In the US, Allstate and the Olympic Committee have launched an online contest to spread the Olympic spirit and the passion for sport through the Web and in particular within the Chicagoland-area. Six to twelve years old children are invited to design their dream playground and earn the chance to win cash awards and prices.
The website is very nicely designed in Flash with beautiful visuals and smooth animations. Even if I'm not exactly in the target audience, I loved it :-)
The website scope might sound a bit weird at first, but it makes more sense if you know the context in which it is developed. Allstate is among the sponsors of the US Olympic team, and some time ago it started its committment to build new playgrounds across the nation.
Yourplayground.com has the final goal to get inspired by kids in the design of the next playground Allstate is going to build in the Chicago area. In this sense I very much like the idea of using the Web to connect with the kids, the end users of the park Allstate wants to launch.
From an educational point of view, I'm only very concerned by the idea of giving away money prizes to very young kids. As explained in the press release, three contest winners will receive $1,000 in sports equipment for their school, a $500 savings bond, a $250 Visa gift card (and a chance to participate in an online Chicago Children's Museum design exhibit in 2009). I feel money prizes to teens give too much value to money itself. I'm sure there are other rewards of the same value that might mean more to them, get them more excited and avoid they get involved too early in the worship of money.