Online Game Review: Free Rice

free_riceFree Rice is an online trivia game that supports the United Nations World Food Programme. The concept is simple: answer a trivia question correctly and 10 grains of rice are donated to help end hunger around the world.

According to Common Sense Media, Free Rice is appropriate for children ages 9 and up. The default subject of the site is English vocabulary with questions like “Thanks means: gratitude, lady, assortment, or package?” Participants can also choose from a variety of subjects such as Chemistry, Geography and even SAT prep questions. Granted, many of these questions are too challenging for a 9 year old, but the questions aren’t so complicated that kids can’t make an educated guess.

On the surface this is a very simple trivia game that might not hold your interest for more than a few questions. However, the game employs critical thinking skills by encouraging kids and adults to think about poverty and hunger. This game could be used as a tool in the classroom to facilitate a discussion about these topics.

Users can create a login to track the amount of rice they’ve donated, but you don’t need a login to play. Keeping track of your score adds a competitive nature to the game.

From a consumer standpoint, the site includes some necessary advertising. For each correct answer, there is an ad banner of the company that will pay for the donated rice. I can’t help but question how they select the appropriate advertiser, given that most of mine were for the clothing store Anthropologie (a site I visited earlier today). Then again, it’s hard to criticize Free Rice for anything because the cause is so powerful.

In a review for Common Sense Media, Elizabeth Crane writes that “Free Rice successfully combines learning with social responsibility in a way that’s positively addictive.” This unique approach to ending world hunger is a great game to share, not just with children, but with people of all ages.

-Leanne Mobley

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