Friday, December 18, 2009

Club Penguin

My son is hanging out in Club Penguin these days.

And, um, so am I.

Club Penguin is a virtual world for kids - each kid is a cartoon penguin.

You take your penguin around the island, into various buildings, down ski hills, onto a pirate ship. (Still with me?)

Theoretically it's free, but all of the fun games are behind the membership wall, and that's $5.99 a month. My son and I are trying it for one month.

I set up my own penguin so I could play with my son online.

He wanted to join up because it's something his friends are doing.
I agreed, because I thought it would get him typing more (the penguins can talk to each other).

The literacy angle
Long-story short, I just found a terrific area on Club Penguin that may provide a good incentive for him to type. It's in the "book room" (natch), in the Coffee Shop. There are several books there that feature stories which you have to type in order to read them. As you type the tale, more story is revealed.

At the end, not only have you read a story but you receive a bunch of Club Penguin coins, the local currency.

And you've done a bunch of typing, which is the whole point, as far as I'm concerned.
Here's a link to Club Penguin.
It's known for being very safe, with excellent parental tools such as the ability to limit the amount of time your little penguin hangs out there, and they're very responsive to people writing them with queries.

I have no idea if this Club Penguin thing is good or not, or has anything to do with literacy. Probably not. But I am enjoying exploring stuff my son's interested in, and we're having fun.
Incidentally, if you think Club Penguin is a little thing, it's not. There are about 50 servers on the site, and at any given time most of them are full, with thousands of little virtual penguins. It's a big club.

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