November 26, 2012

New MiniMonos Eco Cards: One-use products shouldn't last forever!

In today's ever-increasing search for convenience and flexibility, you've probably received a gift card or two  -- e.g. iTunes cards, MiniMonos membership cards, gift cards for a favorite retailer -- from a friend or family member.  Or perhaps you've even given one as a birthday or holiday gift in recent years. 

Have you ever stopped to think about what these cards are made of, or just how long they end up lying in landfills once you're done spending the credit on them?  

New MiniMonos Eco Card: 1-Month membershipWe realize that these cards provide a quick & easy way to give a gift, but we're left wondering:  Is the Earth paying the price for that convenience we're after?  We think she is. 

The majority of gift cards sold around the world are now manufactured from either polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), a lower-cost alternative to the PVC. 

ABS plastic has a lifespan of about 4 years!  While that's still better than the incredible 20-25 years PVC cards are meant to last, we believe that's 3 years & 364 days too long.  Not only do these gift cards far outlive their use-by date, PVC and ABS never truly break down.  And while they CAN be recycled, they very rarely ARE recycled.

So why are companies still making one-use items out of materials that last forever?

It really doesn't make any sense! 

What we do know is this:  we don't want MiniMonos to contribute to the 75 million pounds of plastic card waste ends up thrown away each year.

New MiniMonos Eco Card: 6-Month membershipThat's why we're using Forest Stewardship Certified card stock for our new pre-paid MiniMonos Eco Cards- the very first eco-friendly prepaid gift card to be sold in New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

The benefits of using FSC paper are very clear.  FSC card stock is sustainably produced, and can be recycled or even composted after use.  Not only are we thinking about where our MiniMonos membership cards are coming from, we want to ensure they only last as long as you want them to! 

If you want to keep your card because their art is awesome (we think it is), that's great!  But eventually, when you're finished using your MiniMonos Eco Card, we hope you'll recycle it along with your other recyclables, and lessen the load of waste going into your local landfill.

So before you purchase a new gift card for someone, or ask for one for yourself, please stop and consider where that card will end up- in a landfill?  Recycled into another item?  Composted into your garden?  Gift-giving doesn't have to result in more waste items that last for years to come.

To find a new MiniMonos Eco Card at a store near you, please visit our store locator.


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Good tips! And thanks for warning! Because I usually buy the gift card and your post is really useful for me!

Very interesting idea with Eco-card! I think everybody should like it!

Cool! I d like to have Eco-card!! How can I get it>?

I think it's a great article about a topic which is rarely thought of and proved with great logic.

Wow So nice grest well done so nice THX!

July 24, 2012

Why I started MiniMonos.

Melissa and monkeys

This week someone asked me why I started MiniMonos.  This is what I said: 

I grew up with the strong belief that we have an obligation to leave the world (humanity and the environment we are inseparable from), a better place than when we arrived here.  This has shaped my worldview, and as an adult I know that my worldview is my choice.  I choose to want to leave the world a better place.  The reality is that I want to do that every day, not just to leave a legacy when I die.

The older I get, the more I realise that entrepreneurs create businesses as an expression of who we/they are. Because I am driven to create businesses, and they are a form of my self expression - then my businesses make a positive difference in the world.

I can't imagine not being an entrepreneur - I love the process of knowing a market; having an idea that will solve a problem for that market; learning from others; putting together a great team; working out the business model and then creating the business and products..and then continuously repeating and refining all those steps. The world is full of problems that need solving, and as an entrepreneur we can solve them. Whenever someone tells me they want to start a business but they don't know what to to..then I just tell them to look for a really big problem and set to work solving that.

EcoProjects front page widgetMiniMonos was born from the desire to make sure that our children have the skills and confidence to address the massive environmental issues they will have to face as a result of the last few hundred years of humanity's impact on the planet. Our kids are coming into an era where extinction of species is ramping up; where the air and water are becoming increasingly polluted; where climate may be irreversibly changed. The results of all of those things could be catastrophic.

We have to work to prevent our impact on the earth, but also we need to give kids the skills to deal with what comes next - how do our kids get great social skills so they can negotiate? How to have them remember that we are all interconnected (humanity and the nature we are part of)? How to enthuse them about creativity and science and maths?  We can't do all of that, but we can do some..and that is where to start.

I love being an entrepreneur because it allows me to make a difference.


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You spoke about the change in climate. I was speaking to a friend recently about all the storm we have seen in North America in recent years. There was a time when the United States did not see so many hurricanes. Now residents are seeing their houses destroyed as they are hit year after year by all types of hurricanes.

It is important for children to be properly educated so that they can make the right decisions for themselves and the generations to come. Basic reading, writing and arithmetic aren't enough anymore.

For a child to be truly successful, they need to even have skills in negotiation, as you rightly pointed out. It is the responsibility of parents to ensure that they teach their kids what they need to know.

Thanks for sharing this info post.

Outstanding material! I have been previously looking for something such as this for some time now. With thanks!

I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well.

Cool post! Thanks for information!

It is so interesting! I like your work very much!

June 14, 2012

Do you have time to keep your children safe online?

  Girl on computer 
A couple of nights ago I went to a parent information evening at my son's school about internet safety.  I am in awe of the way his school handles issues in the playground -- it's obvious they've spent a lot of time and resources training their staff -- so I thought I could pick up some extra philosophical tips for our online moderation of MiniMonos.

The young groovy teacher, introduced as a "digital native", was no doubt a whizz on the computer. But I was surprised to find that her advice to parents about online safety was surface level at best, and while there was lively conversation about the issues parents face, there were few useful take-home solutions.

For one thing, we heard the standard: "Parents need to be actively involved in what their kids are doing online". [Cue: parents shifting uncomfortably in their seats] Yep, another thing to add to the daily 'to-do' list, then when not ticked, the 'bad-parent' list.  I have seen this advice repeated frequently in articles on internet safety and it is rarely elaborated on.  What does 'actively involved' mean?  As a parent, am I really supposed to know everything my child does on every game he plays -- every day? So should he stop and explain that the latest game update  means his avatar can now sit down on the beach and he can say "Woohoo!" in the Monkey Fist game? Are you kidding

As parents we're also advised to keep the computer in a public family area, to promote online transparency. I totally agree. But let's get real here; I'm racing around cooking dinner, feeding the cat, cleaning up and throwing another load in the washing machine.  I'm not standing behind my son watching, as he types cute and funny messages to his friends while we laugh at the computer screen together. Well actually I do do that.  But not as much as I'd like to.

The chances are that you're never going to keep up with every single thing your kids are doing online. So you don't have to feel guilty about that. Here are some realistic tips for non-geeky, time-pressured parents, who want to keep their kids safe online:

  • Make an agreement with them about their own internet safety rules, whereby use of the family or their own computer depends on these rules being followed.  Here is an excellent outline agreement from
  • Kids and tweens need to be on a safe, moderated social network site. This is a site where trained staff review every line of conversation, there are filters in place to prevent offensive language being used and there is a clear and transparent process for moderating behavior.  It's also recommended that parents choose a kids' site which has adult staff who chaperone in-world; sort-of like super-fun teachers on duty. Good kids' sites will have an easily-found page for parents which descibes their safety features
  • An excellent tool for parents is This free software provides a safe web browser which you can download onto your computer, allowing your children access only to approved kids' games, social networks and resource sites. It's also quick and easy to install.
  • Ensure that when your child signs up to a virtual world or other social network site, they use your email address and you check out the site before approving their membership.  Kids are so savvy now that many have multiple email addresses and usernames on one social network site. By using your own email address it also means that any communications about issues from the staff of that site, come to you.
  • On a moderated kids' website, if you have a concern about any behavior or conversation that has occurred involving your child, don't be afraid to ask the community manager for a copy of the chat logs so you can view the conversation yourself.  Every good, safe site should have clear and easy access to staff who can help you. and be willing to share with you what their moderating process is.

