Construction and validation of a board game for children with cancer

Daniela Doulavince Amador, Professor at the Faculdade de Enfermagem, Universidade Estadual de Campinas (FEnf/UNICAMP), Campinas-SP, Brazil.

Myriam Aparecida Mandetta, Professor at the Escola Paulista de Enfermagem, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (EPE/UNIFESP), São Paulo-SP, Brazil.

Logo Acta Paulista de EnfermagemResearchers from the Universidade Federal de São Paulo and the Universidade Estadual de Campinas developed and validated a board game to promote effective communication between health professionals and children with cancer. The game titled ‘Skuba! An adventure under the sea’ was developed using Vigostky’s socio-constructivist theory as a theoretical framework and Child-Centered Game Development (CCGD) as a methodological framework. The CCGD considers that the child must participate in the entire creation and validation process in the development of games so that their needs, beliefs and perceptions are incorporated (Moser, 2015).

The game seeks to go beyond entertainment, constituting a space that allows children to expand their repertoire of reactions, based on the projection of what was experienced during game playing, enabling a mediation between playfulness and reality.

Image: iStock

The article titled Development and validation of a board game for children with cancer was published in the Acta Paulista de Enfermagem journal. It is a methodological study in which children aged 8-12 years old who were undergoing cancer treatment participated in several steps in the game development and validation process. Through the study, children were encouraged to take on the role of informants, users, testers and even design partners.

The game was constructed between February/2016 and July/2017, and the development results are described according to the steps of production. In the initial analysis, children diagnosed with cancer brought up their information needs and how they would like to have them met. In the conceptual step, the game elements were defined: target audience, scenario, characters and game dynamics. In the design step, game elements were incorporated, resulting in a low-fidelity prototype of the board and cards of the game. Subsequently, in the step of implementation, a test version was created and tested by children undergoing cancer treatment who played the game and brought important considerations for the adjustment of illustrations and content of some cards using more accessible and clear language. Following the suggested changes, version 1 of the board game emerged. Finally, a process of content validation with specialists in the subject was performed, as well as usability evaluation with experts in the area of games and game playing by the target audience, that is, children between 8 and 12 years old with cancer and undergoing chemotherapy. Thus, the final version of the game was created.

The study highlights the importance of the child’s participation in the process of construction and validation of an intervention. They contribute by bringing their needs in relation to the information to be inserted and important considerations that influenced the final version of the board game “Skuba! An adventure under the sea”.

In this sense, the constructed and validated board game can be an important tool in the communication process of children with nurses caring for them, enabling attentive listening and the sharing of information in an appropriate language, through a differentiated playful and dynamic environment.

Read more

Moser C. Child-Centered Game Development. Center for Human-Computer Interaction. Austria: University of Salzburg, 2015.

To read the article, access

AMADOR, D.D. and MANDETTA, M.A. Development and validation of a board game for children with cancer. Acta Paulista de Enfermagem [online]. 2022, vol. 35, eAPE00121 [viewed 26 April 2022]. Available from:


Acta Paulista de Enfermagem – APE:


How to cite this post [ISO 690/2010]:

AMADOR, D.D. and MANDETTA, M.A. Construction and validation of a board game for children with cancer [online]. BlogRev@Enf, 2022 [viewed ]. Available from:


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