DEPT® paired up with the Prudence Foundation to build Cha-Ching Money Adventures. Part of the 360-degree platform that is the Cha-Ching curriculum, this interactive game educates children around the world on the importance of earning, saving, spending, and donating.
A game for good
DEPT® joined in to build a game that would not only offer children a fun way to learn, but also counteract the financial illiteracy that affects over two-thirds of the world’s population. The need to prepare children for a bright financial future is becoming especially pressing in Asia and Africa, where by 2050, 80% of the world’s children will be living.
Studies show that children develop the foundation for financial behaviors by seven years old, but current curriculums lack basic financial literacy education. We worked closely with the Prudence Foundation to develop a game that would not only be appealing and engaging for children around the globe, but also educate them on how to navigate their financial futures.
Cha-Ching Money Adventures
Prudence foundation employs multiple programs targeted at making communities safer, more secure and resilient by addressing key issues in education, health and safety. One of their many programs, Cha-Ching, consists of a series of three-minute music videos, featuring six lively characters. The characters are members of a band that sings catchy songs about the fundamental money management concepts of Earn, Save, Spend and Donate. Prudence Foundation partnered with Cartoon Network Asia to expand the impact of Cha-Ching to over 35 million households daily in 2021.
Our Melbourne-based DEPT® team began working with the Prudence Foundation to create a game that would extend the fun and learning of the Cha-Ching program. Targeted at children between the ages of 8 and 10, Cha-Ching Money Adventures is a cross-platform web-based interactive game.
Initially launched in eight countries across South Asia and Africa, the mission behind the game is to offer children an engaging interactive experience that teaches them critical 21st century skills. After the initial English launch in October 2022, it was launched in five more languages, including Bahasa Malaysia & Indonesia, Thai, Vietnamese and French. Through mastering tasks and activities, players can build positive behaviors for money management and future financial decisions.
Learning by doing
The game is a structured, teacher-led program that consists of six modular sessions. Available across desktop and mobile, it leads children through six adaptive learning modules, each with story-driven activities focused on targeted learning goals. The play experience is linked to the Cha-Ching band, with different narratives in each module around the character and their band facing different financial challenges.
The first stop on the journey is focused on Earn. As a member of the Cha-Ching Band, the player is prompted with the task of earning enough money to buy a tour van. They are challenged to take on different jobs while maintaining their wellbeing and determining their likes and dislikes from the experiences.
Once they have earned enough money, they travel on to Save. Here, the task is to calculate a savings plan. Reminders to eat healthy lunches and get a good amount of sleep are sprinkled in throughout the tasks.
Next stop focuses on Spend, where players calculate the money they’ve earned throughout the game and play around with the concept of “spending wisely.” The task is to purchase a go-kart by determining what is a “need” vs. a “want.”
Finally, after passing through and playing a few concerts along the way, the player ends at Donate. Here, they have a chance to choose places to donate time, money and/ or items based on the needs of the recipient and the skills of the different benefactors. The focus of this section is on the good feeling and positive outcomes of sharing resources with those in need.
Every module provides parental tips and assessment feedback that offer opportunities to take the learning further offline.
A pilot study conducted in early 2022 in partnership with the Education Development Centre in Manila showed that children who played the game for two weeks scored higher on a financial literacy assessment. In addition, the game is shown to have helped catalyze parent-child conversations about money, a key factor in promoting financial literacy among children.
The game is not only achieving great academic results–it’s also fun! More than 700 children and parents played the games after the soft launch in early 2022 in the Philippines and rated it 4.87 out of 5 stars.
Now a year after its launch, Cha-Ching Money Adventures has won two silver Anthem Awards, received an honorable mention for serious play at the Australian Game Developer Awards (AGDAS) and is set to wow audiences at the Games for Change conference in New York in July.
Managing Director Family & Kids, DEPT®