It’s night at the zoo and the dastardly Voids are up to no good, they’re trying to ruin the zoo! Fear not Zookeepers, Will the Night Zookeeper and his friend Riya, with your help, are here to save the day – er, I mean night.
Night Zookeeper is an engaging, gamified online writing program that absolutely blew my mind. The artwork, the story, the teaching methodology, it’s all so lovely.
There is a lot to love here, keep scrolling to read my Night Zookeeper Review. Oh, be sure to check out the Night Zookeeper books too!
What is Night Zookeeper all about?
Meet Will, the Night Zookeeper, and his friend Riya. A nasty Void (the bad characters) has put a spell on the zoo, causing a night so foggy that Will & Riya are having trouble rescuing all of the animals! Your role in the story is to help Will & Riya find & rescue the zoo animals & grounds.
Along the way you’ll meet and rescue animals & new characters, who in turn continue the story.
Your child is in total control of the story. They decide what to do, what word games to play to advance your progress, and how to play the ultimate strategy game that allows you to go one-on-one with the Voids. Grammar. Vocabulary. Creative Writing. Non-fiction reading comprehension. It’s all there.
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Who Helped Me Test This Program?
My delightful playtester was my 6-year-old non-reader. You’ll meet her in the video below, be sure to watch! 2023 Update: The aforementioned kid is almost 10 and I just started her back because she is sooooo into texting.
Being a non-reader is a perfect example of how we can adapt Night Zookeeper to meet our children’s needs! Night Zookeeper was designed for ages 6-12 (roughly 1st – 6th grade in the USA) but it has this really great read-to-me feature that’s available for ALL ages/grades. The read-to-me feature is great for kids like mine. She clicks on it and narrates the answer, which I type for her.
What we LOVE about Night Zookeeper!
1) Night Zookeeper is SAFE for kids.
Comments are moderated, all writings are scanned for “bad stuff”, and no photos can be uploaded.
2) Night Zookeeper is RELEVANT.
The text message-based program is familiar and less intimidating for kids to start.
3) THE GAME!
Riya & Will need a map of the zoo to succeed in vanishing the Void. As your child works they have the opportunity to play the game. Played like an area control game, part of the map is revealed each time you make a successful move.
3) Night Zookeeper has engaging WRITING PROMPTS
delivered for every single assignment.
4) NZK offers help!
If your child is stuck on a writing idea, many of the prompts allow for you to accept an offer of HELP. The help gets you started by writing the first part of a sentence, encouraging the use of specific words, etc.
Your child will want to keep writing because of the immediate, positive feedback. Every writing will get a comment from the Night Zookeeper team, and it’s always kept positive. If your child posts a story in a challenge, they will get only positive feedback from other users.
6) READ-TO-ME OPTION
that lasts for the entire program, not just for younger age levels. This is just one of the ways you can personalize the program for your child’s unique needs.
7) The PARENT DASHBOARD
allows you to change age levels, easily see their writings and comments, and get an overall view of their accuracy. If you’re into this sort of thing, you can also see percentage “grades”.
8) Above all else, Night Zookeeper is STORY-BASED.
Your child is part of the story as it progresses. There is adventure & humor in the absolutely gorgeously-illustrated stories.
What are my kids learning?
Night Zookeeper uses engaging, but familiar, vocabulary. The way Night Zookeeper manipulates language based on level is pretty cool, and length of lessons grow as the child progresses through age levels. Lessons aren’t pandering or patronizing & prompt the children with specific vocabulary words to use, an intuitive way for children to learn new words.
Puzzles and GAMES teach & develop grammar and sentence structure skills are really fun. Surprisingly fun. Your kid won’t even realize that they’re learning! Check out the video above for a game demonstration. Also, I am really bad at quickly finding verbs *hides face in shame* (hides is a verb, fyi)
Inspiring prompts and story creation lessons are provided every step of the way. I particularly love the text conversation prompts, which can be done with or without help from Professor Penguin. The Story prompts spark imagination & encouragement, especially for new and reluctant writers.
How you can get in the story!
I betcha your kids is going to love Night Zookeeper, but let’s say they don’t. First, you have a free trial period. Let’s say you buy it then find out your child really isn’t crazy about Night Zookeeper, you aren’t out too much. Night Zookeeper also offers a limited-time refund, but be sure to read it.
CLICK HERE TO CLAIM YOUR FREE TRIAL