Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ready, Set, Wiggle

After my recent post regarding the Imagination Movers and the Wiggles, I actually received an email from someone on behalf of the Wiggles.  I was asked if I'd be interested in checking out WiggleTime.com, a new interactive site that the Wiggles just launched. Of course, I was excited to be asked and so I agreed.

My children were pretty excited when I loaded up Wiggle Time.com and took them through it's pages.  It was easy to register and your child can select their own username and then they get to choose what they want their picture to look like from the colour of their skin to their hat and clothes they are wearing.  This is the character (themselves) that they will see moving around the WiggleTime world.  

Very easy to navigate, your child can either drive the Big Red Car to each of their destinations, Wag's, Dorothy, Henry's, Captain Feathersword's homes, etc.. or there is a handy map where you can click and arrive at their selection directly. 

The graphics are bright and colourful.  The look of it is exactly how you would picture the Wiggles to be in cartoon mode and the idea of it is great.  You can either register and have limited access to games and videos or you can subscribe and have a wider access.   

The monthly subscription fee is low, only $6.95 a month with bigger discounts if you commit to a longer term.  With the subscription you get a parent report card, a place where you can check your child's progress or ability level in relation to how well they've played their games.   There is also a parent resource section and you are given access to pre-release concert tickets and discounts on Wiggles products.  Plus there is a also a special feature where you can build into your subscription a donation to Unicef. 

The girls enjoyed exploring through the Wiggle world, especially building their own treehouse and even O (2) was happy to just sit on my lap and watch the characters move around the screen.   He can't call say Wiggles yet so whenever he hears or sees their shows, he says "Wee Wee Wiggy".   It was fun to visit the animated version of each character's home and play the games they have.  I forgot to mention, with successful completion of the games, your child earns a toy which goes into a toy box in their house.  When you click on their house, you can open the toy box and check everything out. 

What I didn't like about the site?  It took too long to load.

It seemed to take forever to launch the Wiggle application.  When I timed it, I was right, it took almost 2 minutes to load. When the page finally opened, we'd click on something and bam we'd have to wait another 30 or 40 seconds for the next stage to load up.  The kids were getting impatient with it, as was I, and it seemed like every time we wanted to do something else, we'd have to sit and wait.  The designers did put a fun function where there is a blob of colour on the loading screen that you can use your mouse and move it into different shapes but really, how long is that interesting?  

The only other criticism I have about the site is that it would be nice if more things were clickable.  For instance, we're in Dorothy's house but can you click on anything besides the T.V. (for videos) and the ball (for a game)?  No.  It would have been fun to be able to click on the teapot and hear something like "mmm Rosie tea, my favourite".  It's fun to be able to click on birds as you pass them, hear them tweet or just move, click on flowers, see them bloom, see the sun wink.  That kind of thing makes the kids explore more. 

Oh and what's probably a programming issue, it does not work well with Google Chrome.  You cannot see the bottom of the page where the advance arrows are.  It worked fine in IE but on my work computer I have an extra tool bar on my IE and I couldn't click on the advance arrows until I closed out the toolbar and then I had enough room on my screen to view everything. 

One other neat page I found through looking at this site is called Wiggle Into Health. This is a webpage which talks about nutrition, hygiene, physical activity and safety.  There is even a parent resource page on nutrition and recipes.  Again, it is pretty basic but sometimes that's what we need to do, get back to the basics. 

So all in all, it was a fun experience.  Have I registered?  Yes.  Have I subscribed? No.   Unless the site becomes faster at loading, I'm not really interested in a full time subscription at this time.  I don't mind waiting for the first page to take time to load up if you only have to wait once. After all, it's a complex program and these things take time even if it's a game installed on your computer. It's just the time in between each activity that was getting irritating.  

Still, it's entertaining and if you have little ones that like the Wiggles then it's definitely worth the look.  Like I said, my girls enjoyed playing the games when they got to it and we will definitely back.  

*Should be noted that I have Express Speed DSL cable and I even tried loading the site from my work computer which is DSL but a different provider same problem both times. *
**Please note this was not a paid review.  It was done merely for fun."**

1 comment:

  1. Mine are older, so I have no idea who the Wiggles are. But I'm sure they're awesome.

    I quit watching children's TV when my youngest (now 13) developed a passion for the Teletubbies. That was it. By that time I had sat through almost twelve years of inane television, and Teletubbies was THE most inane. I had done my part and refused to be tortured any longer.

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