Mar 23, 2007
Time to play, money to spendBy Carleen

Eleven-year-old Liana Crandall, a fifth-grader in St. Louis, is a typical overscheduled kid. When she isn’t playing soccer or basketball after school, she’s swimming or singing in the choir. But she always makes time for one special thing.

“I get all my homework done during recess because then I can go home and play Webkinz,” she says. “I play at least an hour a day, two hours tops.”

The site is the brainchild of Ganz, a Canadian toymaker with a popular line of plush pets. Two years ago Ganz created an online environment to entertain the owners of its stuffed animals and was quickly swept into the exploding world of virtual-reality gaming aimed at tweens, children between the ages of 8 and 12.

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