Webkinz pets by Ganz are one of the hottest toys on the planet right now. In fact, in 2007, Webkinz was one of the top five most searched for items on the Internet!
Webkinz deserves it: these plush pets are cute and collectible. Not only that, but they have a secret life. Kids can watch their new Webkinz stuffed animals literally come to life online, a place called Webkinz World. This website for kids is safe and educational, a double plus for concerned parents. No wonder everyone wants to buy Webkinz – it’s a win-win!
Let’s check out more about what makes Webkinz by so popular, and then review some personal favorites.
One of the factors that makes Webkinz so popular are the limited releases of each stuffed animal. Also, some Webkinz pets are only available seasonally, such as near Valentine’s Day or around the winter holidays. But this hype is only part of the attraction. We think that the real reason Webkinz are so popular is because they actually help kids build community.
We have been playing around on Webkinz World ever since we bought an exclusive Webkinz Polar Bear online. With the secret access code that came with our new Webkinz, we logged on and quickly learned that Webkinz World is a very big place with a lot of exciting things to do!
To keep our Webkinz Polar Bear healthy, we have to feed it, exercise it, and play with it regularly. This is a great way to teach children about responsibility in everyday life. Many kids get into the habit of logging onto Webkinz World right after school and feeding their pet online.
Once there, there are lots of other things to do, keeping kids entertained and learning. For instance, to pay for food for our new Webkinz pets, we must play some games and win some specialty currency called “webkinz cash.”
Some of the games are actually friendly competitions with other Webkinz friends online. While we never know each other’s real identities, we learn how to meet others and interact respectfully. Some other games are educational games and quizzes, giving us a chance to show off our spelling and grammar skills. (and to be honest, we think some 5th graders could beat us at this one!)
Parents really love Webkinz World for this last feature: the truly safe chat online. There are two levels of safety. The first only allows users to select from phrases and questions to chat with others. The second level allows users to input their own words, but every word is passed through a strict dictionary that will not allow many words, including most proper names, addresses, and the usual expletives.
We tested this ourselves and were impressed at the length Ganz has gone to to ensure kids’ safety on the Internet. Basically, Webkinz World is the real heart of the Webkinz phenomenon. It’s fun for kids and relieving for parents to know that they can relax for once while their children are on the Internet.
New Webkinz and Seasonal Selections
Many people go to great length to buy new Webkinz stuffed animals. One of the most popular this year is the Webkinz Polar Bear. The stuffed animal is one of the most highly-rated by Webkinz members for its interminable cuteness. “Especially his big head,” wrote one Webkinz member. The polar bear’s special food is Iceberg Chili, something that is hard to find these days!
Another must-have is the Webkinz Panda. This black and white cutie has a funny smile on his face, maybe because he ate too much of his Panda Canelloni! Last we checked, the panda is sold out in most locations, making him even more popular than ever.
Some Webkinz stuffed animals become true collector items. A season favorite is the Webkinz Love Puppy. This plaintive-looking puppy was retired in 2007, so his popularity has soared.
Many hoped the love puppy would be reintroduced during Valentine’s Day in 2008, but to no avail.
If you ever come across a Webkinz Cheeky Cat, snatch her up and try not to let on that this Webkinz pet might as well be made of gold bullion. The limited number of Cheeky Cats combined with its high popularity has made toy history. We admit, Cheeky Cat is pretty cute.
As Webkinz turns three years old, they promise more fantastic pets are on their way, and more surprises too.