Well, I know I can personally go into a clicking trance on the internet with fairly little provocation and with no more motivation than a little free time. Be it gaming, reading blogs, news, or just random bits of info I’m interested in at the time, there I am, clicking it up. Although it can just be a bit of a time suck, did you know that you can click away your hours or days and play free games for charity? I know! Where does one sign up?
The website is www.freerice.com and it has a series of trivia games that are fairly basic, but also somewhat addictive, and can be used as learning tools for both the young and the young at heart. It’s totally free to play, and you don’t have to sign up to do it, although the benefits of signing up an account let you track how many grains of rice you’ve earned, join groups and other interesting social-ly stuff.
And yes, you heard me right, free rice actually is giving away free rice when you play. We all know that hunger is a huge problem in the world, which impacts not just peoples health, ability to fight off disease, energy levels and mood but it also impacts ones ability and capacity to learn. Without education and literacy it’s hard to get out of the poverty that often is the root cause of hunger. It’s a nasty circle. So here is a way you can help break it, without spending tons of money, in your jammies at 4 am or whenever you suddenly just get the need to make the world a better place.
When I started playing on freerice.com the only choice they had was English vocabulary. They would give you a word and then ask you to choose one that means the same thing. Each time you get a correct answer, you get 10 grains of rice donated to the UN World Food Programme thanks to the banner ads that sponsors pay for under your game. Each time you get an answer right it progressively gets harder. If you get it wrong, it will get easier and start repeating words, but you don’t win any rice. Should you be playing along at one of the higher levels of vocabulary there is also a sound tool so you can hear someone pronounce the new monstrosity that you have never before heard of. OK…maybe it’s not that bad…maybe.
If English isn’t your thing, the game has now expanded to include a bunch of new subjects, including a few other languages (great for self learning if you are interested in French, German, Spanish or Itallian), math, sciences (including human anatomy – which can actually be a pretty tough game of name that body part for those who don’t have a lot of bio training), SAT test preparation, chemistry, geography and even a few humanities like literature and famous paintings.
So, being a bit competitive I thought I’d give this a test and see how hard it would be to make it to the maximum level of each category. It was nice to know I could do the multiplication tables with ease. Basic math was pretty easy, except what the heck is 0^2? I know I’ve been out of school for a bit but…really? Since when was ^ part of math? Fortunately I guessed 0 and was right, free rice! WOOT! In the end I found out I was good at some categories and just horrible at others, so my quest for perfect levels continues. Good thing the repetition is there to teach you where you went wrong…if you have a good memory. I think the worst category was the literature one, since I kind of pride myself on being a book person, it was a bit humbling.
When you consider that 925,000,000 people don’t have enough to eat, 10 grains might not seem like much. Yet, if you go a little click happy, and you challenge your friends and/or family to try too, a few grains can become a lot. So far, the program has donated 96,509,903,510 grains of rice which works out to about 5,026,557 meals. So a little can go a long way.
So, if you are feeling click happy and philanthropic, or perhaps little Billy or
Sally need some fun online learning games, or you just wonder how good you
would be at that literature category (and seriously if you can get top level on that one my hat goes off to you!) why don’t you give it a test run? If you want to help make the world a better, fuller place, you can. For free. 10 grains at a time.