I knew I would review Secret Builders as I went into the weekend but I did not expect to spend hours with my kids playing and enjoying it so much! Secret Builders combines everything I love about an online community for children; it is safe with no ads, it has MANY educational and FUN games, it has beautiful graphics, it offers mini quests (adventure type games), it allows children to play games with each other and has many locations to explore. They also throw in the ability to have a pet dragon or unicorn which my 9 year old son and 5 1/2 year old daughter thought was the coolest thing in the world!
To sign up for Secret Builders you pick an appropriate age group for your child and are sent an email to approve the FREE membership. They will eventually offer free AND subscription memberships but for now it is all offered free. There is so much to explore and so many wonderful games to play. The games require thought and the quests have you using items in your inventory to figure out puzzles. In many of the games they throw in educational information and they even have characters like Einstein, Shakespeare, Alice in Wonderland and more walking around the town that you can interact and learn from.
There are many different ways to play Secret Builders and my son liked it so much he quickly made it his home page. My 5 1/2 year old daughter needed some help reading for the quests but for the most part got around wonderfully and had fun exploring and playing the many games. Play games and quests to earn “shills” to spend in the shop. The site is broken down by the menu on top which allows you to:
Change your Avatar: When you begin you design your character (avatar). You can always come back here to change clothes and the look of your avatar.
Shop: Buy pets, magic spells(that you cast on other players), furniture or design furniture for your home or to sell.
Who is Online: Find out which of your buddies is online.
Home: Takes you to your house which you can paint any color you want, add furniture to, hatch your pet’s egg and take care of them, have friends visit and more…
Quests: There are 5 quests to start and I am sure they will be adding more. Help Shakespeare, find objects, feed the Cheshire cat…. each quest is a bit different, has you visiting various locations and using your brain to figure things out!
World Map: Right now there are 3 locations: Haunted Valley, Treasure Island and Enchanted Woods. There will be more added but even exploring these 3 allows for tons of entertainment. Each location has characters that you can interact with, you can cast spells on other members, you can make someone a “buddy” and/or challenge them to a game, you can wander to different locations to find games and things to interact with…..
Games: The games are broken into 4 categories:
Multiplayer — Challenge someone (by clicking on them) to a game. Currently there are over 10 multiplayer games.
Activity — Fun games for Creative Side — One of my favorites is “Artist’s Salon”– use a paintbrush to paint the picture by drawing lines (similar to old school Qix) without being caught by a eraser or in later levels the scissors. When you capture 75% of the screen — you finish the level and a summary comes up of the painting and the artist. There are currently 5 activity games.
Action — Games that test quickness and coordination — A favorite is “Dr. Jekyll’s Lab Rush”. Move around collecting the blue beakers but avoid the red ones. As you collect the beakers they line up behind you making maneuvering more challenging. Don’t touch the walls or your tail of beakers and enjoy as the levels increase in speed! There are currently 13 Action Games.
Puzzle — Challenge your mind for these fun games. A favorite is “Lose Your Marbles”. Similar to the classic “Zuma” — you shoot like colored marbles to match 3 or more. You try to get combinations where shooting one marble matches up many colors as they disappear. Clear the marbles from the screen before they reach where you are shooting them from to cleat the level. FUN Game! There are currently 15 Puzzle games including sudoku and a bunch more of my favorites!
All the games have great sound and nice clear graphics. The games offer something for everyone and they have QUITE a substantial number of games for just launching!
Crooked Pencil: Send in stories, poems, jokes, essays and school reports and read others.
Build It: Leave ideas for things you would like to see on Secret Builders.
Contests: Right now there are 4 where your child can win cash and shills. There is the Kid Inventor Challenge which asks your child to design a toy that Secret Builders can offer for sale with shills. There is the write a the Letter to President to Obama Contest where your child can win their entry being published in such publications as The Huffington Post and the CNN IReport. All the contests encourage creativity!
Sound/Help Buttons: Self explanatory and easily accessible.
Citizens Patrol: Did someone say something inappropriate or act unkindly — report them here.
One For All: Answer these educational questions correctly and earn money for charity as well as shills. There are 3 games to play:
Mathlematics – Solve problems in 3 levels: Easy (Grades K-3), Medium (Grades 3-5), Hard (Grades 5-8)
Word Play — A vocabulary word is given — you have to pick the synonym of the word from 4 choices.
Cool Logic – Number sequences to figure out that increase in difficulty and currently has 30 levels to complete.
That is a summary of the main page on Secret Builders but I don’t even feel it does justice to just HOW MUCH is available here. There is a real sense of community as well helped out by the contests, Crooked Pencil and even people helping each other on quests….. Can you tell I love Secret Builders? This is the first time my husband has LAUGHED at how much time I spent on a game and said, “what’s so great about the site anyway?” I think my reply was something like, “Um, everything!”. It is a joy to review kid’s games and sites when I am given one as high quality as Secret Builders. NOW you know something for FREE your kids (and you) can do over winter break and STILL learn while having fun!
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