Right after we adopted our Boxer puppy last Spring, my then 3 year-old daughter decided she needed to have her own puppy, too. Actually, two puppies. Imaginary puppies — Holly and Polly! I have no idea what kind of dog they are but they have been with us this entire last year. She loves to talk about Holly and Polly, how well they behave, what they like to eat, how big they are getting. Don’t get me wrong, she loves our Boxer to pieces…she just likes to have her own puppies that she’s in charge of, too!
Honestly, it never really occurred to me to buy my daughter her own stuffed puppies that she could pretend were Holly and Polly. After all, she has plenty of stuffed animals! But then I learned about Webkinz Jr.! Sure, I had heard of Webkinz from my nieces but thought my daughter was a bit too young for those. Now, with Webkinz Jr., she can join in on the fun her cousins are having but with an online experience tailored toward her age group (3-6yrs)!
WHAT ARE WEBKINZ JR?
Webkinz Jr. is a two part experience. First, they are these amazingly plush stuffed animals! I was amazed at how soft and snuggly they are! My daughters each received a puppy (one blue, one pink) from Webkinz Jr. and those puppies are toted around everywhere with us!!! They are also completely safe for even my 2 year old since they are free of any plastic eyes or noses that could potentially come loose. This made me like the Webkinz Jr. plushes even more! Oh, and they are available in the most adorable creatures — frog, elephant, bunnies, giraffe, bear, puppies, monkeys, and kitty.
Second, each Webkinz Jr. comes with an interactive online experience. I know a lot of parents are hesitant to allow their preschooler and early elementary age children to pay online. It can be a scary place! However, the Webkinz Jr. site has far exceeded my expectations! The site not only requires a parent to register for the child (which allows the parent to have control over different aspects of the online experience) but the page the child will be playing on is free of third party advertising and free of toolbars.
When you first register on WebkinzJr.com you will enter the code that came with your Webkinz Jr. plush and your child will have the opportunity to name their pet. This code brings your child’s new plush friend to life online. Now it is time for the fun! At your pet’s home your child can feed her, bathe her, play, or put her to bed. But the fun doesn’t end there! Your child can also take their pet for adventures around the virtual neighborhood!
Your child can take their pet to the post office to create postcards, to the grocery store to do some shopping, and even going on field trips to the fire station to learn all about fire fighters! My daughter’s favorite thing to do though is to take her puppy to the school where she gets to do all sorts of learning activities like math, creating machines, and color matching. Every part of the site offers some sort of fun and educational value to your child.
But your will also learn about responsibility! Much like a real pet, your child will need to make sure their virtual pet is being taken care of. Meters at the bottom of the screen let your child know if their pet is hungry, tired, bored, or just needs some attention.
MY THOUGHTS, AS A PARENT:
I really love the WebkinzJr.com experience! The plush animals are great and my daughters love playing and snuggling with them, but the online experience is really just amazing. The user interface is fun and easy to use and the games are easily customizable depending on the age/educational levels of your child. This makes the whole experience that much better because it’s not something your child will necessarily out-grow right away. It also means that if your child is more advanced at language skills than math skills, you can adjust those levels individually! You can also add animals to your child’s account each time get a new plush pet by entering in their Jr. Pet Code, found on the tag of the plush.
Overall, I would definitely recommend Webkinz Jr. if you have a child at the preschool age. They will love their new animal friend and that they get to bring their new friend to life online! Finally my daughter has a way to bring Holly and Polly to life!!!
*Disclaimer: I did receive two Webkinz Jr. plush pets from Webkinz so that I (and my daughters) could get a first hand experience with the product in order to bring you an accurate and personal review!