Now that you've set your child up safely online, you can go back to racing around getting dinner ready. The great thing is that while the peas are cooking you can look over their shoulder and ask what on earth they mean as they're typing: "Yo, sup Bananatastic! Do your Go Rainbow xPower at Castle Beach on the Star Tiger server! Lol!"


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Keep up a good work!

May 14, 2012

Happy Mothers Day!

To MiniMonos Moms and Mums!

Your little monkeys wanted to wish you a Happy Mothers Day!

So here's their message to you, with their love.

Wishing you a Happy Mothers Day,

MiniMonos players, EcoMom, and Bananatastic!


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It's been a few months, but glad to know you guys are still active with the grown-up blog :)


I'm not American, but Happy Mother's Day anyway! We had Mother's Day like in Febuary? March? Can't remember, lol.

Oh, that is so cute!

Thats amazing :)


August 15, 2011

MiniMonos Monkeys Launch off Cambridge Springboard

For the past three months, the MiniMonos executive team of Melissa Clark-Reynolds, Greg Montgomery, and I have been on a wild adventure in Cambridge, England.

It all started last December, when our friend Vladas Lasas sent us an email about his new venture accelerator, Springboard. "You should apply," he said. "It'll be great." So we applied. It was a bit of a lark, really -- I mean, there were more than 230 companies competing for the same ten spots. But after three months of form-filling, Skype interviews, and late-night phone calls, we were notified of the good news: we were in.

Good news on the one hand -- and terrifying on the other. Really? We had to pack up and go to England for three months? Away from our homes and our families and everything familiar? But that's the job when you're an entrepreneur: you pursue the success of the venture across oceans and continents, and you never, ever turn down an opportunity.

So off we went, along with the nine other teams that had been accepted (you can find out about each of the teams here). The program was intense; the first five weeks consisted of daily speed-networking sessions, ten 20-minute meetings per day. We met investors, entrepreneurs, government representatives, and folks from big companies like Microsoft and Amazon. We followed up, diligently, hundreds of emails and follow-on introductions and exploring of collaborative possibilities. We worked absurd hours to maintain communication with our New Zealand-based teams while pursuing our UK opportunities.

And we met some absolutely extraordinary people -- people like Sarah Turner, Rupert Cook, Lee Strafford, Juliet Tzabar, Tony Kypreos, and so many more that if we tried to name them all this post would look like we blogged the White Pages. These people guided and encouraged us as we focused our efforts on the UK market, and those efforts have produced some exciting results over the past few months. We launched TV commercials nationwide in the UK. We'll have MiniMonos prepaid gift cards available in Sainsbury's nationwide from October. And you'll definitely have to stay tuned for an awesome nationwide eco-promotion in January.

Springboard's grand finale was the Pitch Day, when the ten teams presented our companies to a standing-room only crowd at Christ's College. We saw the metamorphosis our fellow entrepreneurs had undergone, as they clearly and passionately articulated their big ideas, their value propositions, their competitive advantages. We heard from many of the people attending that Springboard had the best collection of startups they had seen at a single event. And we at MiniMonos received an excellent reaction to our own pitch.

I won't say the three months were easy. But they were extraordinarily worthwhile. And they ended on a high note: Marcos and Master Wu Li, two of the MiniMonos monkeys, managed to join us for the Pitch Day. They turned out to be more popular than we could have imagined, cuddling up to investors, going punting, and even making friends with a young passerby who happened to be carrying a monkey lunch bag!

Massive thanks for their superhuman efforts to Jon Bradford and Jess Williamson, the powerhouses who put it all together. Can't wait to see you on our next trip to Blighty!



Kaila and Tanya with Master Wu and Marcos



Sitar chilling with Master Wu



A boy with a monkey lunch bag can't believe he gets to hang out with a real monkey!



Marcos goes for a punt, much to the amazement of the others on the river.



After a long day, we said goodnight to Marcos and Master Wu.


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hi well done i hope you had fun ok mate

I really enjoyed reading this post.It must had been amazing.

Funny cartoons!

June 30, 2011

MiniMonos Members Changing The World

From the beginning, MiniMonos was designed to have a purpose beyond profit. That purpose is to show unconditional love to children and the planet; to be a place that is fun first while embodying powerful core values; to be a virtual world that both affects and is affected by the physical one.

We'd like to give you an update on how well we're living up to that vision.

By way of context, MiniMonos has just passed 250,000 registered members! This is a huge milestone and we're honored and humbled by the kids who choose to play on our site.

Each of those 250,000 kids has helped change the world. Here's how:

Clean water for kids in India

Clean-water Every time someone buys a Gold membership or virtual good on MiniMonos, a child in India gets clean water through our partnership with Buy1Give1 and the Bird India charity. Our partnership with renewable power company Meridian Energy also provided a year of clean water for 20 kids! So far MiniMonos kids have helped provide 18,492 days of clean water to children in India.

Adopting Orangutans

Adopt-mimimomo-300w We adopted our first orangutan, Monti, to celebrate our first 50 Gold members, and our second, Kesi, when we reached 250. We welcomed Pingky and Neng to the MiniMonos Orangutan Family when we officially launched out of Beta. Our "adoptions" go to support the work of the extraordinary Orangutan Outreach organization.

But that's not all! Two of our extraordinary MiniMonos members, Viper and Calypso were so moved by the plight of the orangutans that they adopted their own orangutans! Last September they adopted Mimi and Momo, seen here. Viper and Calypso have been a part of the MiniMonos community since the beginning, and have shown themselves to be such incredible leaders that they have officially joined the staff!

Contributed to the WWF Tiger Initiative

Tigerbros-image Just because "MiniMonos" means "Little Monkeys" doesn't mean we only support primates! Another project we got behind was the WWF Tiger Initiative. We partnered with WWF-NZ to sell virtual tiger suits -- and every time a MiniMonos member buys a tiger suit for their online monkey to wear, a donation gets made to the WWF TX2 project to double the wild tiger population by 2022. 

MiniMonos EcoMonkeys completing real-world projects

EcoMonkeyLogo Of all the ways MiniMonos members have made the world a better place, the MiniMonos EcoMonkey program is probably the one we're most proud of -- because it's driven by the kids themselves, making an extraordinary difference, every day, in their own communities. 

The recently launched MiniMonos EcoMonkey program supports kids to tackle a real-world environmental project and earn virtual rewards on MiniMonos Island. They publish their ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos, explain why they chose their eco-project, and describe how they feel when they have completed it.

One determined US player, MiniJghRocks, campaigned to have a paper recycling program implemented at his school. Although his principals agreed, the superintendent reversed the decision, saying that similar programs in near-by schools had failed due to lack of support from the students. As MiniJghRocks explained: “Since it costs money to recycle (at least where I live) they decided it wasn’t worth the extra funds to put in something that wouldn’t be used. It makes sense right? Well, we then decided to start a petition, to prove that kids would actually use the recycling system!” The result was over 500 student signatures.

MiniJecoproject MiniJghRocks also enlisted the help of his math teacher to calculate that the amount of paper his school throws away, translated to 1,540 trees cut down per year. He wrote: “Next, we presented to our superintendent, showing him the facts, signatures, and a bit of the EcoMonkey Blog. He sat listening for a while, and [when] we finished, he, in response, also signed our petition!”

On successful implementation of the recycling program at his school, MiniJghRocks described it as: “Awesome! It’s soooo awesome. I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot and have truly changed the world, even if it’s just a little. I’m very happy. It’s just so cool :D” You can read all about MiniJghRocks' EcoMonkey Project here.

Other MiniMonos players have created eco-projects such as switching to eco-light bulbs, up-cycling old clothes to make toys, planting gardens, making useful items out of recycled materials and cleaning rivers and lakes. In all, 34 kids have completed eco-projects so far!

Our aim with the MiniMonos EcoMonkey program is simple: One million kids taking real-world eco-action as a result of playing on MiniMonos.

