By Cheryl Mahoney
When you’re on the computer and looking for something to pass a little time (call it procrastination, call it a break, call it what you will!), computer solitaire is an easy answer. When that fails me, I like Tetris. There’s something addictive about all those blocks. There’s another option I like even more though. Recently I wrote about Goodsearch, a more philanthropic alternative to Google. This time, I have an alternative to computer solitaire. Wouldn’t it be great to do some good while just passing computer time? That’s where FreeRice.com comes in.
The home page has a vocabulary game. You’re presented with a definition, and four possible words. Click the one that has the correct meaning, and twenty grains of rice are donated to a hungry person somewhere in the world. FreeRice donates food through the UN World Food Program. The rice is paid for by sponsors, and all the money FreeRice raises goes directly to the Food Program.
This game is at least as entertaining as computer solitaire. There’s even a personal challenge aspect to it, like trying to reach ever higher levels in Tetris. As you continue playing, choosing more correct words will advance you through skill levels; getting a word wrong drops you down again–and nothing is donated for wrong answers. I’m an English major so I like vocabulary, but if that doesn’t appeal, the site has recently introduced other subjects to play similar games with: everything from identifying famous paintings to identifying chemical symbols.
So computer solitaire or Tetris might seem the easy answers for bored computer moments, but FreeRice.com is an even better one–it’s fun to do, it helps you, and it helps others. That beats piling up multi-colored blocks, doesn’t it? : )