This post was sponsored by Night Zookeeper. While I was compensated for my time, all thoughts and opinions are my own and/or those of my sons.
Night Zookeeper is an online writing curriculum for kids ages 6-12. It is a complete language arts homeschool curriculum that helps children develop solid writing skills while having fun!
As a homeschooling mom, I understand the importance of solid writing skills, for my children to use both in their personal lives and as professionals when they grow up. Writing is something that comes naturally to me but teaching it is a completely different ballgame!
Luckily, technology is an amazing thing & I'm able to utilize an online homeschool curriculum to help out! If you are looking for a fun and interactive online writing curriculum for your kids, Night Zookeeper is one you need to check out!
This program is great for homeschoolers, as a full language curriculum or to supplement your existing curriculum. Not homeschooling? You still want to check this out! It isn't time-intensive, will help build their existing skills, and they get feedback from tutors on their writing…all while playing and having fun!
Already familiar with Night Zookeeper and just waiting for the right time to get started? Right now, you can get a free 7-day trial and 50% off an annual subscription with any link in this post.
What is Night Zookeeper?
Night Zookeeper is an award-winning, online creative writing curriculum designed to help children develop their writing skills. It is based on the theme of kids becoming night zookeepers. They get to collect animals and create new ones. The more they play and learn, the larger their collection grows.
They also have a book series and a tv series! If you are hunting for a holiday gift for a family member, make sure you peek at their newest book Night Zookeeper: The Bear of Flying Mountain, part of their Adventure Book Series.
How does Night Zookeeper work?
Night Zookeeper uses gaming and competition to help children work on their writing skills. Their homeschool curriculum uses reminders and prompts to help children correct their writing & learn new grammar rules as they play.
I set up an account for my nephew L (8-years-old) and it started by having him draw an animal and name it.
This was his first animal. He ended up erasing it, because he decided he needed to make a panda, with pink and yellow spots.
Then he got to answer questions about his new friend Loke mana (Luke), whose superpower is his dance skills.
I really liked that it corrects and reminds but only addresses one mistake at a time. I've found that pointing out too many mistakes will leave children feeling frustrated and doubting their ability to do something.
After the third reminder, he started remembering to put a period at the end of each sentence without further prompting.
After he finished the prompts, it showed him his animal report. Because he was using my computer and I have Grammarly installed, these annoying red lines kept showing up under his words. I ended up disabling it for him because I wanted him to focus on the issues they pointed out and quit clicking to try to make the red go away.
I just love that everything is reviewed by tutors. As a mom of 4 with a few nephews, it is about impossible to monitor everyone's device at the same time and stop them from seeing/reading something that they don't need to be exposed to, but with Night Zookeeper, I don't have to worry about it! No need to flag content and wait for it to be removed – everything is moderated.
Is Night Zookeeper an app?
It is not an app, at this time. It is a website and compatible with tablets as well as computers. Even though it doesn't suggest it, the twins had to try it out on their phones. Regardless of orientation, it was too hard to navigate well, so I recommend sticking with a Chromebook or tablet for children.
They recommend using Safari or Chrome browsers for the best experience. We used Chrome and it was quite smooth.
Is Night Zookeeper a full curriculum?
Night Zookeeper can be used as a full language arts homeschool curriculum or as a supplement for your current curriculum. It can also be beneficial for children that attend public or private school but struggle with language arts because it makes it fun for them.
What does Night Zookeeper teach?
Night Zookeeper is a language arts curriculum. Full language arts homeschool programs typically cover the majority of components that make up language arts, such as composition, grammar, handwriting, keyboarding, listening, reading, spelling, and vocabulary.
Does Night Zookeeper teach spelling?
Yes! Night Zookeeper has fun games that are designed to improve spelling skills and increase vocabulary.
Does Night Zookeeper teach grammar?
Yes, the puzzles and challenges in Night Zookeeper help children develop their grammar and sentence structure skills.
What are some of the benefits of Night Zookeeper?
