SwitchZoo

Common Sense Media says

Outstanding interactivity with an animal theme.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Getting to know the animals in the world and their habitats with fun games and cute reinforment along the way provides kids with a entertaining and positive experience.

 

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The site does use Google ads on the side bar of every page.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that because this site is in the kids.us domain, there are no outbound links. While there is not any real advertising, the expanded CD version of SwitchZoo is advertised for sale. However, kids will have so much fun with the free online version they may never notice.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • vocabulary
  • writing

Science

  • animals
  • biology
  • ecosystems

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • collecting data

Creativity

  • making new creations
  • producing new content

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

At first you might think this is a simple mix 'n' match game but there's more depth to it as kids consider habitat, diet, and sounds their new animal would make. Kids will get hooked on finding 34 "hidden" animals around the site.

Learning Approach

The freedom to mix and match animal species will unlock kids' creativity. As they do so, facts appear about each new part and writing prompts guide kids to consider how the new animal would survive.

Support

An extensive "Help" section assists with problems displaying animals. Users can also title and print their pictures.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • vocabulary
  • writing

Science

  • animals
  • biology
  • ecosystems

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • collecting data

Creativity

  • making new creations
  • producing new content

Kids can learn about animal diets, lifespans, habitats, and more. They can get just the facts in profiles of the 142 species at the site, or do activities that apply the info in meaningful ways, like determining an animal's best habitat or creating a new species and writing stories about whatever head-leg-tail combo kids make. Parents should prepare for endless rounds of "Did you know...?" With options for structured and independent play and some funny animal videos, the site offers lots to curious kids.

This Learning Rating review was written by Michelle Kitt

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What's it about?

The setting for this game is a very unusual zoo with nine different animal scenes, including a cheetah, a bear, a monkey, and six more. Click on the animal scene you want to visit: the elephant, for example. You'll see the base animal you've chosen, plus nine animal buttons on the bottom of the screen. Click "Head" and choose an animal button and you'll see the elephant's head transform into the animal you've selected. The realistic illustration smoothes out the transition between the new animal head and the elephant body so that it does look like a brand-new species. Don't miss the "Quick Switch" animals on the left. This lets you add in certain wildcard animals that are different at every location.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

At first you might think this is a simple "head of a bear, legs of a giraffe, tail of a crocodile" mix 'n' match game. It is, but there is more depth to it than that, as you'll see. Once you've gotten pretty good at the basics, you can step up the complexity by applying to be a zookeeper. You'll need to find 34 "hidden" animals around the site.

The site uses Flash, and there is an extensive "Help" section if you have problems displaying the animals. You can also title and print your pictures.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about animals and their habitats, make up funny names for the combined fantasy animals, and write captions for the pictures.

  • Do you have (or want) a pet? What kind of habitat would be best for your pet? Why don't wild animals make good pets?

Website details

Genre:Gaming
Pricing structure:Free

This review of SwitchZoo was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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