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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Zoo Whiz Schoolhouse Review 2012

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                       We love the Zoo, it has to be one of our favorite stand-by field trips. I enjoy playing a zoo type game on facebook and my kids are always wanting to join me but we limit the amount of time they can spend on non learning activities on the computer. Well we may have found a compromise that makes us all happy. Zoo Whiz is an online learning game that helps students gain confidence in learning skills like Math and Phonics, while giving them the opportunity to earn coins that they can then use to purchase animals to put in their online zoo as well as play games.

      Before I get started with my family's experience with the program let me give you a little more information.
   There are 2 choices when setting up and account with Zoo Whiz, the free version which anyone can play but has limited access or the Premium account which is what we were given to take for a test drive. The premium version is $14.94 for a one year subscription. Upgrading to Premium opens up many options to make this a helpful learning aid. You will gain access to premium content and detail progress reports and your child will receive unlimited 24/7 access. Now I know you will not want your child playing in the middle of the night, but you get my drift. With some programs there are time limits where you can only play for a certain amount of time, this is not the case with the premium version of Zoo Whiz. This program is still in it's development stages and is being upgraded as new content becomes available, with your membership price locked in you gain access to these new added features as they become available at no extra charge. There are many ways that allow you to customize your child's learning, while Zoo Whiz is recommended for children ages 5-15, you have the ability to set what they call the age floor, this allows you to put in your child;s age and set a range of learning activities they can explore so as to not make it too easy for them or too hard allowing them to get frustrated.

   I particularly liked this feature for my boys as I could set the boundaries for where each of them are comfortable in their learning journey. Taylor is a little behind in some areas so I set his a year or so below where I thought it would be both fun and challenging for him, while Alyx is at grade level or ahead in most areas so I set his at his age and to the highest level, he likes to be challenged a tad more than Taylor and his frustration level is not as low either. I truly appreciate companies that recognize the need for a parent to customize their children's learning levels for any educational tool. Every child is different and just because they are in such and such grade does not mean they learn in all areas at that level.  My boys were thrilled to know that after they complete their "work" with Zoo Whiz they earn coins that they can be used to both play  games, their favorites are Rainbow Conga,and Bubble Plunge they are just like  games I play online, they liked that the games mimicked adult style online games and were not "babyish" games. They each appreciated that they could develop their zookeeper character so that it was customized to their unique personalities, not just a standard character. They enjoyed buying animals for their zoo, and learning cool facts about each animal and even getting the opportunity to purchase extinct animals like dinosaurs, the one thing they did not like is that there is not currently the ability to see your animal exist in a natural zoo type setting.



 You can visit them in the Biodome, and learn all about them, but you cannot visit them in the zoo and see them interact like a traditional zoo. Once the boys got over this disappointment they continued to enjoy the program, but it would be nice if this feature would be developed in the future so that the kids could experience this aspect of Zoo life, natural habitats and such.

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     All in all my boys and I enjoyed sharpening their skills in areas of Math, Word Skills and Phonics ans well as Reading. We all enjoyed a deepening appreciation for all animals great and small and are looking forward to new content coming to Zoo Whiz in the future. The boys continue to have a healthy competition going keeping track of who has purchased more animals for their zoo, it has been enjoyable to see them interact with each other and talk about the animals they have each chosen and interesting to see what choices in animals each has made when purchasing, it really reflects the boys personalities. Alyx likes animals of all kind, where Taylor tends to learn towards the more dangerous and exotic animals like, tigers and snakes and  dinosaurs and even a Phoenix.  I enjoyed the ability to see at any given point what their strengths and weaknesses were and at the beginning I used this as a tool to adjust the age floor. I am enjoying watching them be frugal with their coins, as they have to choose wisely if they want to save up their coins for a new animal or spend them on game time instead. They have learned to appreciate more animals and have gained some knowledge of the animals they have purchased.


We recently took a trip to our zoo and it was fun to hear the boys exclaim when they saw an animal they have in their online zoo. The boys have often asked if they can do Zoo Whiz, even on the weekends when there is no required school time. They are learning and sharpening their skills and are enjoying it, that is huge in my book. There is no whining as we have experienced with other online programs in the past. They truly get excited for learning when they are using Zoo Whiz. If you want your kids to sharpen their skills and have fun, this is the program for you, and for a small price of only $14.95 a year for the Premium account you open a whole new world of learning excitement that your kids will beg you to do. It is a win- win situation for both parent and child, so what are you waiting for?? Need more confirmation? Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew by clicking the banner below and see that everyone else is saying about ZooWhiz.



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“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or
services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it
on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally
and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance
with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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