If you have a child old enough to ask for what he or she wants, or know one that can, you may have heard the term Webkinz. It is true that children say the darndest things, and they have active imaginations. But this is not simply some made-up word or phrase.
And it is definitely not a top-secret slang term used by web-savvy children. Webkinz is however the name of an incredibly popular children’s product line. It is a clever creation which combines a seemingly simple plush toy with something children always want more of … the Internet.
The toy first debuted in Canada in 2005 and is now sold in the United States and Canada exclusively. You can pick up these products if you do not live in those two particular countries, but you will have to seek the toys out online in order to purchase them.
Every Webkinz unit comes with a secret code that is unique to that particular toy. Your child uses the special code acquired with the toy to create an online version of the product. This allows your little one to customize and personalize the Webkinz experience. Your child can name its “pet” and explore a vast and ever-changing virtual world that belongs to the child and his special Webkinz pal.
Webkinz Promises On-Going Interest
How many times have you purchased toys or games for your child that were played with once and then discarded. Happens a lot, doesn’t it? Ganz, the company that produces Webkinz, understands that concept well. As you know, most toys go through peak periods of interest but then disappear quietly when your child loses interest.
Another currently popular toy or product takes its place, and the expensive buying cycle continues. Unlike many toy fads, Webkinz uses a product model which can grow and change with your child. This virtually guarantees ongoing popularity, and also delivers healthy role-play and mental stimulation benefits.
How Webkinz Work
Webkinz are available in two different common varieties. The basic variety is referred to simply as Webkinz, and these are moderately sized plush toys. There is also a smaller, less expensive version called Lil’ Kinz. Both versions come in a wide variety of species, with something perfect for every child’s imagination.
There are traditional animals such as dogs, cats, and bears, but extravagant creatures are also offered. An exotic and mythical creature such as a unicorn or pegasus can now become your child’s physical and virtual pet.
Aside from the two most popular versions of Webkinz, the company will from time to time release limited runs, special editions and signature lines. A 12 product zodiac line is one example of a special edition Webkinz creation which was released and retired, but is still available online.
Webkinz – Creative Virtual Play
Although children may eventually become bored with their physical toy, the real value lies in the virtual world connected to it. Adopting a Webkinz pet allows you to access the full web world online. And you can even create a free account for your child if she does not have a Webkinz pet yet, though the experience is limited.
The online world features its own virtual play economy with tasks to complete, awards to earn, and items to collect. While in the cyber world of the Webkinz pets, your child must care for his or her virtual creation. This includes making sure it is fed, well rested, and healthy. Health is maintained through things such as grooming and teeth brushing, and both positive and negative rewards help teach your child responsibility.
The more time spent playing the Webkinz vitual game, the better the character relationships become and the more the user can do. The versatile and unique Webkinz toys are available online, as well as at select online retailers.