- Improved Core Writing Skills
- Personalised Feedback from a dedicated team of tutors
- Weekly Lessons that incorporate interactive video elements and games to teach your children key skills.
- Publishing Opportunities and weekly competitions with real life prizes!
- FREE Monthly Educational Printables
- No prep required
- Flexibility to do as your schedule allows
What are some features of Night Zookeeper?
With the parent dashboard, you are able to see their progress, feedback from tutors, leave comments on their writing pieces, see new lessons, and adjust settings/difficulties.
Every week your child will receive 2 new interactive lessons that teach writing skills.
Varied Writing Prompts
They use a wide variety of writing prompts to get kids writing about topics that interest them, including popular games, different wildlife, and superpowers.
All of your child's writing is sent to a tutor to read and respond to. Getting feedback is so beneficial when developing new skills! The tutors leave positive comments, encouragement, and corrective criticism to help your child develop their writing skills.
Contests & Publishing Opportunities
They offer weekly competitions with real-life prizes! Plus, their writing can be published!
Your child can connect with children across the globe and build friendships. There is no live chat option and everything is moderated, but they offer a lot of parental control options, including the ability to completely disable if you wish.
They also have free printables released monthly that you can use to supplement their online curriculum.
Games are actually an optional feature, like many aspects of Night Zookeeper. It's one of the main reasons I was interested in trying it out. I'm a huge fan of what I call sneaky learning, learning while playing instead of during a school setting.
The games are all educational but fun and come with a reward! Students get to power up their animals by collecting orbs. They can also use orbs to collect animals created by other children.
I wasn't able to get many images of the games, because I got scolded for messing with his score, but my nephew got a kick out of earning rewards for clicking the mistakes in sentences.
What ages is Night Zookeeper for?
Night Zookeeper is recommended for children ages 5-12. For neurotypical children, we agree with this age range. The twins turn 12 next month and feel it was a little “too cringe” for them, but they are a little more mature than their older siblings were at that age.
Is Night Zookeeper safe for kids?
While nothing online is 100% safe for kids and I highly recommend things like keeping devices in family spaces instead of bedrooms, I didn't find anything alarming. They have taken many steps to help protect kids.
Usernames are assigned, so they don't provide any personally-identifying information. Profile images are not photographs but drawings. The avatar creation tool looked pretty fun to me, especially for younger kids.
Everything is moderated, so you don't have to worry about your child seeing any inappropriate comments or drawings.
I was surprised to see I could turn games off, but clicking more info showed me why. From what I found, anything that involves any type of interaction can be disabled.
Night Zookeeper offers a lot of settings that are designed to allow a parent to customize the amount of interaction their child has with others, which I feel helps keep it safer for children of varying ages as social development.
How did our family like Night Zookeeper?
I wish we had found Night Zookeeper years ago. My older two would have benefited from it a lot, but it's a bit too “little kid” for all 4 of them now.
My 8-year-old nephew tested it out for me and quite enjoyed it. He was having fun creating and erasing his animals so he could keep designing but also enjoyed the challenges that popped up. When I asked what he liked he said he liked making his buddy and that his buddy said “thank you for making me”.
Is Night Zookeeper free?
Night Zookeeper offers a free 7-day trial so you can explore it and see how it works for your family before signing up for the full subscription.
While exploring the site, I did have a pop-up appear offering a free creative writing resource. Using the free resources and signing up for the free 7-day trial will help you decide if it is the right language program for you.
I recommend setting up your account and having time set aside each day during your trial for your child to explore and work through it with you watching/checking in to see how they like it firsthand as well as checking out the progress reports it offers.
How much does Night Zookeeper cost?
Normally, Night Zookeeper is $12.99/month for one child. They also offer a slight discount when you pay for 3 months at a time and buying an annual package is only$118.99, saving you more money. But…right now they have an even better deal!
Right now is the BEST time to get started, because they are offering 50% off their annual plan! That's only $59.99 for a single child or $77.99 for 2-3 kids!