We have been Webkinz fans for many years. I still remember the kids' very first Webkinz pets: they got them as favors at a birthday party when the boys were still in preschool. They fished them out of a Webkinz Wishing Well (an homage to the wishing well in the online Webkinz World): The Pea got Pinky the pig, 3Po got MooMoo the cow, and Jammy got Beary the polar bear. They were adopted on May 24, 2008 -- it's hard to believe that was over 4 years ago!
Oops, let me backtrack. Webkinz is such a big part of my kids' imaginary play lives that it's difficult to imagine not knowing about Webkinz. Webkinz are stuffed animals that come with a unique code. When kids enter their pet's codes in the online Webkinz World, a virtual version of their pet comes alive. Kids can play with their virtual pet, dress it up, feed it, decorate its room, and have it play games and interact with other users/pets in Webkinz World. They can "purchase" clothes and food and furniture and toys with Kinz Cash, which can be earned by playing games on Webkinz World. You also get extra Kinz Cash when you adopt more pets or purchase Webkinz Deluxe accounts or purchase Webkinz branded stuff and enter their associated codes.
Nowadays, there are many many online worlds for kids, and many tied to physical toys, just like Webkinz. But Webkinz was one of the first, if not THE first, to do it. So Webkinz World is really rich in features and functionality. Also, Webkinz fuels the demand to collect pets by constantly adding new pets to collect (including Pets of the Month or Limited Edition pets or seasonal-themed pets) and retires old pets. There are whole communities online devoted to Webkinz, it's a Big Big Deal!
Mom Central sent us two new Webkinz to play with -- but trust me, even if they hadn't, I could blog all day about how great these toys are! Here are our two new pets, a blue Rockerz Horse and a Rockabilly Rooster.
I gave the horse to Jammy and the rooster to 3Po. 3Po logged onto his Webkinz World account and entered his rooster's unique code so he could officially "adopt" his new Webkinz. He gave it a name -- Cocky -- and now Cocky has joined all of 3Po's Webkinz pets on Webkinz World, and he can play with Cocky any time he logs on.
Whenever you adopt a new Webkinz pet, you pet will get a room and gift box with a few items to decorate his room. Over the years he has decorated his collection of rooms with some fun virtual items (check out his beach room below, with beach-themed wallpaper, a sandcastle, sand chair, volleyball net, and other cute things). Kids (and grownups!) love decorating Webkinz rooms and showing them off to other Webkinz members!
It would take all day to showcase everything you can do in Webkinz World; the best thing to do is join and check it out for yourself! In the past, you had to actually buy a stuffed toy and enter its code to join Webkinz World (and membership lasted only a year, so you had to buy at least 1 pet a year to keep it going -- that's partly why we have so many Webkinz!), but now you can join for free, and you will get a basic dog or cat as your first Webkinz virtual pet, so there's really no reason not to try it out.
So with the addition of Cocky and Bobby, our kids now own over 30 Webkinz! The amazing thing is that they continue to play with their Webkinz EVERY DAY. Yes, every single day. Pinky and Moomoo and Milky and Snowball and Wolfgang and George and Emma and Sparkles and all the other Webkinz have battled each other as ninjas, competed in Webkinz Olympics, played in the Webkinz World Cup, flown combat planes, and done just about everything that my boys can imagine. Their Webkinz animals are one of the main vehicles for their imaginative play, and they are like a part of our family.
In fact, whenever we travel, we are always accompanied by one or more of their Webkinz pets. It has become something of a tradition to take my Webkinz elephant -- yes, I even have my own Webkinz, and his name is Horton Chouchie -- to whatever tourist spot we happen to be visiting. Here's a small sampling of the places that Horton Chouchie has been to:
(from left to right, top to bottom: with Michaelangelo's Madonna and Child, at the Grand-Place in Brussels, on the shores of Lake Tahoe, atop the Carillon Tower in Bruges, in the British National Museum, at Tower Bridge, riding the London Underground, La Tour Eiffel, Montmarte)
Like I said, part of our family. My kids have loved their Webkinz for over four years now, and we'll be playing with them for many years to come!
Disclosure: I received the Rockabilly Rooster and Rockerz Horse from Webkinz to review, via MomCentral. All other Webkinz featured here, as well as all views and opinions expressed here, are my own.