What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this delightful educational site for kids 8 to 12 was created by staff members at the Center for Gifted, a hands-on enrichment program based in Chicago. It’s safe and clean learning fun, and though not quite finished when we visited in September 2009, already offers enough free games and activities to keep grade schoolers busy for hours. (There's also a handful of nice games for preschoolers.) If the social networking tools still under development are as well executed as the rest of the site so far, and the creators deliver fresh games every two weeks as promised, it will be well worth the monthly subscription. Parents can wait until the site's finished before joining, or give kids full access to games now with the option to cancel at any time.
Is it any good?
The clunky name aside, KidzClix is one impressive new "edu-tainment" site for tween-somethings. Even sans the social networking tools that are still under development, the site offers wonderful entertainment and educational features both boys and girls can love. The engaging content doesn't talk down to kids. The graphics, which range from pretty sepia-toned storybooks with turning pages to Monsters, Inc-quality characters, is simply enchanting. Quirky games and videos make the dullest subjects, such as recycling, fun to learn about. Even the theme song rocks.
The site isn’t perfect. The main screen's tiny buttons and typefaces are almost impossible to read and switching between games is way too hard. More back buttons, please. But with a few tweaks, KidzClix could soon be giving other pre-teen social networking sites like ZulaWorld and Miss O & Friends a run for their money.
Online interaction: The social networking features weren't ready when we visited shortly after launch in September 2009. When completed they will include themed chat rooms, virtual rooms, friending and "clixatars", the KidzClix version of an avatar.
Families can talk about...
KidzClix profiles kids who are making a positive difference in their communities. For instance, a 12-year-old girl gives the money she makes from selling customized flip-flops to local charities. How might kids use their own special talents or interests to make the world a better place?
KidzClix gives kids a taste of art, science, math, environment preservation and lots of other disciplines. Which games are the most fun? Discuss the kinds of careers that require these different types of specialized knowledge.