Virtual worlds are places where kids are able to play games and make new friends while playing as themselves or as a special character. While numerous virtual worlds exist online, special virtual worlds are designed with safety precautions to keep kids safe online. Parents should explore all virtual worlds before allowing children to join them.
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Virtual Worlds for Girls
Some virtual world games are geared toward girls with characters that are most likely to appeal to girls. Pixie Hollow (pixiehollow.go.com) allows girls to create a fairy and play games as they travel through the world of Disney's Tinker Bell. As they play games and interact with other users, girls collect flowers and leaves and earn badges for completing special tasks. Fans of the American Girl franchise are able to join Innerstar University (web.innerstaru.com) which allows girls to create their own American Girl doll and interact with other American Girl fans by playing games, chatting with friends and completing activities related to self-esteem and achieving goals.
Virtual Worlds for Younger Kids
Virtual world games geared toward younger kids incorporate educational lessons with simple games for children in second grade and younger to play. JumpStart (jumpstart.com) is designed for children ages 3 through 12, but appeals most to the younger children in that age range. Kids are able to play learning games to earn coins and points, design a character and customise their world. Created by the Sesame Workshop, Panwapa (panwapa.org) is a virtual world where kids learn about different cultures through games and interactive videos.
Virtual Worlds for Tweens
Tweens, kids ages 10 through 12, might feel too old for children's virtual world games. Whyville (whyville.net) is an educational world geared towards kids in this age group. Users play multiplayer games and participate in activities related to science, math and other educational subjects. Fans of Nickelodeon are able to join The Club (nick.com/club) a virtual world for tweens and teens with games and activities based on some of Nickelodeon's popular shows. Users interact with other tweens in special clubhouses and on message boards, watch videos and personalise their virtual space.
Other Virtual Worlds
In Tootsville (tootsville.com), kids create a Toot, play games and complete activities to earn peanuts. Peanuts are used to purchase items to customise their Toots and their virtual space. Many games are educational and introduce children to different cultures. Chimpoo (chimpoo.com) is another virtual world where players create a customised chimp, play games and customise a chimp home.
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