In the game, kids are introduced to this challenge by watching a video of an actual child in Niger who asks for their help. Kids learn about how planting trees in Niger will help the people there to grow their food and change the ecosystem so that life is more sustainable in the desert. While playing, kids can also learn more about the partnering nonprofits Plant-it 2020 and the Eden Foundation.
While kids can enter this world for free, they can't contribute to the "Gaming for Good" quests without becoming paying members. Aimed at kids ages 8-14, membership starts at $5.95 for a month, $29.95 for 6 months, or $57.95 for a year. "Elf Island" uses part of this membership money to actually contribute to the non-profit partners to do good in the real world.
Jinny Gudmundsen is the kid-tech columnist for USA Today.com and Gannett News Service, and is also the editor of Computing with Kids.