Parents' Guide to


By Leslie Crenna, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 7+

Educational concept relies on consumerism for motivation.

Kids-n-Bids Poster Image

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What you will—and won't—find in this website.

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The Kids-n-Bids concept sounds like a super effective way to motivate kids at first glance: Kids test their skills at different school subjects and, based on their play, earn points that can be redeemed for real toys. Unfortunately, the repetitive nature of the quizzes, noneffective leveling, and overall lack of genuine feedback and information really hamper this site. The science and social studies sections have good information, but kids would really benefit from the chance to read or hear about the material before being quizzed on it. For all sections, correct-answer feedback on mistakes with perhaps an explanation and some kind of report that tracks overall progress would help as well. As it stands, kids simply continually fill in answers and return to the main menu after every set. Comic characters (such as Moodles the host and Atchison K. Ferguson) are cute but flat, and the carnival theme song is bouncy, but it's the only one and you can't mute it.

Auctions are kid-friendly in some aspects but not all: Although a lot of items are offered, there's no explanation of what auctions actually are. Some deadlines are set in the middle of the night for most U.S. time zones and frequently shift without explanation. Plus, the "minutes left to bid" counter doesn't update without reloading the page. The missed opportunities are disappointing. Why not use the auction format to teach kids about time zones, adding and subtracting time, deadlines, and whether it's reasonable for adults to stay up late to bid in a kids' auction? Consumerism and learning aside, the auction experience of Kids-N-Bids will get kids' hearts racing, but it fails to deliver the anticipated excitement -- until the toy arrives on the doorstep, of course.

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