How do cute stuffed animals transform into an online animal world? With Webkinz, of course. Webkinz are collectible stuffed animals, much like beanie babies. Although unlike Beanies, Webkinz give access to an online world. Made by Ganz, these adorable animals come with codes for the owner to gain access to Webkinz World. Great idea.
Like I mentioned previously, one of my girlfriends sent us three in the mail. Lucy Goose, Hopscoth the Bunny and Roaring Lion. The kids and I eagerly set up our new rooms. On Webkinz, each animal is given a room that you can decorate as you wish. Each animal comes with 2000 kinzcash. You determine how to spend your money. Buying a bed and bathtub can quickly eat through your cash so on webkinz there are MANY opportunities to earn cash. You can get a job. Every 8 hours you can do your job and get cash. Do it well 3 times and you get a promotion, making more money the next time you do that job. You can play games at the arcade. Family friendly games! The better you do the more kinzcash you can earn. You can take surveys or spin the Wheel of Wow. But my favorite way to earn cash is Quizzy's Corner. A trivia game that is by age and subject. Every right answer earns you $5. Get it wrong and it eliminates your answer and still can get you cash. So even if you have no clue the answer, you can work through the responses until you find the answer. It is like test taking with no penalties for incorrect answers.
The makers of Webkinz wanted this to be a kid safe environment. And I have to say, as a parent I am thrilled with all the safety features they put in place. For one, they have a chat area but it is pre-made sentences. Easy for kids just learning to communicate over the internet. Then there is a Chat Plus option that parents must approve. But even there the kids a restricted on what they can say. Unacceptable words turn red and the message will not be sent. No personal names or numbers are accepted. Meaning no kid can give out their name or address to online predators.
All games are appropriate so there is no need to filter.
The only thing I do not like is the room theme option of a wizard. We are not into wizards, although I do understand many kids are into that. My kids know that wizard stuff is a no go for their rooms, and they seem to be fine with that.
Bonuses of playing:
Understanding of responsibility- You need to take care of your pet. Indicators tell you if it is happy, healthy or hungry. If you click everyday on the daily Kinzcare you earn cash and a free food item.
Knowledge of keyboard- I taught our son his username and password. By typing them in he is learning his way around the keyboard. The other day he completely shocked me when he was able to spell his 14 letter username from memory. Amazing! Made me wonder if he has a photographic memory. I plan to change his password periodically to words I want him to know how to spell and type.
Money management- You have to have money to buy food and furnish your home. If you spend it frivolously you will have to work harder to get more cash. It is a great model of how we need to prioritize our money. You need to eat more than you need new clothes. You can expand your home with new additions, such as rooms to make into a kitchen or bath. Or get an outdoor space so you can grow a garden or get exercise outside. These things cost big bucks, so plan and save to make it happen.
Generosity- You can make friends. You can send your friends letters and gifts. The kids love to do this. And boy do they get excited when they receive a letter.
Learning- With Quizzy's corner I read them the questions and they answer. Things I want my kids to know are being introduced to them in the context of fun.
Easy to use- Even little girl, nearing 4 can completely navigate her way around.
Fun- It is so much fun! Safe fun. My kids love it so much that it has become the most effective discipline tool I have.
Where else can you go to hunt for gems, make recipes or sort boxes to be shipped? Only in Webkinz world. If you have any questions I would love to answer them. For those considering purchasing a Webkinz for themselves or their kids, check out the parents area of the website for a tutorial. For a store that sells them near you, check out the store finder on the site. Most Hallmarks will have them. Hope your family enjoys it as much as we do.