Zoo Whiz is a customizable online learning site where kids can play games and collect animals to put in their very own “zoo”. If you have a child who likes to play games like Webkinz or Club Penguin, they will probably like this, and they will get to practice reading, math, grammar and other skills while they are playing!
First, your child will get to select their own zoo keeper character. There are several to choose from, and my son had fun with this! Then it’s on to the games. For this review, we got to check out the Premium Zoologist Subscription, which allows you more access to activities, games and animals. As the parent, you also get more control over the content of the activities with this subscription as well as detailed progress reports.
What I liked most about Zoo Whiz was how you could customize it specifically for your child’s ability level. You can choose an age floor your child to work in (i.e. ages 7-11 for math). This allows your child to work where they are at, and as they progress, you simply move them up. My son enjoyed playing the learning games, and didn’t need a lot of help from me once he got started. As they play, kids earn coins they can spend on animals at the Biodome, or on arcade games (my son usually spent about half his money on animals and half on games).
He actually enjoyed the reading games a bit more than the math in this case, and I found the grammar and punctuation to be excellent practice for him.
My son assembled quite a large collection of animals too. Zoo Whiz sets up the animals so the “rare” species (like a phoenix) cost more than others. Saving up to collect one of these animals is good motivation to play the learning games. I liked that you could learn about each animal you collected (i.e. their habitat, whether or not they were endangered etc.). The only drawback to this game is that once you buy an animal, that’s it. Currently there is no working “zoo” area that allows kids to interact and play with the animals like some other websites do. As motivated as my son was to buy the animals, I could see how he could possibly become bored with this after a while. The good news is, Zoo Whiz is still being developed and new stuff is going to be added (including printable achievment certificates), so that should hold your kids interest for a while.
On the whole, I would say Zoo Whiz is a great supplement if you want some extra practice for your children. It is by no means a complete curriculum, but if you have a child that enjoys animals and computer games, this website would be ideal for you. Zoo Whiz also allows you to create a free account (with limited access to the site) so you can check it out before you sign up! Zoo Whiz is currently on sale for $14.95 for a one year subscription, and I think that’s a great price. Prices do change, so you may want to get it while it’s on sale. To learn more about Zoo Whiz, check out the website here:
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**Disclaimer: I was given free access to this product for the purpose of writing this review. All opinions expressed are my own.