Children playing games online, conversing with other kids through safety-filtered monitoring, enjoying activities and challenges with their penguin avatar in a winter setting – what fun! Now imagine that these kids are not only playing games, but are building skills in their imagination, problem-solving, teamwork, socializing. In addition, they are encouraged to be part of a “community”; one which emphasizes social responsibility and the power of the individual to effect change. Wow!
Disney’s Club Penguin does all that and more. Through various activities and games, children play and learn at the same time. They can earn points which translate into real dollars that go toward charitable causes, real-life issues in the world involving people, communities and the environment. Through gaming, kids can and have impacted the fates of endangered species, as well as hunger, the building of schools, poverty and disasters – and the environment.
As part of Global Citizenship, kids are exposed to geography – and issues involving people, current events, wildlife and the environment particular to certain areas of the planet. They then “work”, through their online activities, to contribute toward these causes. The points earned are translated into real dollars, real help for the listed issues. It’s an interesting, modern-day way to teach kids these things, and encourage their worldly interests and involvement.
Coins for Change, as this part is called, enables kids to donate their coins from the games to promote positive change in the world. In 2010, one million dollars was donated to fund schools, playgrounds and medical centers in needy communities, protect children from violence, establish safe schools and fund projects like clean water programs in war-torn areas, as well as for protecting rain forests, wetlands, and the endangered antelope.
The importance of the next generation to learn about the realities of our world and their ability to make changes for a better one, is certainly paramount. With busy working parents and overburdened schools, along with the young generation’s exposure to online activities, this seems to be a great avenue for that learning. And with Club Penguin, our children get the opportunity to learn a bit about protecting our planet.