Sunday, August 19, 2007

Webkinz World - Who Knew!

I got indoctrinated into Webkinz World last weekend by my 7 year old grandson.

I asked him what he wanted for his birthday and he said Webkinz.

I, of course, being an old bat had no idea what he was talking about.

He said, "You know, Nana. on the computer."

To which I replied, "HUH!"

So, he said, "I'll show you," and off to my computer we went. Well, was I surprised when this whole involved website came up with a billion things for the kids to do. It was really quite fascinating seeing everything they had for the kids and their concept.

If you haven't heard about Webkinz then you'd be surprised to hear they are "plush pets" that the kids buy from select stores or on eBay and which they adopt. Each pet comes with a SECRET code that you input into your membership account and which allows you to set-up a room for your pet on Webkinz World to take care of them and to play with them.

According to my Grandson Webkinz are very BIG amongst his peers. They reminded me of the "beanie baby" craze of years ago.

Here's what Webkinz World says about their website:

What are Webkinz pets?

Webkinz pets are lovable plush pets that each come with a unique Secret Code that lets you enter Webkinz World and play with a virtual version of your pet.

What are all the cool things I can do in Webkinz World?

Where do we start? First, you adopt your pet and name it. Then you can custom design a room for it. You can play games in the Arcade, or compete against other players in tournaments. You can answer quizzes in Quizzy's Question Corner and enter contests, too. All of these things earn you KinzCash, which you can use to go shopping for your pet in our W Shop, where you can buy toys, furniture and clothes. There are stories to read and fun daily activities. The best part is that we add things to Webkinz World frequently, so it's always getting bigger and better.

How did you come up with Webkinz World?
GANZ Inc. has loved stuffed animals for a very long time. So we thought, wouldn't it be great to have a place where your stuffed animal came to life so that you could care for it like a real pet? To make the pet more real, we decided it could be happy or sad, healthy or sick, hungry or full. Taking care of your pet matters! Of course we wanted it to be as fun as possible so we added games and trivia and lots of fun items that we thought Webkinz owners would enjoy working for to purchase for their pet! Webkinz World will continue to grow and expand so that fans like you can enjoy your pet to the fullest.

It is really quite ingenious and quite involved as to everything you can do on Webkinz World. I was fascinated and immediately went to look-up where we could buy Webkinz for my Grandson in my area. When we found out there were three stores in my area off we went to hunt for Webkinz.

My Grandson had a particular Webkinz in mind and wanted to get that for his birthday. Unfortunately, the first stores selections weren't that great and he didn't like any of them. The next store had a much better selection and we bought three - none of which was the one he really wanted. For that, I surmised we'd have to hunt for it on eBay.

I, of course, had to buy one for myself as my Grandson wanted to be able to communicate with me in Webkinz World. So, for that I needed an account. I bought a bullfrog which I named after my Grandson's nickname and which I made into a "girl" frog. He named one of his new pets which was a dog after me and had turned it into a "boy." It's a long story. Suffice to say he's a girl in Webkinz World and I'm a boy in Webkinz World - the exact opposite of what we really are.

So, I set-up my account and printed my pet's "official adoption papers" and set about adding things to my pet's room. Well, to do that you need to "buy" virtual things with Webkinz cash. For buying and registering a Webkinz pet you earn so many thousand Webkinz dollars which you can use to start to furnish your room. The initial amounts don't go far as the furnishings can be pricey. So, of course, I was out of Webkinz cash very quickly.

So, I said to my Grandson," What now? I need more things for her room."

He said, "Well, Nana, you have to earn more Webkinz cash."

To which I replied, "How do I do that?"

He, of course, gave me the look that only a seven year old can give you when they are incredulous that you don't know!

Then he said, "You go to the wishing well and make 5 wishes. Then go to the cash cow video game and play it. That way you can earn Webkinz dollars which you can use to buy more things. Or, you can sell something you already bought and buy something else."

So, I earned some more Webkinz cash and was going to buy some more things for my pet's room when my Grandson asked if I was going to send him anything in Webkinz World. Of course, they have Webkinz email and Webkinz presents. Here you can send pre-defined email messages to "friends" on your list or send them up to 3 "presents" per day.

So, we each added each other as "friends" on our accounts so that we could send each other presents and email and I sent him some presents and he sent me some presents. We each sent each other a few pre-defined email messages.

On Monday I got a call from my Grandson telling me that he had sent me "something" in Webkinz World to help me furnish my pets room and asked if I had sent him anything. I told him that I hadn't had a chance to do so yet, but I would do it this afternoon or early this evening. He also told me he had sent me several Webkinz emails.

After I got off the phone I immediately went to the computer to see what my Grandson had sent me and read his emails. He had sent me several items that he didn't want for his room that I could sell to then buy some of the items I wanted for my pet's room. My room was bare so he sent me some things that I could sell. And, he had sent me emails that told me "We would be best friends FOREVER!" What a sweetheart! Music to a Nana's ears. How could I possibly love him anymore than I already did! If there was a way I would do so.

I then set about sending him some emails and some "gifts" that I could afford in my limited Webkinz budget as I hadn't earned any more Webkinz cash yet. I would, though, and would be sending my wonderful Grandson some more presents.

So, now each and every morning I check to see if my Grandson has sent me anything in Webkinz World. A couple of times he has and each and every time I am thrilled to see what it is he has sent or emailed.

It's an interesting concept and one that I like because it teaches kids the value of money (albeit virtual money). If they want to buy something they have to have enough Webkinz cash to do so or they have to earn more. Or, they have to sell something they already have.

There's a ton of things for the kids to do on the Webkinz website that I haven't quite explored yet. I'm sure my Grandson will tell me about them as I'm sure he's explored everything.

Hmmm.... I wonder if he sent me anything today. Off to Webkinz World I go.

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