We're in awe of the way MiniMonos kids are making the world a better place every day, and we hope you are, too. Thanks for supporting us, and them, on this extraordinary journey!


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Awesome! This is why I love playing minimonos because I know that just by having fun we are also helping people around the world :D BEAT THAT CLUB PENGUIN XD And I'm a member too :O So i'm helping? YAY :P Well keep up the good work minimonos ;D

I am so so proud of all the monkeys on MM - especially the EcoMonkeys. YOU ROCK. Bananamaaazing!!


Lol! Just saw this post! Thanks for writing that part about me! :-)

MINIMONOS ROCKS!!! and I myself is an Ecomonkey so thkx alpha. YOUR BANANATASTIC ALPHA YOURSELF YOU KNOW !!! LOL XD =D =O =]

-jas1206 (Minimod and Ecomonkey)


Did you have fun or not

April 05, 2011

Growing future leaders

10 things you can do to encourage your children to be leaders


1. Start with self-leadership
The most challenging person your child is going to have to lead is him or herself!  Create, discuss and praise positive self-management opportunities like getting ready for school each day without help or tidying their room without being asked or regularly bringing home their school jersey.

2. Teach empathy and a sense of community
Start to widen the circle from self-leadership by actively teaching empathy and a sense of community. Leadership involves the willingness to step into another's shoes, recognise community and demonstrate generosity. Model this with your child and actively encourage them to do the same in their community groups such as family, school, sports teams, clubs and hobbies.

3. Provide plenty of opportunities for leadership in family activities
This could be as simple as letting them choose (or cook!) a meal a week for the family, leading the way on a family walk or holding a regular family round-the-table meeting to discuss what is happening in the house, listening to their suggestions and implementing them.

4. Notice and comment frequently when they show leadership
Your child doesn't need to be the captain of his or her sports team to show leadership. There are many opportunities to put a spotlight on the leadership they're already demonstrating and build from there. Look for opportunities to make them win and use the words 'awesome leadership' (kids love that!) when noticing this behavior.

This could be:
• Helping a younger child in the family
• Emptying the dishwasher without being asked
• Leading the way to shake the opposition team's hands after a game
• Picking up trash on the way home after school
• Volunteering for a special project in the classroom


5. Practice gratitude
Leadership involves a sense of abundance rather than competition and scarcity. In our family we talk frequently about how lucky we are and why. It's a great way for us as parents to remember the wonderful things we have in our lives as well! A great dinner-time exercise we do is to go around the table talking about what each person learned that day.

6. Look for leadership opportunities in the stuff they love doing
You may be surprised at the confidence your child displays in an area they are passionate about, which creates opportunity for leadership. One player on comes to mind -- his mother 'knows' him as being shy, however on MiniMonos he is a popular, extroverted and recognized leader who takes the initiative to help keep MiniMonos Island safe, assist new players and reinforce our culture of generosity and fun. His mother realised this and agreed to a rare opportunity for him to be be featured on a live broadcast to a number of other MiniMonos players, where he chatted confidently into the camera to his friends from around the world.

7. Help them set goals in their areas of interest
Not only is this valuable for self-management, you can also help them set specific goals in the area of leadership. For example you can support your child to start a book club with a few friends and their parents, or encourage them to create and lead a great thank you occasion for the cricket coach at the end of the season.

8. Stop being a helicopter parent!
Don't hover over your child's every move or get over-involved in their activities. Kids need space to do it themselves, make their own mistakes and explore their choices and opinions without you being a constant voice in their heads.  What you might think of is 'help' could enable dependence rather than encouraging confidence and leadership. Teachers ask parents to support the environment for good homework habits rather than doing their child's homework for them -- I would encourage the same with their activities and interests. Support, set up opportunities to win, then stay in the background until its time to notice and praise their efforts. This is about your child's leadership and growth, not yours.

