What are Webkinz?
Webkinz are lovable plush animals manufactured by Ganz, a Canadian toy and giftware company. Ganz was founded in 1950 by Holocaust survivor Samuel Ganz and his two sons. This third generation family business is still owned and operated by the Ganz family. There are many types of Webkinz—normal pets, wild animals, mythical creatures, and some are completely made up. New Webkinz characters are released each month, like the Zombie Pup coming in August! Webkinz can be found in select toy stores and upscale gift shops around the world. Check out all of the Webkinz that are available at Amazon.com – I counted nearly 300 different ones!
What is Webkinz World?
In April 2005, Ganz launched Webkinz World, a kid-safe interactive virtual environment. The site includes a lot of ads, but they can be blocked. What’s unique about Webkinz is that every plush pet comes with a secret code that’s used to log into Webkinz World. Once inside Webkinz World, players can feed and care for their pets, decorate and furnish homes for their pets, answer trivia questions, play arcade games, collect prizes, chat with their friends, and much more! They can even do odd jobs to earn KinzCash—a virtual currency that players can use to pay for food, clothing, and treats for their pets. Webkinz World is family-friendly, educational, and fun! Take a tour of Webkinz World.
Who Plays Webkinz World?
Originally designed for boys and girls aged 6-12, today there are Webkinz fans of all ages as the early players have grown up. Yes, even teenagers enjoy playing it! As Zoey says, “Hey, I’m a highschooler (yes, sophomore in high school) who uses Webkinz quite often.” Rosalie, another mature Webkinz fan, declares “More than 50% of the WW players are over the age of 16 years old!” In 2012 they made a Webkinz Friends app for Facebook and iPad that was specifically meant for ages 13+, but it never found a large enough audience. Webkinz Friends will be discontinued on August 31st, 2014, and Ganz will now concentrate on serving all of its players through Webkinz World.
Why Play Webkinz World?
Webkinz World is a great site for kids who would like a pet but can’t get one, since it teaches about the responsibilities of owning a real pet. You have to play every day or else your virtual pet’s health meter will go down and it will get sick. Webkinz World is something that moms and kids can always do together, too. Webkinz World offers players a fun way to use their creativity, and there are educational things to do like take classes at the Acadamy, get a job at the Employment Office, or learn about different cultures and other fun facts in the quiz corner. What I find most interesting about Webkinz World, though, is that it’s centered around economics and teaches basic money management skills.
Is Webkinz World Worth it?
Some people say that this game just promotes consumerism in children with a materialistic focus on getting more stuff. It’s true that every Webkinz toy purchased adds more items to your account, and you must buy a new Webkinz plush pet at least once a year to renew your membership. But if you already like collecting plush animals in real life, Webkinz World is made for you! While the retail price of most Webkinz is around $14.99, some Webkinz at Amazon are on sale for as little as $5 each. With thousands of virtual items to collect, and hundreds of online games and activities, Webkinz World is full of good clean fun for everyone. From August 1-10, join the Wacky Zingoz Challenge and win super cute prizes!
Where Does the Money Go?
The ongoing success of Webkinz pets and related merchandise allowed the Ganz family to launch The Webkinz Foundation, a charitable program headed by daughter Mindy Ganz. The Webkinz Foundation focuses on supporting the welfare, development, health, and safety of children worldwide. They have donated over $1,500,000 to a variety of organizations such as Save a Child’s Heart, Make a Wish Foundation, Free the Children, UNICEF, Special Olympics, Autism Speaks, Operation Smile, Hole in the Wall Gang Camps, Charity Water, Juvenile Diabetes Research, Ronald McDonald House, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, SickKids Foundation, and War Child.