I admit it. I’ve fallen prey to a cultural phenomenon. I just purchased my first Webkinz®. Not for my children – they each have several. For myself. I purchased an adorable tan cocker spaniel that I just had to name Joe. Get it?
OK, I hear you. What is a Webkinz®, you ask? Anyone out there with children under the age of 13 already knows what a Webkinz® is, but for those less educated, let me explain. This is a rather expensive ($12 – $15 depending on the store) small stuffed animal that you don’t purchase for the stuffed animal. You purchase it because of the secret code attached to the animal. Each of these adorable toys comes with a code that allows you access to a wonderful online world known as Webkinz World. Here, your stuffed pet comes to life and interacts with other stuffed pets owned by people all over the world. You can earn Kinzcash – virtual money that you can then spend on virtual products for your pet, such as decorations and accessories for your pet’s room, food for your pet, clothing, enrollment in classes at Kinzville Academy, even a virtual back yard and a garden where you can plant and grow your own food. You can earn Kinzcash in a number of ways. Get a job – you can work a different job every 8 hours. Play a game in the arcade or tournament area. Go to Quizzy’s Corner and compete on his game show. Even compete in the Webkinz Stadium against other pets in beauty pageants or other competitions. There are also opportunities to get cash by completing weekly surveys or just by telling your pet you love it every day.
My kids got Webkinz® from their grandparents earlier this year, and they wanted us to help them earn Kinzcash so they could save up for large purchases like a bathtub (this is in interactive room accessory where your pet can use shampoo, bubble bath, or even play with a toy boat). So after they went to bed, my husband and I would log on to their accounts and play the game show or one of our favorite arcade games to earn them money. We got hooked on it. So while on our vacation this year, when the girls decided on Webkinz® for souvenirs, I gave in to the silliness of the whole thing and bought my own.
I’m usually the last person you find jumping on board with the latest cultural craze, but here I am, guilty of one at last, and loving every minute of it.
If you haven’t gotten one of these for your kids yet, get one. Get several. It’s good clean fun, it will entertain the kids in a safe internet environment for hours, and you will get hooked too, if they let you play. And, if you’re adult enough to admit it, you might even have to become a kid again and get yourself one.