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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ganz Webkinz - How do I love thee?

WebkinzYou are looking at the latest obsession in our household: Webkinz. Dylan and I are having an absolute blast on this site lately.

I first heard about Webkinz from my dad, and I was totally cynical. I've been on lots of kids' gaming sites, and must of them suck, quite frankly. But, my dad and step mom gave Dylan a Webkinz over the weekend, and I was blown away. This site is AWESOME, and it's also brilliant marketing, which I can certainly appreciate.

Here's how it works: You buy a Webkinz stuffed animal for about 10 bucks. It comes with a special code that you enter into the Webkinz site. This gives you access to the world of Webkinz. Your kid will be able to take care of the animal online, keeping it healthy, well-fed and happy, and buying it stuff. Dylan loves keeping track of those little meters on the lower left. When her animals (she has two) are hungry, she buys them food at the W Shop. She bought them a tub to give them baths, and she bought them a trampoline so that they could get exercise. In order to earn money, she plays games, does odd jobs (like virtual fence painting) and answers questions in categories such as social studies, health, math and science. One of the cutest things about this site is the fact that kids can create a list of friends. Dylan's cousin Jillie is on her friends list and they have been competing with each other in online tournaments every morning (while in NY, they actually competed side by side, but now they play virtually). You can chat and send notes to the friends on your list, but because this is targeted to small children, the messages can NOT be created from scratch. The kids pick a message topic (friendship) and then choose a pre-written message (You are my best friend in the whole world!). There's no opportunity for creepiness or adult pervert lurkers.

Oh! One more thing - this is great for girls AND boys. Room decor is available in themes that range from princess to candy to sports, and your kid will be able to choose the gender of the animal. Dylan's dog is a girl, and her monkey is a boy.

I know I sound like a paid spokeperson, but I have absolutely no affiliation with this company. I just love the site! If your kids are already on Webkinz, or if you get them an animal and an account, please feel free to invite us to be part of your friends' list. Dylan's username on the site is foodmomiac.

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