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Free Virtual Worlds For Kids

Here are the most popular free virtual worlds for kids under 9 years old.

Club Penguin

This is one of the most popular virtual worlds for children. You play as a penguin on a snowy island. You move your penguin by clicking with your mouse. Arrow keys are sometimes needed to play some mini games. Additionally you can move from one room to another by using the map (found at the bottom left corner of the screen). Some places can only be accessed during special events.

You can play all kinds of mini games and even challenge other players to play puzzles, dancing and fighting games. The more you play, the more you earn coins, which you can use to buy additional features.

You can have an igloo home for letting your friends to visit. You can decorate the home, if you purchase a membership account, which costs a few dollars per month. You can also have a pet, a puffle. Free accounts can have up to two puffles, whereas membership accounts up to 20.

Players can publish their own content such as poems and cartoons to "The Penguin Times", which is the news paper in Club Penguin. Club Penguin is also a good way for a child to learn money management and social skills.

When you create your account you can choose either Standard Safe Chat or Ultimate Safe Chat.

Standard Safe Chat allows you to chat by typing. Nasty words are filtered automatically. You can't type numbers (well, actually you can type five instead of 5). The type of safeness can also be decided every time you log in to the world by choosing a server that either has the text bubble sign or does not.

Ultimate Safe Chat limits the ability to communicate a bit. You can only talk by clicking with your mouse from a predefined set of statements, questions and greetings. This might be good for players, who don't want to talk too much. The Ultimate Safe Chat is still a good gaming experience, it just takes time to learn the location of the correct phrases to be able to communicate quickly.

To create a free account, you have to have an email, preferably your parent's email address. That way, your parents can limit the time you play by using Club Penguin Timer. Parents can set play hours, meaning that the game can only be accessed during that time each day. They can also determine how many hours you can play per day.

Club Penguin is mainly for 6–14-year-olds (recommended for kids and tweens). Then again, the mini games are so entertaining that even adults could play them. It is a browser based game and you only need Adobe Flash Player installed to play.

Check out the video review.

http://www.clubpenguin.com (opens in a new window)
 

Build-A-Bearville

When you register your free account you are given some options to create your character. You'll be either a boy or a girl and must choose how you want to look. In the initial creation you only have a few options for eyes, mouth, skin, clothes and hair. You can customize your appearance later.

Every time you login you are asked where you want to go. You'll choose one of the "dens." If you have friends online you can join the same den. You can always change the den later.

You move your character by clicking your mouse where you want to go. You can enter buildings by clicking on the teddy bear foot step icon.

Build-A-Bearville has a safe chat system. Depending on the level of your settings, you chat with other players by typing or by choosing what you want to say from a list of phrases, such as hello, by clicking with your mouse. If someone is acting really stupid, you have the option to "ignore" him, so he can't talk to you anymore. You can also choose to report that person to the game administrators.

You can earn Bear Bills (the money used in Build-A-Bearville) by completing quests and playing games. Then you can buy new things (like clothes). You can also trade with other players. So for example if you are bored with your old stuff, you can trade them for something else.

Build-A-Bearville is a browser based game and you need Flash Player installed.

Check out the video review.

http://www.bearville.com (opens in a new window).
 

Toontown Online

Toontown Online is a virtual world for children older than 6 years. You play as an animal such as a bunny, a dog, a cat or a pig. You can customize your looks to differentiate from other players by choosing different colours and body sizes.

To chat with other players you either type or use pre-written phrases, which you click with your mouse. There are also a lot of fun mini games, such as fishing, kart racing and golf.

You control your character with arrow keys and mouse. The game is easy to play and the basics are taught in the tutorial, when you first enter the world.

The main theme of Toontown is about fighting against "Cogs." They are robots trying to turn Toontown into dark corporate business world. Your mission is to stop them at all cost. In the turn-based battles humour and gags are your weapon. Silly pranks are poison to Cogs. You can take friends with you on battles. Some battle tricks can't be used when fighting alone against Cogs. Experience points and new weapons are gained from battles.

You can't get killed in battles. But it's a good idea to run from a fight, if you see your energy dropping too much. In case you lose, you are teleported to the nearest "playground" where you start the healing process. It takes a while to get your energy back but you can speed up the process by finding hidden treasures.

There are many different districts (servers). You can change a district by clicking the book at the bottom right corner of the screen and then choosing a district from the list. You might want to choose a district that has a lot of people (green means a lot of players).

You can play Toontown using your web browser using Adobe Flash Player, which your computer probably already has installed.

http://toontown.go.com (opens in a new window). Also check out the video review.
 

Only the video review is available for Moshi Monsters, no text review. Hello Kitty Online and Secret Builders reviews can be found in the free virtual worlds for tweens section.