Collecting Webkinz stuffed animals and playing Webkinz online is one of the many fun computer activities for grandparents and their grandchildren that my grandkids and I enjoy. That's even more true now that we're combining it with our Bible Memory Verses!
For the past few years, I enjoyed buying brand new Webkinz stuffed animals as gifts and playing Webkinz with my grandkids when I was at their home. This meant, of course, I primarily played with the grandkids who lived close, along with an occasional game, if we could squish it in, with my long distance grandkids when I was visiting them.
Now that they are getting older, I've discovered that it can definitely be one of those fun ideas for grandparents to stay in touch and close to grandchildren when living far away. I can still enjoy buying Webkinz stuffed animals as gifts to one and all and plan to do so each Christmas to help keep their accounts current. I am planning to purchase the Webkinz animals for them based on the activities that we are currently involved in. This year it will definitely be connected to our "Love" Bible Memory Verses project from 1 Corinthians 13.
Not only that, we've started having fun with games with some of the older grandkids via computer and telephone. WOOHOO – even more fun ideas for grandparents to stay in touch and close to grandchildren when living far away!
As we have discovered, they have a tournament area where you can play games with the grandkids no matter where they live. Now, I’m not going to say it’s the easiest thing in the world, at least not with a 5 and 7 year old. Granted, though, it's much easier with the 7 year old! But it is doable, and the squeals of glee you will hear once you get it down are so worth it!
If you have older kids who have the tournament totally figured out, one of you will just have to call the other and say, “hey, wanna play a Webkinz game?” Since mine are younger, and for those of you who have never done it, here’s what you do:
1. First, you each have to get your own Webkinz account. If you don’t already have them, you will start that process by buying one of the cute Webkinz stuffed animals for your grandchild AND one for yourself. If you are just starting, and you are also interested in the Love Bible memory verses activities for grandparents and their grandchildren based on 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 and 13 that begins Love is Patient and Kind, you might want to buy one of a Webkinz animals that match the character qualities. I’ve been able to find almost all of them, from a cute and kind Webkinz Panda bear to an adorable plush stuffed Webkinz Elephant to remind us to NOT keep a record of wrongs. I couldn’t find a Webkinz snail for patient, but there is a very cute Webkinz crocodile (alligator).
2. Log in as a new member by going to Webkinz and selecting New Member. They will talk you through it very easily. The code they ask for is on the tag tightly attached to the neck of your new Webkinz stuffed animal. When you type in a user name of your choice, they do not want you to use your own name for a variety of security reasons and I wholeheartedly agree. That being said, though, I would chose a nickname they will recognize easily, such as YourGrandmaNICKNAME – perhaps with an initial. Or maybe SmilingGrandpaD.
3. Once you do all the set up, logging on is quite easy. You'll just type in your user name and password and wait patiently for it all to open up. Sometimes it can be a bit slow, if there are a lot of users on. You might even have to wait so long, it could be worth shutting down and restarting. Once you are logged on, you’ll find a fun virtual world that can seem a bit confusing at first.
I would recommend just exploring it a bit for the fun of it. When I first started with Webkinz, I discovered a great little book, written by a mom and her seven year old son, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Webkinz. It really helped me make good sense of it. By the way, if all you want to do is play the games with your grandkids, you will not need much Webkinz virtual money. But if you want to use their KinzPost to “send” them virtual gifts, that does cost a bit more Webkinz money. The book can help you find easy ways to earn the pretend money. I occasionally do daily activities (the 3 x in the second picture below are my usual ones) or play the word scramble game as they are the easiest ways for me to earn money and I actually enjoy the games.
4. My grandchild is usually the one to call me and ask to play. I do all the logging on while chatting with them on the phone. If I initiate it, I first do all the logging on and then call them and see if they want to play.
5. Either way, once you are both on the phone and both in the main part of Webkinz, you need to see if you are in the same “zone.” Since they have so many players, they have them all divided into zones and you will need to be in the same zone to play together. If you have an older, savvy grandkid, they’ll be able to tell you what zone they’re in – you just get in the same one, and you’re ready to play. With my younger ones, I tell them:
- Open your cell phone – it’s at the very bottom on the right side between the mailbox and the help button- I put an X on it.
- Once it’s open, click on power BUT DON’T DO ANYTHING ELSE
- Tell me what color the zone is
- Once they tell me their color, I change to theirs (I have to keep reminding the littlest ones, DON’T DO ANYTHING YET. Otherwise, they get so excited, they start pushing buttons and you never get in the same zone. )
6. You will then need to click on the word “zone.” A side window pops out with all the different colored zones. Be aware, some of them are light and dark, i.e. light blue and dark blue at the time I wrote this. As Webkinz grows, I suspect they might add more. Be sure to select the exact color your grandchild says, then click CLOSE. Next click the little dash button at the top right which hides this cell phone and tell them to do the same. Finally it’s off to fun and games and giggles and special family memories for you and your grandchild!
WOW! Since this is turning out to be such a long post, I’m going to continue it on until next Monday. Be sure to come back for the game playing how-tos. It’s a lot of fun and definitely makes for terrific computer activities for Sandwich Generation grandparents and their grandchildren – near and far! So be sure to check out Webkinz Stuffed and Virtual Animals – Activities for Grandparents and Their Grandchildren – Part 2, as well as Part 3.