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Stuffed animal | web-linked toy:Webkinz | Lil's Kinz Chicken

Ganzca.2005-2012

The Strong National Museum of Play

The Strong National Museum of Play

Webkinz toys, introduced in 2005, combine the traditional play of plush figures toys with the allure of the computer. Webkinz and its imitators like Shining Stars, Ty Inc.'s tween dolls called Ty Girlz, and even Barbie, acknowledge that kids' play today is more about gaming than the more traditional play of manipulating toys. Webkinz's toys are similar to the traditional plush figures of various pastel colors, cuddly textures, and loveable animals that kids have cherished for generations. Each Webkinz figure, purchased for $14.95, comes with a unique Secret Code, which when entered into the www.webkinz.com website opens the Webkinz's virtual world of games, quizzes, tournaments, and contests, all of which allow the player to earn KinzCash, virtual money used to purchase food, accessories, and habitats for the virtual versions of the plush figures. The site also has stories to read, daily activities, and jobs to apply for and complete; these activities earn kids more KinzCash. Purchasing the Webkinz of the month and other special activities earn kids bonus cash. The success of Webkinz and similar sites has been rapid and phenomenal. In November 2007, the website received more than 6 million unique visitors, a 342 percent increase of visitors over numbers for November 2006. Toy manufacturers see these virtual worlds as new and sure-fire ways to connect with today's kids who maybe spend less time watching Saturday morning TV, DVDs, and more traditional brand-creating media. Toy producers hope their virtual worlds directed at young kids (Club Penguin and Disney's forthcoming Pixie Hollow, home of Tinkerbell) and at older kids (Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean for the 10 and older crowd and its Cars too) will help to retain kids as consumers of the real-world toys. Such a popular trend in kids play, of course, has its share of critics; privacy and safety issues follow all Internet activities, so do fears of kids giving up the more traditional ways of play. "We can't allow the media and marketing industries to construct a childhood that is all screens, all the time," says one critic of these virtual worlds, especially the ones that have added advertising--after firmly establishing their popularity among young users. Kids, however, will have their say--and their play in the virtual worlds.

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  • Title: Stuffed animal | web-linked toy:Webkinz | Lil's Kinz Chicken
  • Creator: Ganz
  • Date Created: ca.2005-2012
  • Location: China
  • Subject Keywords: Internet, rooster
  • Type: More Toys
  • Medium: fabric, molded plastic, printed paper
  • Object ID: 114.7683
  • Credit Line: Gift of Ann Weisse

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