Best Virtual Worlds for Teens, Tweens and Kids
Description: “Wizard101 is an online, multiplayer, Wizard school adventure game with collectible card magic, wizard duels, and far off worlds! The game allows players to create a student Wizard in an attempt to save Wizard City and explore many different worlds.”
Review: If your kids love Harry Potter, they are going to love this. I like that this virtual world is more than just “chat and play games” it has a cool theme and interesting layout.
Description: A virtual world for kids with penguin avatars where they can chat, play games and hang out.
Review: Club Penguin seems to be very addictive for those who play. I like this virtual world, but doesn’t seem to stick for those about 11.
Description: “Join Teens from all over the globe in Teen Second Life – a 3D virtual world created by you and for you. Create, learn new skills, start a business, meet new people — it’s your world, your imagination.”
Review: This website is much, much edgier than some of the other cartoony sites. I do not know many teens on Teen Second Life, but it is much more like a grown-up playground with more controls than open Second Life.
Description: “Webkinz pets are lovable plush pets that each come with a unique Secret Code. With it, you enter Webkinz World where you care for your virtual pet, answer trivia, earn KinzCash, and play the best kids games on the net!”
Review: A little less Disney polished than Club Penguin, but I like that it seems to grow and change quicker and stay up with what kids want who are in their playing. A bit older than Club Penguin crowd as well.
Description: “This is a supercool and beautifully designed new online social game for kids who are ready for more than Club Penguin but who are too young for mySpace. The game transports kids into a secret world where they can chat with friends, play mini-games, complete urgent quests – and grow up virtually from 10 to 18 as they collect points.”
Review: I like that this feels a bit older for the tween crowd. It’s also not too expensive at only $30 a year.
Description: Toon Town USA is a website for kids from the Walt Disney Company. It uses familiar characters from Disney to interact with users.
Review:”I think this is great because it lets kids do more with Disney Characters than just watch them on TV or see them at Disneyland. ”
Description: Mattel’s site for girls and their online Barbies.
Review: Although I loved Barbie, I am not sure how I feel about the image it portrays to young girls about how they should look. Also, I feel like half of the fun of barbie is braiding her hair…in real life, not on the game. Cool back-up none-the-less.
Description: “Our site was created with many features to help ensure a safe experience for your child and has been monitored for safe play since day one.”
Review: I might be a bit biased because I LOVE Build-a-Bear and this is the perfect continuation of the Build-a-Bear workshops into the online world.
Description: “On SecretBuilders, children will explore virtual lands, undertake quests, play games, maintain a home, nurture a pet, and interact with their friends. Three features which form the backdrop for SecretBuilders distinguish it from other online worlds: Children learn through immersing themselves in the stories, themes, and concepts from the best in literature, arts and humanities. They will interact with famous historical and fictional figures and be introduced to content and characters from world civilization and the great thoughts and ideas of human creativity. They also create and publish their own worlds — writings, art and videos.”
Review: I like that this site allows kids to upload their own works of art so they are not jsut interacting, but creating. I also think the integration of historical figures and lessons is quite clever.
Description: “Whyville’s millions of registered “citizens” come from all over to learn, create, and have fun together. Whyville is their world. Whyville has places to go, things to do, and of course, people to see. Whyville has its own newspaper, its own Senators, its own beach, museum, City Hall and town square, its own suburbia, and even its own economy – citizens earn “clams” by playing educational games.”
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