Feed the Dingo: A Desert Ecosystem Game

Feed the Dingo

What Is This Game?

Now that your kids are experts on life in the desert, they can try keeping a whole desert ecosystem alive! This game allows players to see how the different species of plants and animals in a desert depend on one another, and to experiment with how changing the amount of one resource affects the whole ecosystem. Their goal is to put together a balanced ecosystem, in which each animal has enough food to survive over a period of 12 days. The longer their ecosystem lasts, the more points they will earn for their sticker collections.

Conversation Starters

  • Was it easy or hard to keep the animals and plants in your ecosystem alive for 12 days? If it was hard, what made it hard?
  • What surprised you about the number of plants and animals you needed in order to keep your ecosystem balanced?
  • Why does your ecosystem need so many plants?
  • What might happen to the desert ecosystem if all the spinifex grass disappeared? What if all the plants disappeared?

Explore Some More

Build a Terrarium

A terrarium is a great way for kids to see how water cycles in an ecosystem, and how living things depend on water. You can build a simple one with a clean two-liter soda bottle, potting soil, sphagnum or peat moss (which you can find at most hardware and gardening stores), small stones (such as pebbles for a fish tank), and a few seeds or easy-to-grow plants such as ferns, ivy, and moss. Check out these instructions from the National Wildlife Federation!