ZulaWorld

Common Sense Media says

Virtual world based on popular PBS show makes science fun.

Age(i)

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

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

ZulaWorld uses safe chat to prevent bullying and swearing. Members communicate only with an approved list of other members and are only allowed to choose from a list of preapproved canned words and phrases such as, "Hi everybody."

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language

G-rated talk bubbles appear over avatars' heads when kids choose from a list of preapproved phrases such as, "Howdy fellow alien" and "Let's go listen to music."

Consumerism

No ads, not even in the episodes of The Zula Patrol TV show available for viewing.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that ZulaWorld is a safe and secure site for grade schoolers based on an award-winning PBS cartoon that teaches science, math, and astronomy. Kids need parents' emailed permission to join and cannot share personal information with others, only made-up "alien" names. Parents can monitor kids' progress via a control panel and receive weekly email reports of accomplishments. Kids have the option of enjoying most of ZulaWorld for free or paying $5.99 a month, $29.99 for six months or $49.99 a year, per member, for full access.

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

Aimed at kids ages 6 to 11, ZULAWORLD is based on the gorgeously rendered Saturday morning CG cartoon The Zula Patrol and its cast of smart alien heroes: Bula, Zeeter, Multo the scientist, and Gorga the space dog. At ZulaWorld, kids can design their own alien avatars and spaceships and earn rewards by playing games and completing missions as they wander the city of Zulapolis and blast off to other planets. The more Zlinkles -- ZulaWorld currency -- earned, the more clothes, pets, music, spaceship equipment, and land avatars can buy.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

ZulaWorld successfully blends teaching with virtual adventures to help kids learn basic math, science, and astronomy principles. It's a big site but has an excellent map and voice-enabled navigation bar. Kids can spend hours exploring ZulaWorld without paying a dime; even the site's best game, an addictive Space Invaders knockoff called Meteor Blast, is free. But to complete all the missions, equip spaceships, and fully interact with other avatars requires a monthly subscription fee. ZulaWorld is worth the price of admission despite needing some tweaks. It needs a better FAQ and more hover popups so new users don't have to guess before clicking. The interactive dictionary should be accessible at all times so kids can look up words whenever they want, not just when they've completed a task. ZulaWorld was out of beta but some parts were still under construction when I visited in June 2009. Overall, though, it gets a big thumbs up for great educational content wrapped in a fun virtual world.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the lessons in math and science ZulaWorld teaches and how they apply to everyday life. (Gravity, for instance.) Parents are encouraged to join ZulaWorld themselves and guide and participate in their child’s adventures, a nice idea if the family can afford another subscription.

Website details

Genre:Virtual Worlds
Pricing structure:Free

This review of ZulaWorld was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

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.

Find out more

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.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 8 years old June 19, 2010
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

cool

its cool.
What other families should know
Great messages
Parent of a 7 year old Written byjaqi January 2, 2010
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

For Inquisitive young minds

This is fantastic for kids who are interested in astronomy and ask lots of questions about the stars, moon, planets and space. Great blend of fun and new ideas. I have a 7 year old who is crazy about this site, and loves to walk his fweebs around zula world and play the various games.
What other families should know
Educational value

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass