Inside: Check out my Night Zookeeper review and see how this program will get your most reluctant writers excited about writing!
You know the sound your child makes when you ask him to write? Even if he doesn’t make a peep, the body language says it all! He’s slouched in his chair, resting his chin on his fist, and has the look of complete misery across his face.
He taps his pencil on the table and stares at the blank sheet of paper. No amount of coercing gets him started. In fact, you can come back an hour later and he’ll still be there (maybe) and the paper will still be blank.
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I received a subscription along with financial compensation for this review. My opinions are my own and I was not required to give a positive review.
For a child who hates to write, traditional teaching methods feel like punishment and make you feel like you’re beating your head against a wall. Not pleasant!
He needs something that caters to his learning style and is, dare I say, sneaky because it’s disguised as fun!
That’s where my Night Zookeeper review comes in!
What Is Night Zookeeper?
Night Zookeeper is an online writing program that uses fun interactive activities and games to help children get hooked on writing.
The setting of the game is in a zoo, which is under attack by Lord of Nulth and his robotic spiders called the Voids. They want to take over the zoo and your child’s job is to help Will, the night zookeeper, and his friend, Riya, protect the zoo and the animals in it.
As your child completes challenges and other exciting activities, he will get rewards in the form of Orbs. This allows him to see different parts of the map with his flashlight. There are also magical animals that can be powered up to help battle the evil characters and defeat them.
It’s all very enchanting and right up a kid’s alley!
Benefits of Using Night Zookeeper
This course may seem like any other game your kids might play at first glance, but there are hidden benefits both you and your students will gain from it.
- Encouraging creativity– Every time your child logs onto Night Zookeeper, he gets a chance to use his imagination through drawing, writing, or storytelling.
- Multi sensory approach– This platform incorporates the auditory, tactile, and visual modalities. It’s been proven when you can incorporate more than one learning style, children will absorb information better.
- Exciting– The storyline, characters, and mystery are all very exciting and will captivate your child to make him excited to do the lessons.
- No complaining– Seriously, my daughter is a tough one. She’s not a fan of school work and she enjoyed doing this!
- Better relationship with your child– It’s hard when your child pours his heart out on a piece he’s written and we have to be the one to correct it. Who wants to rain on their parade? With Night Zookeeper, there are tutors who make the corrections and suggestions. Let them be the bad guys. Just kidding! They do it in a way that’s positive and encouraging, but the best part is you are completely removed from it and can be there to support your child.
- Saves you time– Teaching every subject is time consuming (okay downright exhausting), especially when you have more than one child. Someone else doing the teaching for a subject is a blessing.
Those are great benefits in addition to learning to write.
How Is Night Zookeeper Different From Other Language Arts Programs?
In this Night Zookeeper Review, I wanted to point out how this online language arts program differs from others. I think you’ll find there are some unique ways this program stands out. Take a look at the list I put together below.
Goals-Students are given goals when working, such as writing a certain number of words or using various parts of speech to make their writing more interesting. These goals are set according to the child’s age. They’ll see immediate feedback on the screen if they meet their goals.
Feedback– Anytime a child submits his writing, he receives feedback from a tutor within 48 hours. It’s sent as a message, which the child gets a notification for. (My daughter thought it was cool she got mail!) The feedback starts with a positive compliment and then includes suggestions for substituting certain words, grammar corrections, and even a challenge to write about the topic from another angle.
Competitions– Weekly competitions are held where the children can publish their work and have a chance to win real prizes. There’s even a leaderboard to see who’s in what position.
Encouragement– The goals, tutor’s complements, challenges, and competitions are all ways this program encourages a child to write more. It’s in a playful setting that builds them up and makes them feel good about trying.
Orbs– As they move through the program completing goals, they’ll collect Orbs. The Orbs are rewarding because students can use them to power up their animals to fight in monster battles. They can also use them to customize their animals or collect animals other children have created.
Safe Environment– There’s an online community on the platform where kids can publish their work and chat about it with other students from around the world. It’s not open to the public, and they monitor it closely. Something I noticed is that it seems like a very positive atmosphere. We always have to worry about cyberbullying and negative comments that affect our children’s self-concept. I didn’t see that here. Everyone seemed very supportive and helpful, and I think that’s what they’re trying to accomplish.
Interests– Throughout the program, there are so many ways the creators have tried to incorporate ideas and topics that interest children to make them excited about writing. They seem to know what kids are interested in and use that to their advantage to make ideas relatable.
Interactive– During the lessons, students are not just sitting and watching. They must type answers which actively involve them. This helps them pay attention and not zone off like it’s easy to do when watching something online.
What Age Is Night Zookeeper For?
This online writing program is meant for children ages six to twelve. What’s nice is you don’t have to keep your child at a specific age level. You have the ability to move your child up and down depending on individual needs.
Can My Child Do This Program Independently?
The program is meant to be done independently; however, younger children may need a little assistance from the parent until they get the hang of how it works. The child should be able to type, write out words, and work the mouse on a computer.
Does Night Zookeeper Do What It Says?
Many programs assume a child’s vocabulary has already been established. Night Zookeeper uses a building blocks approach to learning. Through different activities and lessons, children will start by expanding their vocabulary.
These new words are then used to create sentences. In the early stages, the first part of the sentence is given to the child, and he finishes it. This removes that blank screen feeling and gives them something to write about.
As they write those sentences, they appear on the other side of the screen as a paragraph. This helps students visually see how sentences can be put together to form more complex writing.
Finally, students will have the opportunity to practice what they’ve learned and create stories on their own, which they can publish for other children in the program to see and comment on. They also have the option to keep them private if they don’t want to share.
I believe this step-by-step method is effective and gives children what they need to be successful at writing. It’s very well thought out and done in such a way that students enjoy what they’re doing.
