The Best Kids Online Gaming Sites with Free Play
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With kids online gaming and virtual world subscriptions range from $5.95 a month to $10 a month, the decision to commit can be daunting. How much will they really play it? How long until they tire of playing the game: a weekend, a month, a year?
Many online games and virtual worlds for kids are addressing this by offering free play options: some offering entire game play (with limited customization options) for free, others allowing you a taste of the game and the option to make individual in-game purchases to experience some of the better stuff and premium subscription offerings.
These are some of the best online kids’ games that you can actually try before you buy:
National Geographic’s Animal Jam is a game based on nature and animal exploration. It’s free to play in its entirety, but if you spring for the membership, your child can get access to an enhanced level of play including member-only animals, clothing and dens. There’s also additional customization and monthly member gifts, and the knowledge that a portion of your membership dollars are siphoned to National Geographic’s Big Cats initiative. Animal Jam is appropriate for boys or girls, about eight years and up.
Disney’s Club Penguin online world is free to play and popular with boys and girls. Included in the free play, you can adopt a pet puffle, become a ninja, play Card-Jitsu, send postcards and chat with your friends. However, membership offers more exploration and customization. Member-only sections include customized clothing options, igloo outfitting and customization, and playing Card-Jitsu Fire and Water and other mini games. Subscriptions are available for $7.95 a month or $59,95 annually. Club Penguin is ESRB rated E for Everyone.
The Fantage online world smartly offers two ways to play: an annual subscription for $54.99 or by playing for free and purchasing eCoins to buy items in Fantage (including gems, or making your egg hatch faster). eCoins cost $10 for 10,000, or as little as $30 for 35,000. Fantage skews to a mostly girl audience, and the free play allows teachers to leverage the school section to engage and track learning. Fantage is ESRB rated E for Everyone.
LEGO Universe, a combat-based brick-building adventure game, recently launched their Free to Play Zone including two adventure zones (The Venture Explorer and Avant Gardens) and one player property area, the ability to create your own LEGO hero, visit other players’ properties, build LEGO creations, fight the Spider Queen, join the Nexus Force, earn up to 10,000 coins and other experiences. Full membership costs $10 a month, with full access to more than 15 adventure zones and worlds, including the new Ninjago world. LEGO Universe is ESRB rated 10+for cartoon violence… but it’s really cute LEGO violence.
Moshi Monsters is a free online game where kids can adopt a monster and care for it by playing puzzles and games. Membership includes a Moshi Passport allowing you to gain access to member-only areas like the zoo, can submit your own art to their Googenheim Gallery, secret moshlings, and custom housing while earning more Rox for the game. Moshi Monsters membership is available for $5.95 a month, or $49.95 annually. It has an ESRB rating for E for Everyone.