With Christmas approaching and our attic groaning with the weight of yet-to-be-wrapped presents from ‘Santa’, I’ve been scouring the web for child focused events and activities that reflect the true meaning of Christmas. You know, the Miracle on 34th Street sort of thing.
I found the perfect event, an inspiring fundraising campaign which gives children as young as 6 the opportunity to make a difference in the real world. A campaign where children are encouraged to talk about and make their own choices about causes they want to support, be it providing medical help or building safe places for those less fortunate, or protecting their planet.
Ever the cynic, when I checked and re-checked the URL, I nearly choked on my coffee. To be fair, the cheery penguin logo should have given it away.
In any case, I am pleased, and rather surprised, to be telling you all about the 4th Annual Coins for Change on Disney’s Club Penguin.
From December 17th to December 27th, your little penguins can waddle up to the colourful Coins For Change area in Club Penguin and vote for their preferred cause (Provide Medical Help, Build Safe Places, or Protect the Earth) using the virtual coins they’ve earned through playing games on Club Penguin.
At the end of the campaign, Disney Online Studios uses the votes made in the virtual world to divvy up a $1 million donation to charitable causes in the real world, such as Warchild, Free the Children, Wildlife Conservation Network, Partners in Health, Children’s Surgical Centre and Rare. Watching the final results unfold on January 4th promises to be a remarkable opportunity for the kids to see that their actions, however small, do make a difference.
Please help us promote this campaign by sharing it, tweeting, and clicking the Like button at the bottom of this article. And above all, please encourage your kids to get involved!
But can a computer game really help us sneak good stuff into our kids?
As a parent I really do hope that I’ve managed to be a good role model for my kids, but I’m also a big fan of the “education by stealth” concept. Others call it “learning through play”, but let’s call it what it is – sneaking lots of good stuff into our kids while they think they are just playing games. It works for learning phonics, or how to count, and for learning to take turns… but can it also work to reinforce morals and social responsibility?
Consider the kids who play Club Penguin, who in previous Coins for Change fundraising events helped more than two million people get medical care, enabled 200,000 less privileged children to go to school and helped protect more than a dozen endangered species and their habitats. Whichever way you cut it, that has got to be a good thing.
These kids could have used their hard earned virtual coins on cute little penguin accessories to show off to their friends, but instead they have chosen to use their coins towards a good cause. They’ve actively and independently decided which real-world causes are the most important to them, and cast their vote.
As a parent, I can’t help but feel moved that children as young as 6 are choosing to do something to make the world a better place. And I can’t help but be impressed that Disney’s Club Penguin are really getting into the Christmas spirit – not the commercial side, but the spirit of giving and of helping those less fortunate and reinforcing those values in our children.
Unable to look at the Free the Children website (of one of Club Penguin’s partner charities) without welling up, I’ve instead spent some time reading reviews of a 5* rated parenting book written by their founder, Craig Kielburger. “The World Needs Your Kid: How to Raise Children Who Care and Contribute”, begins with a foreword by the Dalai Lama, and has contributions from such names as Desmond Tutu, Mia Farrow and Jane Goodall, and “practical advice and inspiring stories to engage both a child’s gifts and passion”. I can safely say this is something I’ll be ordering later today! I’ll also be giving away 2 copies of the book as an incentive for helping spread the world about this campaign.
Please join us in supporting this important campaign
- Click the Facebook Like button at the bottom of this article
- Digg it
- Share with your friends and followers on all your favourite websites and social media
- Blog about it
- Tweet Kids make a difference in the real world with #coinsforchange on #clubpenguin : http://reallykidfriendly.com/coinsforchange
As added incentive for helping promote this campaign, on December 27th we’ll be choosing two of our “sharers” to win some nice goodies kindly provided by Club Penguin:
- A sharer chosen at random will get a copy of The World Needs Your Kid: How to Raise Children Who Care and Contribute and a Club Penguin Puffle.
- Our most prolific sharer will get a copy of The World Needs Your Kid: How to Raise Children Who Care and Contribute and a Club Penguin Puffle and a very cool Ninja Penguin.
PS – we can track your Twitter entries, but for other social media please tell us you’ve done it so we can make sure your name is in the hat!