My kids absolutely love playing ZooWhiz. It’s become a great incentive to finish their schoolwork, so they can have a turn on it. You have to love it when kids view an educational game as a reward. Mom sees extra practice in math, reading, word skills, punctuation, and grammar. The kids see educational games, coins earned, and a growing collection of animals in their Biodome.
Parents set the age floor which allows you to make the levels harder or easier as needed for each individual child’s abilities. As they progress, you can raise the age/difficulty. I love this feature. It allows struggling kids success while challenging kids when they need it.
When the kids first sign in, they get to choose what their zookeeper looks like from a range of characters. That’s all the setup needed.
Each day the child logs in, they earn an automatic 100 coins. They earn more coins by playing educational games in the Learn & Earn section. They can choose games from the Maths, Words, and Reading categories.
What I love about the Reading section is that the program reads the screen out loud to your child. This is wonderful for non-readers and new readers. Occasionally, the Australian accents trip the kids up, but it’s great practice in helping them understand a variety of people. Overall, they love the accents, and practice speaking like them. I’d really love to see the creators of ZooWhiz add this ability to the Maths and Words sections, too. My children would rather use ZooWhiz independently, but the way it is now, I have to sit by them for part of their play session.
You and your child can go into Milestones and check their progress in each area. By clicking in the chart, you can find out more details on how they are doing. I like the simple graphics which helps especially the younger ones see their progress. It takes quite a while to finish each level which means a lot of learning practice is taking place.
The coins earned are spent in the Biodome or the Arcade. In the Biodome, the kids can buy different animals to add to their collection. We all thought we would see the animals in some sort of zoo type appearance, but that’s not the case. This has not detracted from their enjoyment at all.
When you click on the animals they’ve collected, you learn quite a bit about the animal such as scientific names, habitats, what they eat, etc. I love the additional learning tucked in here.
The Arcade has fun games each costing 50 coins for three minutes of play. The program saves your place in the game for when you play it again. Why only three minutes? It gives the kids more incentive to spend their time in the Learn & Earn collecting coins and they find buying animals more cost effective. My kids are learning to regulate their time in the Arcade so they can save for animals. They are learning the value of ‘coins’, and good decision making.
ZooWhiz is for ages 5 to 15+ (my kids range from 6 – 16, and all enjoy it). You can sign up for a free account, but I’d recommend upgrading to Premium if your kids love it. You get more animals (rare and endangered) to choose from, more Arcade games to play, and unlimited access. A one year Premium account is currently $14.95 making it an incredible deal with a 75% savings over the normal price.
There is also a freebies section which has desktop wallpapers, plus printables such as coloring pages, stationary, greeting cards, and posters. More fun for the kids.
Now I know I’ve given this program high praise throughout this review, but there is one thing I don’t like. Every so often while the kids are playing, an advertisement pops up. I think this is fine for free accounts, but I strongly believe a Premium account should not have these. My kids ignore them, and you may have to instruct your child to do the same.
From the creators of ZooWhiz: “ZooWhiz is a compelling, exciting project that is growing month by month. Our development team is constantly making improvements and revising the offering on the site. We have many enhancements and new features planned for the coming months and years. ZooWhiz is currently eminently useable but will just get better and better with the passage of time.”
ZooWhiz is a relatively new program, but is already a wonderful and dynamic educational software that adds a fun learning element to the kids’ day. I look forward to seeing how it grows over the next year.
Disclosure: I received a free subscription to this online program to review. All information was correct to the best of my knowledge at the time this review was written. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. You can read my full disclosure policy here.