9. Encourage tolerance of mistakes
This is a tough one, but very valuable. If you create a safe environment for your child to experiment and get it wrong, kids are more likely to step out of their comfort zone, become more confident and lead the way. It's great in theory but can be hard to let them carry those full dinner plates to the table, bike down the hill or take on a hobby you think is too difficult for them yet.  However it's amazing how the opinion we have of the limits of our kids, holds those limits firmly in place. Discuss with them leaders who failed many times before they suceeded and notice effort as much, or more than results. Encourage your child to do the same for others.

10. When leadership is absent, don't underestimate the good ol' star chart!
If used occasionally, a public demonstration of steps leading to a leadership goal can be really effective and have a great spin-off in other areas of your child's life.  Whether it’s a beautifully hand-drawn chart on paper, outlined on the fridge with a whiteboard marker, or created online, allow your child to help choose the reward and create their own chart. Make sure the reward is related to the goal and not greater than the sense of satisfaction they get from acheiving the goal! Review it with them each day -- it can be just as important a tool to remind you to notice the positive things your child does! 

The above was written by Andrea (also known to your kids as EcoMom!) from MiniMonos  and was recently published in Parenting Magazine.


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I wanna know what you used to create MiniMonos.
I'm looking to create a virtual world like it.
Please reply!

im not sure but my mate knows when i see him next ill ask him and get back to u .
at the min i dont have eney mates on hear do u wanna be friends?
whats your monky called and i will try to find u kk.
your sincirly
p.s. how old are u and are u a boy or a girl
im a girl i wont tell u my age untill u tell me yours lol

As they say, the core of leadership is family values. Leadership begins at home and at home we foster future leaders.

October 06, 2010

Mike the compassionate chimpanzee

In this four minute clip courtesy of National Geographic, Mike the chimp demonstrates a level of compassion normally associated human behavior. I defy you to watch it without a tear in your eye by the end of it. Just a magical bit of footage. Enjoy.


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Wow thanks- that was amazing and a lovely story. Amazing story too of the people working there for having the insight and faith in the nature of the chimps to reintroduce the baby instead of thinking it should be raised by them. True commitment to keeping it natural and real.

Hi Sally. Thanks for commenting. It is a heart-warming clip isn't it. Nice to hear from you. All the best - J.

September 07, 2010

MiniMonos initiative with Meridian Energy featured on 3 News

There has been massive excitement from kids since our announcement of a partnership with Meridian Energy which resulted in 5000 free 6-month Gold memberships being given away to the general public. 

Just a few hours before the Christchurch earthquake dominated New Zealand news, MiniMonos was featured on New Zealand's TV3 Nightline. 

Jessica Rowe climbed into a MiniMonos treehouse and took a look at why renewable energy and fun go hand-in-hand on MiniMonos.  To view the segment, click on the picture below:



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Now I bet a lot more Monkeys will be poping up in Minimonos!

Best Bananas!

August 30, 2010

MiniMonos Flight iPhone app has taken off!

MiniMonos no1 kids In the last 2 days since the MiniMonos Flight iPhone app went live in the iTunes store, a ton of excited messages from kids have been pouring in as they download and play it.

One player called Limey on MiniMonos, said: "It's fun and an awesome way to earn Banana Chips! The best part is being able to support a game that changes the world onto a better path".

"We had a great time adapting MiniMonos Flight to the iPhone," says Greg Montgomery, Chief Technical Officer. "It's quite gratifying to fly in the game by physically moving the device."

FlyGameLinkAnd so far, the MiniMonos Flight app is -- well -- flying!  As I write this, it's currently ranked number 1 kids' app on the New Zealand iTunes store and MiniMonos fans from all around the world are quickly spreading the word as they play and bank their banana chips to their monkey accounts on MiniMonos.

We'll be continually updating the MiniMonos Flight iPhone app, as well as launching new apps based on the other games in the virtual world like R.A.T.S. (Recycle All This Stuff), Go Go Green, and Monkey Fist.

You can find out more about the MiniMonos Flight app or download by clicking on the green App Store button below.

  Buy Now


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MiniMonos is a proud member of the Buy1Give1 community. Every time you purchase a MiniMonos Gold membership, a child in India gets clean water.
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