National Geographic Animal Jam – FREE Kids Learning Game | REVIEW
Animal Jam – have you heard of this educational kids game from National Geographic Society?
My daughter came home from school (she’s going into 4th grade) and asked if she could play. She has all her friends’ screen names so they can meet up in a safe online game for kids. Don’t miss fun online kids games you can play free!
Scroll down to read our full review of Animal Jam!
Positive experience ~ I love that they remind children to play nice. The other characters encourage and praise your child when they accomplish different tasks. I thought it was a very uplifting and positive experience. And my little girl loves it!
Fun Adventures ~ Basically, your character makes its way through a series of lands. They search for hidden keys to unlock rare treasures in this fun adventure. They have new adventures all the time, to keep it fresh and fun! And my lil girl loves to accessorize and change animals, colors and patterns. 😉
Send a Note to Friends ~ Check the Jam-A-Grams to see what’s new! Kids can send friends notes there too.
Show your feelings ~ Oh, and they can show how they feel with “Emotes” (which are super cute AJ smileys).
Chat ~ One of my favorite features is that kids can “chat” with each other in safe chat. That means they select from phrases (see example, right) to say what’s on their mind, while still being totally safe online.
Play free and earn free coins ~ Be sure to spin the wheel daily to win more points!
To play this FREE KID’S game:
- Click here for this FREE Kids Game
- Click “PLAY NOW” in middle of screen
- Create your animal, name it and start playing for free!
Animal Jam is an online virtual playground for children who love animals and the outdoors, and is the result of an ongoing creative collaboration between Smart Bomb Interactive and National Geographic Society. Our goal is to provide a fun, exciting, and safe environment for kids to play online, while inspiring them to explore and protect the natural world outside their doors.
Animal Jam Review
My daughter was given a one-year Animal Jam premium membership to review and tell you about. You can play Animal Jam for free, and there’s a paid membership option too. Is it worth the paid membership? Yes, my daughter thinks it is well worth it!
Getting started: to begin you choose your animal character and name them. Then you enter the game, where you can start exploring or decorate your character with fun clothes and accessories. Everyone first goes to the training grounds, where you’re on your own while you learn more about the game. The first task in the training ground is to try to get close to the phantom. Then, find the Panda Alpha (her name is Liza), who will show you how to lead the phantom to a chomper plant to defeat the phantom. Then, you learn to sneak through tall grass so the phantoms won’t see you. Completing these tasks earns you an immediate level-up! The game has many levels; each level has different fun activities and goals. After the training grounds, kids play with many other kids in a virtual adventure world that they can explore.
Non-members can play three kinds of adventures: Meet Cosmo, Return of the Phantoms, and the Phantom Portal. Members get to do all that plus they can play The Hive, the Great Escape, Greely’s Inferno, and Find Greely. Greely is the wolf alpha who needs help finding the phantom fortress to get rid of the phantoms.
Kids actually learn a lot in Animal Jam! By collecting different species, such as plants, animals, (even rocks), my daughter has retained a lot of real-life education from playing this fun game. For example, I asked her to tell me about what she’s learned. She told me about this real plant that’s like the “chomper plant” in the game. It’s like a Venus Flytrap and it really eats stuff! The beta fly trap is no longer available but people have them. My daughter says “if you get a Beta you beta not trade it.” 😉 Its base is a vine with little spikes inside. It uses the spikes to grind up what it catches – like a lizard or insect. It then turns it into fertilizer that goes back into the ground. She’s told me about several different animals she’s learned about. I was actually a little surprised how much she remembered about them.
Throughout the game, kids collect things by trading with other players, and by earning coins and diamonds which they can use to buy stuff. The social aspect of the game is probably what makes it so much more fun than a static video game. Kids get to interact with other players by chatting. Everyone is encouraged to be nice and make friends. You can even find your real-life friends on the game and trade with them!
- FUN! Awesome!
- Social – kids interact with other kids in real time, and can “friend” other players to reconnect later. This is a great way for kids to find new friends or connect with “real life” friends they know personally
- Exciting – Mildly competitive with collectible virtual stuff that’s fun to acquire
- Fair & Safe – Kids learn to play fair in a safe environment
- Educational – as I mentioned, there’s a super secret amount of learning going on (don’t tell the kids!)
- TIP: Make sure your Adobe Flash software is up-to-date to ensure the game runs smoothly. It runs fine on our older computer, but only after we updated the free software
- My daughter learned the hard way that some people do not play fair (not a super harsh lesson, but it hurt her feelings)
- Beware of other players who might try to scale you (scam you) by asking you to gift them something and they’ll gift something else in return. Always use the TRADE feature to exchange things so it’s fair and even. Using the GIFT feature with someone you don’t know may result in you getting nothing in return. Major lesson learned, especially when someone she knows in real life asked her to get them bat wings only to change their mind after she traded something she liked a lot so she could get them for her ‘friend’. In the end she got back the thing she traded away and all was well again 😉
- Beware of other players who trick kids into saying keywords that result in account suspension! My daughter was suspended for a whole day because someone tricked her. They said “the first player to say XXX will get a rare spike collar” (bad word omitted). She typed the word as fast as she could, not realizing it was even a bad word (admittedly, I even had to look it up – and wished I hadn’t. It wasn’t an obvious thing.) The system automatically banned her for 24 hours for saying a keyword that tripped its security. This is good if you think about it, but she was very sad to have been tricked. They realized they err’d on the side of caution, but it was only after she missed the day of play. Lesson learned.
- If you are the victim of a scam or trick on Animal Jam, you can only contact them via their help desk or email; you cannot contact animal jam by phone for faster service (their number used to be 888-340-7313 but now it’s a recording that directs you to their online help). The wait time for help is 36-72 hours (and the ban was only 24 hours).
The quickest way to receive help from Animal Jam HQ is to visit the Help Desk. Click on the Help link from any Animal Jam webpage, then type the subject you have a question about.
If there is not a Help Desk article that addresses your needs, you will be prompted to send a customer service ticket to Animal Jam HQ. Please fill out every field accordingly.
You can also contact Animal Jam HQ by visiting our Contact Page, fill out the form completely, then press the Submit button.
Kids aren’t the only ones who learn from this game. This is a major tangent, so feel free to skip this or at least bear with me. My sister had my daughter stay with her last week. She went to VBS by her house. In getting the low-down on what my daughter is allowed to do, she asked about limiting screen time. This summer, we’ve been so busy with summer school enrichment classes (who knew summer school was fun now!?), summer camp, VBS and more summer activities, my daughter has really only had one week of “downtime.” During that week we agreed that she could spend no more than 4 hours a day playing online. So, when I told my sister “4 hours a day” she thought that was a really long time to let her play video games. In her defense, I hadn’t even thought to explain that she’d only done that for about 4 days and that wasn’t normal. Typically, she doesn’t play more than an hour – two at the most – because we’re so busy with everything else going on. And, this is a learning game they play in school, not exactly a “video game” like some that may not be appropriate for her age group or may not give an residual educational benefits. But, that made me think about it more.