A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this website.
Kids identify their pets' moods by watching their facial expressions, as well as their hunger, sleepy, and happy meters. Age-appropriately, there's no chat or friends components on this site for kids age 3-6.
Products & Purchases
You have to buy a Webkinz Jr. plush toy for about $25, or pay for a code to gain access to this site. The logo of the Webkinz parent company, GANZ, is on each page, and there's an ad for the Webkinz catalog on the main page. In the Webkinz Jr. virtual world, kids spend coins on items like clothes and furniture for their pet, which they earn by playing games. There's an extra fee for the deluxe version of the site that gives parents more reports on their child's progress in games and gives kids access to more features on the site.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that while we don't recommend kids this young play alone on the computer, WEBKINZ JR. is so easy to navigate that most 3- to 6-year-olds could easily do so. There's no reading required, and many of the games teach preschool- and kindergarten-relevant skills like shapes, letters, and numbers, as well as emotional awareness, map knowledge, and matching skills. Parents have their own login and area to set their child's skill levels and manage the account.
Is It Any Good?
Once you set the difficulty settings for your child's ability level on his or her WEBKINZ JR. account, this site is so easy to navigate that it takes very little if any parental assistance even for preschoolers. The same basic Webkinz world applies here, but without chat features. Each Webkinz animal -- a dog or monkey, for example -- gets its own little house, park, store, and classroom, and it's up to your child to take care of it. No doubt, this site promotes computer use at a very young age. But there are many educationally appropriate games for the pre-K and K set on this site. And the confidence they build by being able to navigate a safe, adorable, intuitive site on their own makes this site among the top picks for the youngest computer users.
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