What do you do to encourage your children? How do you help them with difficult subjects? How do you pick what to allow your kids to do online? Where can you turn for an answer for all these questions??? Consider ZooWhiz. ZooWhiz is an online learning site that combines learning about animals with math, vocabulary, and reading comprehension.
While the regular price of $59.95 may seem like a lot for a year of premium online access, ZooWhiz often runs special promotions. Currently you can sign up your child as a Premium Zoologist for a whole year for only $14.95.
As a parent, I like the options available in the premium upgrade. Besides the feedback options, there are several animals that are only available to premium members.
So how does this all work??? First set up an account (there is a free Keeper option if you’d like to give it a try before you buy). Then, under the parent options, set the developmental age of your child in math, vocabulary, and reading. I found this quite helpful, many children are not at the same age/ grade level in math as in reading, so I like the customization. This is especially helpful if your child is struggling in a particular area. Since ZooWhiz is designed for each child to have their own account, you can set things up for your 5 year old, your 8 year old, and your 12 year old all according to their abilities. (You'll need to set up an account for each, and pay seperately for each account you want as a Zoologist, but you can view all their progress reports from one parent page.)
Soon, you’ll be able to use ZooWhiz’s Premium Integrated Content Selector (PICS) to adjust their activities to focus on the areas where they are still struggling to give them more practice. (All the child sees on their reports are various levels of smiley faces, so the feedback to the child stays positive.) This feature, that is listed as “coming soon for premium members” intrigues me because I’d like to see specifically where Arlene is struggling, and be able to work more on these parts during our other school activities as well to help her get better.
So, let’s your child works on an 8-year old developmental level with vocabulary, but an 11-year old level for math? Set the levels, and then let them play on ZooWhiz. But fear not, it’s not ALL games, and it’s not ALL learning (which can sometimes bore the child.) ZooWhiz is a good mix. Your child’s launching page has 4 areas, Biodome, Learn & Earn, Arcade, and Milestones. Once your child has done some activities in Learn & Earn, they can visit the other areas. Milestones gives them positive reenforcement of what areas they’ve done well in, and a funny face for areas they still need to work on. The Biodome allows them to purchase different animals with the coins they’ve earned. Then the animals are available to view either all at once, or by areas where they live, like rainforest, grassland, domestic, dinosaurs, or mythical (after all, who wouldn’t want a pet unicorn?)
ZooWhiz has activities for children in developmental ages 5-15. It is a fun, safe learning environment. It appeals to kids, with fun colors, games that seems more fun than learning, and lots of positive feedback.
So now, that you’ve heard from me, here’s a snippet from Arlene, (who would much rather play ZooWhiz than write about it-LOL!)
I liked it because you learn in one part and that gets you money to buy animals or play games. I also liked it since you can change the lessons to math, writing, or spelling and the age so that if you have a 4-6 year old they are not doing the 10-15 year old’s work. The premium membership gives you more games, and there are a lot of the cool animals, like mythical creatures, you can’t get unless you’re a premium member.
As a premium member (Zoologist), your child gets to learn more about their animals. They get access to the details about each animal, their habitat, diet, and if they’re threatened (or extinct.)
Is this going to be your only resource for your child? Probably not, but it IS a fun, helpful tool to get your child interested in learning without a lot of tears or pressure. It can be a daily part of your child’s independent learning, or a reward for working on another difficult subject without grumbling. However you choose to use ZooWhiz, I think you’ll like it!
I’d also like to say a good word for ZooWhiz’s customer service. They try hard to get back to your queries the following business day. They have a parent tutorial to help you understand what’s what & how to adjust the levels for your child. They continue to add content, so we’re looking forward to a whole year of learning.