MiniMonos is a virtual world intended for children. The application offers children fun ways to pass the time online while learning about the environment and sustainability. MiniMonos, which means “Little Monkeys” in Spanish, gives children their own monkey avatar to customize. The site also stresses the need for taking action when addressing environmental problems. To go along with that sentiment, MiniMonos participates in a handful of charitable organizations. Each time a membership is purchased, a portion goes towards providing clean drinking water for children in India. The user is given their own tree house to decorate and can access a filtered live chat. The site users a currency called Banana Chips. The user is given some banana chips for signing up but must purchase more. The currency can go towards purchasing exclusive items for the user’s tree house or items for their avatar such as hair styles.
MiniMonos was founded in 2008. Although the site welcomes children from all countries, the company behind MiniMonos is based out of New Zealand. The concept was created by Melissa Clark-Reynolds, who was both an entrepreneur and a mother. She was also one of the first two New Zealand natives to be trained by Al Gore to present his controversial slide show, The Inconvenient Truth.
MiniMonos provides children with another virtual world to play in. What makes MiniMonos a little different is the strong focus on taking action when it comes to environmental issues. The site is full of environment themed activities and content. For some parents this may be a selling point while for others, it could be a reason to avoid MiniMonos.
MiniMonos uses a fun, Earthy color scheme. The homepage features a cartoon style island with floating islands, waterfalls and lapping waves surrounding it. Various stylized monkeys are seen on the island wearing different clothing, hair styles and accessories. A similar style is used throughout the website.
Users can purchase a gold membership in one, six and twelve month increments. The one month subscription costs around $6 while six months costs around $32. The one year option costs a total of around $40. The gold membership is given up to 3,000 bonus banana chips (one month gets 150 banana chips, six months gets 1,000 bonus chips and one year is given 3,000 banana chips). Subscribers also get access to exclusive clothing and hair styles as well as decorations for their tree house. Gold members can access the MiniMonos chat, access to two exclusive fur colors and ten t-shirt colors, a special gold icon, automatic Top Banana status and the ability to earn banana chips while asleep.
MiniMonos.com is an entertainment option for young children. The site is best suited for children whose parents feel strongly about environmental concerns because the site’s theme is based on issues related to the environment.