability-related resources for children, as well as an accessible methodology for teachers to make existing materials more innovative and sustainable.

There have also been a number of less direct spin-offs. For example, the Authentic Leadership research group has been invited to join a new Erasmus+ research project application, 'Mind the Gap: Inner Development for Global Transitions.' This project aims to promote the development of skills related to the Inner Development Goals and leadership.

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