I saw this incredible site, FreeRice.com, mentioned at TreeHugger. The game is a simple concept: a word is shown, and you select the closest synonym from four choices. You’ll then be presented with a new word and choices. For every correct click, they will donate ten grains of rice to the United Nations’ World Food Programme. The site uses the first several words to estimate your vocabulary level and tailors the difficulty appropriately.
The implementation is wonderfully simple. There is no login, no registration required, and no e-mail address is needed. Just show up and start clicking. You can easily do it during downtime during work, between classes, or for a few minutes’ break at any time. It’s a great way to pass time, learn something, and help out an important cause. The distribution of difficulty levels ensures that people with a wide range of vocabulary levels will find the site engaging—the site easily found a level that would challenge me.
And you can be sure you’re effectively helping out a good cause. The money is donated directly to the U.N.’s World Food Programme, which as the food aid branch of the U.N. is the world’s largest humanitarian agency. (FreeRice.com is legitimate, too, so don’t worry.) Advertisers such as Office Depot, Apple, Fujitsu, and many more pay for rice. Their logos are small and unobtrusive at the bottom of the site, but I encourage you to patronize these businesses as a reward for supporting two excellent initiatives—stimulating learning and reducing world hunger