The Virgin Mattress Contest

This isn't *my* giveaway, but if you need a new mattress, you might want to check it out.

It's The Virgin Mattress Contest - and it's a pretty cute idea. Submit a video about your current mattress, and you could win a brand new one!

If you win, I get to sleep over. :)

JumpStart 3D Virtual World

Even at five and two, my kids are computer geeks love technology. I swear they learned to maneuver a mouse earlier than they could walk. So you can imagine my first thought when I was contacted by JumpStart about reviewing their online kids' games: Yay! Something to occupy their time while I go to the bathroom in peace!

I mean, um, Yay! The boys will love this! 

Seriously, though, I was right - the boys DO love the JumpStart 3D Virtual World. There is sooooo much for them to explore! I promise you, no matter how old your kids are, or where their interests lie, there is something for absolutely anyone (trust me, I know ... I once stayed up until 11 o'clock playing a game called Punk-Punk Drop). And it's not just a list of games that you click on; it's a whole world that kids maneuver through using a little avatar called a "Jumpee" that they create.

Screenshots courtesy of JumpStart

The boys could choose their Jumpeez' clothing, accessories, and features, right down to skin tone and hairstyle. (Colin's resembled him, with blonde hair and blue eyes. Cameron's was dark-skinned with bright pink hair. Oh, and female.) And then they chose their Jumpeez' names: Colin BraveBear and Cameron ThunderCloud.

With their Jumpeez, the boys could explore the vast (huge, enormous, I'm-not-kidding-it's-gigantic) "landscape" of things to do, finding fun surprises as they clicked from world to world. One minute the Jumpeez were probing the depths of the ocean in a submarine, and the next they'd be giving a dragon a bath or designing a cute little house.

They could earn coins and stars, which they used to "buy" things like accessories for their Jumpeez. Some of the games were more educational than others, but they were all entertaining. Cameron loved StoryLand, the area designed especially for kids ages three to five. Now, Cameron is just two and a half, but even at his age there was a lot of stuff he could do. And I like the fact that you can choose whether to control the Jumpee with the keyboard or the mouse, depending on which your kid is better at handling.

Their favorite area was the Enchanted Sanctuary, where they could earn a special egg by collecting a certain number of hearts. Once they got their egg, they could decorate it any way they wanted to and then incubate it.

In one day, the egg hatched and became either a dragon or a pegasus (their choice): a "Mythie." After the Mythie hatched, they could name it, and then spend time playing with it, caring for it - even teaching it how to fly. Both the boys loved this feature, although Cameron needed a little help; it's geared toward kids who are a little older.

Overall, I was just so impressed by the variety. You could literally spend time on JumpStart for months and discover new things to do every day. And there are tons of features that, since my kids are so young still, we didn't even really get to use. Like chat: you can socialize and interact, in real time, with other JumpStart users. I can see that being an awesome thing for older kids, but for mine, it's a little advanced.

My one and only gripe with JumpStart 3D Virtual World is that it seemed a little "buggy" at times. It would freeze up or load very slowly once in a while. BUT - and that's a big but, much like the one I'm sitting on right now - it's been a long time since I've updated my Flash player and/or JavaScript or whatever other Internet-experience-optimizing-doohickeys you have to keep on top of. (Yeah, I'm tech-savvy, be jealous.) So the problems I experienced could have totally been my computer and not the website itself.

Bottom line? My kids really do like JumpStart. And I really do like that they're learning something while they play. It's a pastime that they can enjoy for a long time, no matter how much their interests or academic levels change - especially since JumpStart always seems to be adding new stuff to its already-huge repertoire of activities.

The best part is, they have generously allowed me to give away a FREE three-month membership to JumpStart! Would your kid (or heck, even you) like to explore the 3D Virtual World? Then all you've got to do is leave a comment! Bonus entry if you promise to name your Jumpee "Rita AwesomeBlogger" (just kidding, but that's a cool name, right? ... Right?). As always, I'll choose the winner in one week - that'll be Wednesday, September 22nd - via

Good luck y'all!

Disclosure: I was provided with a JumpStart membership at no cost by Knowledge Adventure in order to test the products’ abilities and give my own personal opinions on it. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but were not influenced by the company or the free product provided.