Moshi Monsters is a cute virtual pet game where the child adopts a new Moshi pet which they can nurture and raise, interact with, play games with and much more. The Moshi Pet community is filled with activities and games that will captivate the interest as well as teach important lessons - without the child even realizing that they are learning. That is the magic of online educational games like this - effortless learning.
Moshi Monsters Main Screen
Upon first joining Moshi Monsters, the child will encounter a wide cartoon magical land filled from one end to the other with buildings and locations. The layout of the world has the look and feel of something that a child would dream up, with an oversized bursting volcano and flowing streams of lava to a theme park nestled on the edge of a waterland. This is the screen where the child can choose any spot for their Moshi Monster to explore further.
Hall of Puzzles
Moshi Monsters offers kids an interesting combination of games and education. For example, at the Hall of Puzzles, kids choose from a variety of puzzle games to play. Winning puzzles earns virtual rewards called Rox, and of course helps to increase the mood of their virtual monster pet.
A Moshi Monsters Puzzle
Many of the puzzles may seem a little bit too simple for some children, but there is enough of a variety that most kids will find something they love to play. The puzzles feel like a game to most children, but underlying each game is a lesson in areas like spelling, colors, reading and more.
The Grossery Store
In addition to learning standard topics, on Moshi Monsters children also learn other important life lessons like properly managing resources and establishing a balance between fun and work. On Moshi Monsters, kids must remember that the virtual pet has certain needs. At the "Grossery" story, children spend the points they've earned through games in order to buy their monster much-needed food.
Feeding the Virtual Monster
Back at home, the child learns to care for their monster. Keeping the virtual pet healthy means playing with it (playing puzzles) as well as feeding the pet so that it doesn't get too hungry. If a monster gets too hungry, it will eventually get sick. By learning the balance tasks between playing games to earn points and spending points to feed their monster, children learn very important lessons about working for what's needed, and not using more resources than you really need to get the job done.
Another feature of the game that incorporates education in a way that children don't even realize is how they communicate with their monster. If they click on the monster, a conversation bubble comes up and they need to read the message to understand exactly what the monster needs in order to increase either mood or health status. Younger children get important practice with improving reading skills through trying to understand what it is their pet wants.
Moshi Monsters also offers a safe environment for children to interact in a way that doesn't have privacy risks. Each child has their own "pinboard." If they provide their user name to their friends, those friends can visit the pinboard and leave messages. It's a fun way for children to "pass notes" while also protecting their privacy, because Moshi Monsters does not offer a way for the public to view user names. Communication is only between already-established friends.
The Friends Tree
While not being able to search user names may feel limiting, the "Friends Tree" provides a nice community feel similar to the "Friends List" adults may be familiar with in sites like Facebook. At Moshi Monsters, kids can visit each other in-game and post a message to a user's "Friends Tree" asking to become friends. If accepted, friends have each other's names mutually featured on their trees.
The Moshi Monsters Forum
If children want a more direct way to take part in the community, there is an official Moshi Monsters forum where they can take part in public conversations with other members of the community. This area is heavily monitored and policed by the Moshi Monsters staff, and users can instantly "flag" troublesome or questionable posts for staff to review.
The look and feel of this community is cute, although it will probably be more appropriate for younger children, from about 4 or 5 years old up to 10 or 11. Pre-teens will probably find the look and feel too child-like for their tastes.
Overall, this website is a good addition to any parent's list of sites that successfully incorporates learning into online fun and games. It is an opportunity to fit additional education into the child's online activities without the child even realizing it.