Kids Sites Get Their Holiday Groove On
Up on the monitor — click, click, click — downloaded Web sites featuring St. Nick. Several popular kids entertainment sites are revved up for the holidays. In this installment of Web Browser, we’ve checked out a few to see what sort of seasonal jollies they are offering.
Ranking system: * = Web Waste; ** = Snoozefest; *** = Going for Gold; **** = Jackpot
Web Site & Ranking: Bonus.com http://www.bonus.com ***
Kid Appeal: Bonus.com has a holiday page that incorporates a healthy blend of
entertainment and educational activities. The Christmas section includes
cards that can be printed and colored, a game in which kids help Santa drop
of toys down chimneys and another where Santa tries out his snowboarding moves.
Unfortunately, the Hanukkah portion of the site is not nearly as entertaining.
Kids can spin a virtual dreidel or light a virtual menorah. Neither activity is
very interactive or exciting. It does get a little better though, as kids are
offered the chance to send Hanukkah Web greetings and download the “Dreidel
Song.” The section also includes recipes for “Cornish Hens in Honey” and “Duck
Breast with Tangy Honey Sauce.” We doubt kids’ Easy Bake Ovens are ready for
this sort of fare. Many of the links on the holiday page are to other sites on
the Internet. Bonus has earned the trust of parents and teachers by
automatically launching software on its homepage that confines visitors within
page rather than allowing them to surf the Web. One of the pages Bonus links to
explains the African-American celebration, Kwanzaa. The page does have some
informative facts about the seven-day festival, but some of it would probably
seem dry to kids.
On the Ad Front …: Bonus.com, which bills itself as the SuperSite for Kids,
has a number of different advertisers. The site is heavily promoting “Casper’s
Haunted Christmas” video with a quiz and synopsis of the movie. Kids sites such
as SIKids, Disney Blast and Nick.com also have advertising space. Promotional
space has also been given to Kodak Picture Planet Software, Flick Trix Finger
Bikes and Gateway.
Web Site & Ranking: FreeZone Network http://www.freezone.com ***1/2
Kid Appeal: As always, great graphics and fun colors abound at FreeZone. The
site has cooked up a Ho Ho Hoedown page that includes “Adore-A-Menorah,” where
players must dodge doughnuts to save Hanukkah, and the self-explanatory “Whack
an Elf.” As with most kids’ sites, FreeZone offers some holiday craft ideas,
such as how to make wrapping paper and gift tags. The site has put a new twist
on electronic greetings by allowing kids to send their friends virtual presents
ranging from a stack of cash to their very own elephant. Users can also write
some silly Christmas songs with the site’s “Create-a-Carol.” FreeZone continues
to be primarily an entertainment site, but that is changing. The Gale Group
recently acquired the company and plans to add some educational content to
FreeZone (see this issue’s cover story). Marketing manager Jessica Halem says
the educational component will be so entertaining, kids might not even realize
they’re learning. The site’s Winter Carnival page includes a feature called
Science of Snow,”
On the Ad Front …: Chiquita is sponsoring the Ho Ho Hoedown. Lunch Makers has
an ongoing promotional partnership with FreeZone that includes games and a
chance to win for a free trip to Cartoon Network’s studios. There are also
advertisements for the American Cancer Society and Robotix, which let kids
spacecraft, androids and other out-of-this-world items.
Web Site & Ranking: KidsCom http://www.kidscom.com ***
Kid Appeal: KidsCom has taken a different approach to the standard printable
holiday gift tags that most kid sites are offering. It allows users to decorate
their tag on the computer screen with various backgrounds and colors before
printing it out. There is also a holiday word search, coloring pages, and paint
pad. KidsCom also features a couple of seasonal games, including “Goodie Grab
Bag,” where St. Nick must use his sack to catch presents being thrown by one of
his helpers. A few of the links on the holiday page, such as a music machine
word game, don’t seem to have anything to do with the holidays, but are still
On the Ad Front …: Most of the advertising space on the site is used for in-
house promotions. IPlanetarium and Disney Blast also have some space on the
Web Site & Ranking: Nikolai http://www.nikolai.com ***1/2
Kid Appeal: Parents can set up a Nikolai Allowance account for kids to buy toys
and other products at Nikolai. There is also a wish list featuring toys from
“Blues Clues,” Madeline and others. Kids can e-mail the list to friends and
family who might be stumped when it comes to gift ideas this holiday season. On
Nikolai’s Christmas page, users can play a round of “Tic Tac Mistletoe” or
out some music on the interactive holiday organ. The site also has a Shockwave
game where kids help Santa deliver presents. Christmas crafts, poems and
are also featured. Nikolai’s Hanukkah page was pretty sparse when we checked it
out. Kids could read the story of Hanukkah and make their own dreidel.
On the Ad Front …: Chevron Cars sponsors the site’s Adventure Stories page,
and the state of Alabama is running a banner ad promoting its coast. Otherwise,
advertising is pretty scarce.
COPYRIGHT 2000 Phillips Publishing International, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group