Playwala

Common Sense Media says

Gaming site attempts to mix charity and play.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The site encourages users choose to support one or more nonprofit causes that help kids, adults, or animals both locally and globally.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language

Users create puzzles and word lists without supervision or approval, so anything goes. It's possible to create or stumble upon an inappropriate word, list, clue, or puzzle.

Consumerism

A few banner ads advertise related activities like fundraising and puzzle-making websites. The site vaguely implies that donating to causes or purchasing charitable items leads to some benefit for the user. Playwala asks for tips and automatically suggests $25 donations with a $2 tip.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Kids can create a password-protected account. A news feed displays users' game achievements and donations to causes. Kids who click on "Donate" are routed to PayPal where an adult can log in to approve the transaction.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this gaming and fundraising site does benefit its listed causes, but more so by clicking "Donate" than by playing games. Playwala collects donations via PayPal, so an adult has to log in and approve before forking over the cash. The partner organizations do get the donations (SPARR sent a personal thank you note and lists donors as sponsors on its animal's webpages). Other "do good" activities are less clear. One section lists charitable items for sale but they are random (paintbrushes, an "I love Daddy" bib, a bus pass) or unfamiliar ($100 for something called "Nomex for energy pathway program") and have no details about their contents or who they help. Kids can play games or create puzzles on their own, but there are no controls over the puzzles they and other users create.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Social Studies

  • cultural understanding
  • global awareness

Skills

Emotional Development

  • empathy
  • perspective taking

Responsibility & Ethics

  • respect for others

What Kids Can Learn

While Playwala was created with educational intent, it appears to have limited learning potential. Kids can learn a little about a handful of charitable causes that help people and animals locally and internationally. None of the games or user-created puzzles provide much educational benefit, but kids may like that they can wave a flag for the cause of their choice without spending a dime. The link between playing games and doing good is weak at best.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Social Studies

  • cultural understanding
  • global awareness

Skills

Emotional Development

  • empathy
  • perspective taking

Responsibility & Ethics

  • respect for others

While Playwala was created with educational intent, it appears to have limited learning potential. Kids can learn a little about a handful of charitable causes that help people and animals locally and internationally. None of the games or user-created puzzles provide much educational benefit, but kids may like that they can wave a flag for the cause of their choice without spending a dime. The link between playing games and doing good is weak at best.

This Learning Rating review was written by Michelle Kitt

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's it about?

Kids can access Playwala’s activities without registration but with an account, and can show support for one of a handful of charitable causes, which displays in their profiles. Simple navigation on the top and sides lead kids to causes, games, or word puzzles. Kids can click \"Donate\" to help a cause directly (via PayPal) or can purchase something charitable from a selection of randomly chosen, sometimes mysterious items. Donations are reported in a news feed but don’t seem to cue rewards or unlock other benefits.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Playing games for charity is a fabulous idea for an age group that often gets involved in "swim-," "hoop-," or "jump-a-thons" to raise money. But unlike those "-a-thons," Playwala falls short showing how playing X game benefits Y cause.  It boils down to "pick a cause and make a donation." Playwala reminds us why we’re all here -- widgets can display causes on homepages, companies that support non-profits can post jobs, and kids will feel good when their donations get recognized. But the games are easy, the word puzzles are hit-and-miss, and without good social tools, kids can’t connect with others who support the same issues. It's a noble concept, but kids don't have a lot of money, so Playwala needs lots of kids making lots of little donations to make an impact. As is, the site is not robust enough to attract them.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how money is spent in a virtual store versus a real online retailer. Read Common Sense Media’s Learning the Value of a Virtual Dollar.

  • How can you make difference without donating money? Kids typically don’t have a lot of spare change to give, but they can appreciate the value of donating clothing, food, toys, or time.

Website details

Genre:Civic Engagement
Pricing structure:Free

This review of Playwala was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

Write a user reviewThere aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?
Thanks – we appreciate your feedback!

Essential School Tools