Did you ever want to be a zookeeper? I think on the list of childhood answers to “What do you want to be when you grow up?” — zookeeper probably ranks pretty high on the list. It seems like so much fun to have all of those cuddly, growly animals to play with all day! Of course, as adults we realize all of the drudgery that would accompany the fun. Mucking stalls is no fun at all. Very few of us will experience the privilege of owning a real life zoo.
The good news is this: owning a virtual zoo is not nearly as far fetched. With a Zoo Whiz Premium Membership ($14.95), your child can have lots of fun owning a virtual zoo, without any of the drudgery! In fact, your child will even have fun while learning… At least, that has been our experience.
Ask my six-year-old son which numbers he can add to make ten and he can list every pair thanks to a game inside the world of Zoo Whiz called Congo Match in which students have to shoot numbers into a congo line to make ten. The game moves pretty quickly — just enough to challenge the student (and Mom). Not only will your child have to know sets that add up to ten, he will also have to think quickly. Combo Congo was my favorite game in Zoo Whiz — mostly because I thought it was fun and addicting myself. Level 1 might be easy, but it gets hard fast! Other fun and educational games are included in the Arcade area with your Premium Membership to Zoo Whiz too, but that’s not all.
In order to play games in the Arcade, you have to earn game time. In order to earn game time you enter the Learn and Earn area where you earn both game time and coins. Within Learn and Earn you can choose to work on Math, Words, or Reading problems. The problems range from basic to advanced skills depending on where you start your student. Zoo Whiz works for children up to 15 years of age and has over 17,000 problems! I played around with my eleven-year-old’s account and I found that I had to really think in order to answer some of the questions correctly.
Once you have earned game time and coins, you can use the coins to purchase animals for your zoo in the Biodome area. Premium members have access to the really cool animals like the adorable Chinchilla. The animals have increasing values so if your child wants the biggest and coolest animals they will have to work hard and save towards a goal. I love that feature! Of course, you can also spend little bits of your earned coins each day for the “cheaper” animals if you want. Each animal in your zoo has a section full of information about habitat, food, and fascinating facts so your child can soak up a great deal of Science just from collecting animals in their zoo.
Of my three children with Premium Zookeeper accounts, my six-year-old is the most excited about Zoo Whiz. Today when I asked him to play he said, “Oh, I love that game!” While playing Zoo Whiz he works some on phonics, some on thinking skills, some on science and some on math. I usually need to sit next to him and read some of the directions since the game does not have an option to turn on audio directions. I only have two small frustrations with our membership. If the game would read aloud the directions to my little guy it would make using this product so much easier! I am also slightly bothered by the occasional advertisements that pop-up for other educational membership websites.
My Bottom Line: Zoo Whiz makes a great supplement to our homeschool classroom especially for my younger students. We are very likely to renew this subscription. If you aren’t sure if Zoo Whiz will work for you, you can always have your child play the free version first and then upgrade to the Premium Membership at any time. At just $14.95 I think the Zoo Whiz Premium Membership is a fantastic value in on-line educational gaming.