The problem with most computer games and web portals for kids is that they keep kids glued to the computer, with no incentive to go outside and simply have fun. A new company, MokuZoku, aims to change all of that with a series of games that motivate kids to get out and play.
“MokuZoku is tackling a growing problem facing childhood development– too much time in front of computer and television screens, and not enough unstructured outdoor play. We’re revolutionizing how kids learn and play by creating an interactive world where online games motivate kids to get outside and learn about their environment. In doing so, we hope to stimulate a movement back to a simpler, healthier form of play and adventure that extends far beyond their computer. By partaking in our unique hybrid of online gaming and outdoor activity, children develop the connection with nature that is so essential to human mental and physical development.”
MokuZoku just launched, and some great things are still to come. An outdoor component will be added to the games, with outdoor gaming gear that provides an access code to the website, so kids can participate in outdoor challenges to earn MokuBerries. This piece is a key difference to other online kids games – one that gives an incentive to get out and play, by getting credit for outside activities.
Founders Joshua Baylin and Scott Pardo are also committed to giving back. The company donates 10% of its profits to the animals (and their habitats) featured in the MokuZoku games, and are forming partnerships with organizations and companies devoted to sustainability and social action, such as the Pollinator Partnership.
The company volunteers with World Camp, a non-profit organization utilizing education as a tool to empower children in impoverished communities around the world. They traveled to Malawi, Africa to feed over 2,000 schoolchildren and to teach them about issues such as HIV/AIDS prevention, nutrition, gender equality, environmental awareness and human rights. MokuZoku also planted over 1,500 trees in Malawi, based on the points earned by kids playing the game (it added up to one tree planted for every two minutes that kids played the MokuZoku).