Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Always Icecream (TOS Review)


I have Facebook, my 11-yo has Always Icecream.


Product Details

What’s Always Icecream?  It’s a girls-only website, created for ages 7-12, that combines fun and education (and lots of pink!) 

It not only allows girls to play educational (and other) games to win $coops, but also to interact with online friends in a monitored environment.  You control the settings via a parent account linked to your daughter’s account. 

There are several subscription levels:

Monthly - $4.99, with the first month being $0.99- Paypal account required.

Two months’ membership - $9.98 – no subscription required, pay with credit/debit card or Paypal.

Annual membership - $29.99 – pay with credit/debit card or Paypal.

Lifetime membership - $99.99 – best deal if your daugther is 10 or younger - pay with credit/debit card or Paypal.

Always Icecream also accepts gift codes – suggest a membership as a gift for your daughter!

Girls create a “mini-me” – what they look like in the world of Always Icecream.  They earn “virtual ice cream” ($coops) to use to play fun games, decorate their “MiniWorld” and feed and care for their pets in Pet World.  In MiniWorld, girls can design furniture, art work, rooms, add rooms, buy bigger houses,m visit their neighborhoods and see friends’ houses, and much more.  Girls can sell their work in the store so others can buy it and earn $coops.  Their pets from PetWorld can visit their MiniWorld.

There are games available for:

Language Arts
Math Quizzes
Advanced Math
Math Drills
Geography & History
Music & Arts
Computer Skills
Foreign Languages
Religious Education (Christian)
Life Skills

You can choose which games your daughter will have access to, and those settings can be changed at any time.

We’re studying U.S. Geography in our co-op, so she loved this game.

A typing game.  I thought she’d like this game, but she really wasn’t very interested. 

Pet world – another of my daughter’s favorites.

Remember my Facebook comment?  Girls on Always Icecream are allowed to interact with friends on two levels – friends and real world friends (RWF) – but parents are always in control of the level of interaction they can have with their friends.  Girls are given a special code to use with RWF – to become RWF, both girls have to enter the other’s code. 

What I like

I like the controls the parent account offers, including “rewarding” my daughter for doing chores (I could choose from a short list of suggestions or customize my own).  I receive a weekly e-mail setting forth what my daughter has done, and any ribbons/awards she’s earned.

As a creationist, I like that the site excludes evolution.

No advertising on the site!

I love the safety precautions the website has in place – see for yourself here.

I love that the site offers educational activities, offers interaction with friends in a safe atmosphere, and allows for a creative outlet (designing furniture, art, etc.).

I like the variety of videos offered – from cute (sneezing panda), to cooking lessons (making stuffed-crust pizza), sing-alongs (The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers – one of my favorites!), arts/crafts (how to make a friendship bracelet), science experiments (how strong is a strand of hair?), and many others.  They even have a way for the girls to submit their favorite video from YouTube – the security folks at the website will screen and approve them, and then link them up for all to see!

I wish…

While I like the system provided to reward for chores, one of the items on the list is “being a great daughter.”  I wholeheartedly think that should be removed.  Would you want your daughter to think she’s not a great daughter when she doesn’t get that reward?  I wish they’d replace that with something else – maybe “be nice  to your sister.”

Watch out for

Girls should not share accounts, since many things are individualized and created by the girls (artwork, furniture, etc.).  Also, can you imagine the reaction if one daughter spends another daughter’s hard-earned $coops? 

My daughter loved many of the games, but disliked some that I felt for sure she’d love (the typing game, for example).   I can’t help but wonder if that might have been because of frustration over her computer’s slow response time.  Some of the videos were also slow to load.  If you have an older/slow computer, you might encounter the same issues (although that’s true for all websites, not just Always Icecream).  We’re upgrading the girls’ computer soon, so hopefully she’ll be able to enjoy all the things Always Icecream has to offer.

Although I’ve become accustomed to it now, at first the update on friends’ status in the weekly e-mail kind of creeped me out – almost like “big brother is watching.”  Later I realized that it’s a good way for me to see what kinds of things the people she’s interacting with like to do.  Be aware that in the weekly e-mail, your daughter’s friends will get a report of what she’s done that week.

If you want to create accounts for more than one daughter, contact the site at feedback@always-icecream.com.  Sibling discounts are offered (the website says “if you want to create accounts for more than two daughters).

Watch a video showing MiniWorld here.

The site is open to all girls, not just homeschoolers.  That’s a plus for us.

When you sign up your daughter, it asks for her first name and last initial.  Be aware that that will be her login info, so if you want to use an alias, do so at the time you sign her up.

Be sure to

Read a little bit about the website’s history and designers here.

Company contact info

You can contact the company (or send feedback) to feedback@always-icecream.com, or by friending them on Facebook and using FB contact methods.

Final thoughts

My 11-yo has enjoyed this so much that I’m considering purchasing a membership for my 9-yo, since not a day goes by without her asking “when can I play?”

Thoughts of my crew mates

To see other reviews of this product, click here. For giveaways, other product reviews and other fun things, follow the 2011-2012 TOS Homeschool Crew blog at:


Disclaimer: As part of the 2011-2012 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I received one lifetime membership to the Always Icecream website at no cost in exchange for my fair, honest and unbiased (and not necessarily positive) review. No other compensation was received.

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