Saturday, October 13, 2012

Webkinz kindies and goofing off

Unlike the rest of my family, I have a very hard time "goofing off" on the computer. My girl can spend hours on her RPG forums. The boy is addicted to watching play-through videos on YouTube or playing a plethora of video games. Even hubby can while away the hours with ease reading the various blogs to which he subscribes. For me, after checking my various email accounts and skimming my Twitter stream, I'm at a loss for how to spend my time on the Internet. I felt like I needed to re-learn the skill of "goofing off online" and so I added a new pet to our roster on Webkinz.

I've written about Webkinz in the past. It's been a while since I played and I was partly inspired by a boy at my school who takes every opportunity during my yard duties to chat at great length with me about the video games he plays. He's very eclectic in his choices - he likes Call of Duty and many of those first-person shooter games, but he also is crazy for Minecraft and Roblox, and he recently got into Webkinz, of all things. Plus, I use Webkinz with my kindergarten students for "media class" - they are the ones who direct the action and there are plenty of teachable moments. I have one school account and three kindergarten classes, so as part of our inquiry about what we can/can't control, we learned about voting and they chose the name of our newest Webkinz toy on the school account. The toy whale's name? Ottoman. Don't ask me where they came up with the idea - the voting results were very close between this option, Ninjago, and One Hundred Million but Ottoman squeaked ahead by two votes. This week, one group decided to cook on the stove. Another class spent a lot of time shopping for flowers for our garden. The third class enjoyed using the (virtual) bathroom over and over. Watching them play whetted my appetite for a bit of my own Webkinz fun.

When I added Molasses the donkey to our roster, I learned that we have 82 registered Webkinz on our family account. That's a lot of toys! The funny thing is that playing on Webkinz felt a lot more like "goofing off" than playing on Minecraft. Why is that? I spent a few happy hours buying Molasses a bed in the horse room, adding a second balloon room, moving the greenhouse to a different location, and peeking at the different animals now available. Is it because Webkinz doesn't feel like life or death like Minecraft? Is it because I play Webkinz solo? Is it the frivolous spending rather than purposeful building as the main activities? I'm not sure why the distinction exists in my mind, but at least I have an option if I don't feel like reading or doing my work/chores - hello Webkinz!

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