Webkinz are toy stuffed animals that have a playable online counterpart in “Webkinz World”. Webkinz were originally released by the Canadian toy company Ganz on April 29, 2005. The toys are similar to many other small plush toys, however, each Webkinz toy has an attached tag with a unique “Secret Code” printed on it that allows you to play with your pet in the “Webkinz World” website. On Webkinz World, the Secret Code allows the user to own a virtual version of the pet for online play.
The Webkinz World is an online play area with its own economy completely controlled by Ganz. The user receives money (called KinzCash) by adopting new pets, playing online games, answering general knowledge questions, and through daily activities like clicking “I love my Webkinz!”, spinning the Wheel of WOW, playing Wishing Well 2, or completing jobs (minigames) available once every 8 hours. Each day, there is a Game of the Day which can be played for bonus KinzCash, and other bonuses are available each hour, full days on weekends and afternoons only on weekdays. With each Webkinz toy purchased, more money, rooms, and items are added to the user’s account.
Sales of plush Webkinz and Lil’kinz are limited to the United States and Canada, however virtual pets can be purchased from the Ganz eStore by international residents. Secret Codes issued in conjunction with virtual pets can be used the same way as Secret Codes attached to plush pets.
Deluxe members get free Ganz eStore points every month.
Why Kids Love Webkinz World
Webkinz World is a bright, colorful place filled with cute animals, simple video games, chat areas, shopping malls and more. Some kids may enjoy chatting with each other and shopping for clothes for their virtual Webkinz. Others may play games to earn money to add to the houses where their Webkinz live. Kids actually enjoy working towards financial and educational goals on the site and will spend as many hours as you allow exploring and playing.
Notes to Parents:
If you choose to buy a Webkinz, realize that you will need to monitor your child as he or she plays on the Internet. Once kids are online, it is easy for them to surf to unsavory places. Webkinz world is a place where children will learn to be comfortable in an online environment. By giving your kids this toy your are encouraging them to develop online skills. That’s great as the world is increasingly an online place. You just want to be sure that while they are learning online skills, they are also learning online responsibility.