pool, camping, and fun times outside, but what do we do when it's so hot outside and we just want to chill out in the house for a bit?! I have a few ideas to share with you. Yesterday I told you I would be sharing a mini series of things we will be doing this summer for fun and learning. Today, I'm excited to introduce you to
Animal Jam! It's a fun new computer game for kids, created and brought to you by our friends at National Geographic, and they are sponsoring today's blog post. The opinions and review are my kids and my own.
|Check out the "Mad Scientist" he's got some crazy hair! Can you guess which one is mine? (This is one of the projects on the Animal Jam Academy website.)|
I had the pleasure of meeting some of the awesome Animal Jam Team at a recent blog conference. They introduced me to the idea and gave me a trial of the game for my kids. They have been playing the game since January of this year. My kids are not big "gamers." They don't own a Nintendo DS (is that still a thing?) Or any other gaming equipment. They don't play video games, but we do a few computer games, mostly educational, but fun stuff. So I love that fact that this Animal Jam game is fun, but the kids can also learn things about the environment and animals. I am not a big fan of my kids spending a lot of time online, but also know it's the way of the future. A kid these days needs to know how to safely navigate the Internet and use a computer! ( Is anyone else freaking out that their 3rd grader is a fluent typist?! I didn't type until Jr. High!)
|Starting her Marshmallow Tower. (Another activity from their website.)|
Safety is a big concern for me when on the Internet in general, so to say I feel confident in this game is a big deal! When my kids logged on for the first time, I received an Animal Jam email letting me know my child had logged in and created an Animal Jam account (which, obviously I already knew because I helped create it) but it's nice because it gives you control (in the parent dashboard) of what your child can access and do. I am also always in the room while my children are online, no matter the website they are using, just because I want them to be safe. (And "they" claim your child is only 3 clicks from Dora to something "inappropriate") So feeling that my kids are on a site that cares about my kids safety and protection matters to me. But, I still always monitor play by being there. My kids are still young and the computer/Internet are new to them. I feel that these Animal Jam/Animal Jam Academy sites/game are safe places for my kids to play and learn.
|What it looks like inside the game!|
|She had so much fun doing all the Animal Jam Academy activities!|
I am not a gamer. I don't find enjoyment from video/computer games so I have never played this game. However, my kids (ages 8 and 6) have played it a lot and love it. I have watched them play the game. The game is played on the computer. It is basically an online playground for kids who like animals and exploring the outdoors. They get to create and customize their own animal character, play with friends, go on adventures, and the part I like the best is that because it was created in partnership with National Geographic, the kids learn while they play and are exposed to real scientists. My kids favorite person to listen to and learn from on the site is the Marine Biologist, Tierney Thys.
|The making of a "Mad Scientist!"|
The things I like most about this game and site is that I feel they (the creators of the game) are committed to keeping kids safe online. (Safety for me when my kids are online is the most important!) And it encouraging them to explore and protect the world and animals around them. Sometimes we think that because it's a computer game that it must be "bad." I agree that too much time in front of the computer is not good, however I have had a really great experience over the past few months allowing my kids playing time on Animal Jam (the game) and then doing the activities on Animal Jam Academy, which is a great resource for learning and ideas for activities to keep the kids engaged, learning and having fun!
The only down side to the game as far as I can see is that it costs money. But what doesn't?! People pay a lot of money for video games and equipment that are for pure entertainment value alone. This is entertaining, yet educational and encourages further activity and exploration of the world outside.
|And they did it!|
Here are my kids favorite things about the Animal Jam game:
8 year old:
"I like to create and change my wolf (her character)"
"I like to explore the different habitats" yes, she said habitats!
"I like to buy stuff for my wolf" (by playing the game they earn and can "buy" things, we are not talking real money here.)
|Map of the game and different places to explore and learn about.|
6 year old:
"I like to dress up my animal."
"I like to go see all the places."
"I like to listen to the lady." (Tierney)
|My 6 year old loves this journey book. She loves to play in the aquarium and learn about the different animals.|
I will be going to the Animal Jam Academy website a lot this summer for fun, easy activities to do with my kids! You can go to Animal Jam Academy Link by clicking on this link. They have fun and educational activities about science, technology, engineering and art, to do with your kids and it's free!! You can decide which projects you want to do, click on it, print out a sheet with the instructions and go to town! Here are my kids and I doing some of their fun ideas:
|Even the little guy loves crafts!|
And just in case you were wondering if computer games create children without imagination or desire to play outside, let me assure you that in my experience with this game and sites (with proper boundaries and supervision) that my kids are thriving, abounding in imaginative play and are learning much!
Just the other day I was working in the garden. The kids were outside playing. My friend came over and heard the kids playing. She said "What are they doing?" They were all walking around holding up old VHS tapes on their shoulders and following our chickens around. Then the kids said "And next, on National Geographic...we found a new species...it's called a chicken!!" (They were pretending to be a National Geographic Video Crew.) It was entertaining and proof to me that they are learning and that our experiences with Animal Jam and Animal Jam Academy are encouraging our imagination and desire to explore the outdoors and have lots of fun!!
|And next, on National Geographic.....|
|Love how you can print out the instructions to follow as you craft!|
So I feel that this is a company, game, site that I can recommend to friends. I have had nothing but good experiences with Animal Jam (the game) and Animal Jam Academy (the free educational and activities website). I don't like things that cost a lot of money to use or be members of, for all the benefits, but I feel that $5.95/month, $29.95/6 month, or $57.95/12 month for a full access membership to the game is reasonable. I have paid more per year for other educational sites. For more information on how to obtain full membership benefits you can click here:Animal Jam Membership Info
|The coloring pages are great and have interesting facts about the animals for the kids to learn while coloring.|
So hop on over and check out what Animal Jam has to offer your family! They have graciously offered to sponsor a free trial of the game and some other fun Animal Jam gear to one of you!! To enter to win, just leave a comment here on this blog post about what you are looking forward to doing with your kids this summer! Winner will be chosen at random from the comments section of this blog post on June first. When the winner is chosen, Animal Jam Headquarters will mail out your awesome prize!!
|Our crazy haired Cheetah!|
Here's wishing you a super fun summer with your kids! Watch for more fun ideas of how to keep the kids busy and other exciting partnerships and giveaways!!
Here are some links to Animal Jam:
The Animal Jam game: Animal Jam Game
The Animal Jam Academy Website: http://academy.animaljam.com/
Thanks friends for tuning in and thanks Animal Jam for sponsoring today's post!