Do I Need to Supplement This Curriculum?
Night Zookeeper is a complete language arts program that contains spelling, grammar, vocabulary, writing, and reading.
As students improve, they will explore different writing genres such as poetry, reports, persuasive writing, and newspaper articles.
There are five tabs at the top of the screen for students to choose from. Each one is a different way to promote learning and teach skills. They chose activities in these tabs for the child’s specific level.
Writing– In this tab, students can free-write or choose from the following six categories: story, newspaper report, report, poem, persuasive writing, or diary entry.
Challenges– Here, kids can choose a challenge to do. They’ll learn a skill and then have a challenge to do to practice it. It may be in the form of matching, grouping, naming, and more!
Lessons– Lessons are taught twice a week by a team of educators through their Interactive TV+. Students can choose to learn about topics such as writing styles or grammar skills.
Games– There’s a variety of fun games children can play to reinforce what they’ve learned or introduce new skills. While they feel like a video game, they are very focused. I liked that the font is large and easy to read. You can move the characters, like in a video game, and there’s sound to make it interesting but not overwhelming. I think it’s distracting when there’s too much activity or noise going on, and the games are over-stimulating, especially for kids with ADHD.
Projects– In the projects tab, I discovered another way they spark a child’s interest in writing. There are different categories, and some of them are fan clubs for popular games like Minecraft, Animal Crossing, and Roblox. Your child can click on one of those topics, and there are ideas for what to write about. This was exciting to my daughter. She was oohing and aahing over the topics. I think this tab has a lot of room to grow and will be inspirational to children.
As you can see from the diverse activities available to students, learning is never dull!
How Much Time Does This Take?
Children should do at least 30 minutes per week as a minimum. However, they suggest students do a couple of hours a week to get the most out of what they offer and to see the fastest results.
Who Is This For?
This program would be great for homeschoolers and students who are doing remote learning and need to add more academics. You can use it as a full curriculum or as a supplement to one.
I also think it will really appeal to:
- video games lovers
- reluctant writers
- those with an aversion to a blank sheet of paper
- parents who aren’t sure how to get their kids to write (you know- that beating your head against the wall thing I mentioned)
Does Night Zookeeper Work on an iPad?
Because this program is online, it works on tablets, laptops, and PCs, which I appreciate because the kids don’t have to fight over one computer. I can put them on different devices. It also means you can take it with you wherever you have Wi-Fi! Can you say carschooling?
Is There Help for the Parent?
A downloadable guide walks parents step-by-step through setting up an account, what the child will see, how feedback is given, and much more. I found the guide helpful and easy to follow. We were up and running in no time.
There’s also a parent dashboard where you can see your child’s progress, the stories they’ve written, and the feedback they’re getting from the tutors. This is also where you can adjust the difficulty level if you find the work is too easy or difficult for your child.
How Much Does the Night Zookeeper Cost?
You can get Night Zookeeper at 50% off the annual subscription with my link. This makes it $59.99 (which comes out to $5 a month) for the year for a single child subscription and $77.99 for 2-3 children. You can add more children at a bespoke price. You’ll get a free 7-day trial and then get 50% off on the yearly subscription when you sign up.
That’s a really good price, and even better when you have more than one child!
Here’s a video showing more about it. It’s in a classroom setting, but the idea is still the same.
Other Products Available
Not only does Night Zookeeper encourage writing, but they also have books your children can read that go along with the website. This is an excellent way to get a book in your kid’s hand.
You can purchase these books in print or eBook format.
At the moment, there are four different titles:
Book 1- The Giraffes of Whispering Wood
Book 2- The Lioness of Fire Desert
Book 3- The Penguins of Igloo City
Book 4- The Elephant of Tusk Temple
Book 5: The Bear of Flying Mountain (Coming soon)
The online shop also sells t-shirts with either the logo, symbols, or the main characters. These are cute, and kids can wear them like a team shirt.
You’ll also find teaching resources that include a wide variety of topics and activity packs to supplement what they’re learning online.
What I Loved About the Program
There were quite a few things I loved about this program.
I thought it was great because it included other subjects such as science and art. One of the assignments my daughter chose was to learn about polar bears and then write a report about them.
I especially liked that she didn’t have to go anywhere to do that! No searches on the internet, worrying about inappropriate content popping up, or pages with an ad that took the screen hostage. The content is built right into Interactive TV+ part of Night Zookeeper. She went through the videos learning different facts, and then it walked her through the steps of writing a report. Very nice!
There are a lot of choices students get. This is a big plus because it gives them some control over what they’re doing and makes them feel invested in their learning.
What I loved most is the fact that my daughter didn’t mind doing Night Zookeeper. She willingly got on the computer and was smiling while she did her lessons. She found the story prompts interesting and loved using the drawing tools.
I could see how she was thinking about her goals and trying to make sure she finished them. She was more aware of her writing and trying to improve on it. She looked forward to the feedback from the tutor and liked reading other student’s work. This is a big win in my book for a student who doesn’t like to write!
Conclusion for Night Zookeeper Review
If your student has an aversion to writing and needs a different approach, Night Zookeeper is a fantastic homeschool writing program or remote learning course.
The gentle prompts and suggestions, along with entertaining lessons that all work toward the mission of saving the zoo in a game format, are very inviting to kids.
Before they realize it, they’ll be drawn into the fun and whisked away to an imaginary place fighting with magical animals who are trying to save the zoo. Laughing and smiles will replace the complaints and negative body language they make when you ask them to write.
This program is so good; they won’t even know they’re learning!
I hope you found this Night Zookeeper review helpful. If you have a reluctant writer in your home that traditional methods aren’t working for, you need to give their free trial a try! And don’t forget you get 50% off with my link!
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