As parents we strive to make learning relevant and sometimes in that endeavor learning should and can also be fun. I’ve learned that my children can recall more facts and sharpen their skills when they have fun while working on those skills and that is where ZooWhiz comes into play. For the purpose of this review I was given a premium membership for all three of my children, and since the site is for ages 5 to 15 it fit in with all our ages in this house. ZooWhiz is for math, reading, grammar, punctuation, and word skills while at the same time being fun and allowing children to collect their own animals to create their own zoos.
The main idea is to play educational games that earns the child coins that can later be spent. The child will enter their account after logging in and click on Learn and Earn which has games for math, reading and words that will help them in sharpening or keeping up on those skills. For each educational area completed the child will earn coins. The bottom of the screen will tell your child how many coins they’ve earned, number of animals and other information your child needs to keep track of as they go through and play and earn.
Once they play the educational games and earn some coins they can go to the arcade and play some just for fun games. The games cost coins so children will also learn how to save their ‘money’ to buy an animal for their Biodome or to ‘blow’ it on a game. My children have realized that if they want a certain rain animal they’ll need to forgo playing in the arcade or play more educational games to continue earning. The games will need to be unlocked and they are based on your child’s age, once unlocked they can only play the game if they are okay with spending their coins – which usually cost 50 in order to play a game.
The Biodome is what my 8 and 10 year old like the most, my 6 year old prefers the Arcade. You can shop in the Biodome and choose an animal or animals that you want to buy – from an artic hare to a bison all the way up to more exotic like; giraffe, squid and dinosaurs. Some animals are only available to premium members and the cost for that is $14.95 for one year, that is unlimited access to the site, maximum motivation, and more. Some animals start at 100 coins going all the way up to 5000 coins – this can help your children learn delayed gratification and how to plan to spend their coins. If you have questions about ZooWhiz contact them, the customer service is great. After shopping the child can see their animals that they’ve bought and click on it to bring up information about the animal such as habitat, diet, threat and other details like size or weight, again for premium members. The free Keepers account the child will be able to see basic information such as class, order, scientific name and more.
Children and parents can log as well to see the milestones they’ve achieved, by choosing which subject area then the parent or child can view how much has been completed in each area and in what age level. By further clicking you can pull up which activity it was that was completed and even use it as a review if it was missed by going over it with your child. Depending on how well they’ve done they will get a smiley face, a half smiley or an angry face (if they’ve missed a lot) – which is easier for smaller children to understand and process.
All three of my children enjoyed it, although my oldest and youngest were on it more than my middle. I used it as a reward for getting their work done in our regular school day and as long as we didn’t stress over things missed and as long as my oldest had help with instructions being read they’d enjoy it. While one enjoyed the arcade more, one enjoyed the Biodome and even one preferred to play as many educational games and then make a trip to the Biodome entirely skipping the arcade – it’s interesting to see how their personalities play into how they learn as well as play on this site.
The only thing that I had a problem with was the fact that there isn’t an option to turn sound in order for directions to be read to the child, so if you have a non-reader or beginner reader this could be a hindrance unless you or an older reading sibling can help. My son hated missing so much because he couldn’t read the directions but when my oldest or I read them to him he did great. Even my reading middle daughter needs oral instructions in order for her to process them so that would be a major plus for my family in adding sound if the child needs it for instructions. Regardless, this is an awesome educational website and I forgot to mention my children all enjoyed what sounded like an Australian accent when they’d get a problem correct.
If you’d like to see what other homeschool parents thought about ZooWhiz visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.
****Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.