That photo above pretty much sums up what my two youngest boys thought of the website Tiny Planets. They had a great time playing - in fact, they are bugging me to play more!
So what is Tiny Planets? Obviously it's a game site designed for children ages 4-12 but it's so much more than that. In fact, there is far more there than I can even begin to explain.
The majority of the content on the website is free. How cool is that? You simply sign up your child for an account (be sure to set up a parent account - found at the bottom of the page - as well in order to manage your children's account) and set them off to explore the galaxy of Tiny Planets. Certain aspects of the site do require "keys" in order to be unlocked. Keys can be purchased via the parent account and then distributed to the children's accounts as needed. Children do not have access to purchase keys so no worries about them racking up a bill unbeknownst to you.
The cost for keys are...
- 10 keys $1.95
- 25 keys $3.95
- 85 keys $9.95
- 250 keys $25.95
- 600 keys $49.95
Once an item is bought with keys, you then have access to it and do not have to repurchase it.
When signing up for a children's account, you are given a "cadet" name for them. These are super fun and are assigned randomly by the system (in order to make sure they are appropriate). For instance names like "Magic Rainbow" and "Joyful Thinker" are just a few available. (You can keep hitting "try again" until you find one you like.)
There are six aspects to the site. Briefly they are....
- My Tiny Planets - children can go here and create their own planet and create their own virtual world. My middle son (N9) loves this and is quite proud of his planet.
- Tiny Planets Fun - It was here that I realized we used to watch this show! I no longer recall the exact station, but my boys loved watching this show on TV. Since we no longer have broadcast TV, they can enjoy these episodes online. (This is where keys come in handy - most episodes need to be purchased. The one I have shown below is the free one.) It's not just TV episodes though. If you click on "Bing's Corner" you find all kinds of games to play and "Bong's Corner" has comics and coloring pages and puzzles and information about - what else - the planets!
- Tiny Planets TV - Once you have bought episodes of Tiny Planets TV with your keys, this is the place to go to see them again. Montessori Centre International endorses this TV program and Sesame Workshop helped to co-create it.
- Tiny Planets Learning - Here is where it gets interesting - for the parents. There are lesson plans, worksheets for learning letters and numbers, and just lots of fun things to learn about. The Tiny Planets online content has won two BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) awards: Interactive Best Entertainment Website and Best Children's Interactive.
- Tiny Planets Lab - This is where cadets become beta testers! New game content shows up on this planet and the cadets are allowed to play them out and help work out the bugs.
- Tiny Planets Books - Interactive books that you can either read to your child or use to teach your child to read - all featuring Bing and Bong.
Words from the "beta testers" here at The Berry Patch.... (J6 & N9)...
- Way fun!
- Can we play again tomorrow?
- I love having my own planet to take care of!
- Super fun!
- You're the best mom ever...okay...maybe not this last one - at least in regards to playing on Tiny Planets.
Be sure to head over to the TOS Homeschool Crew blog to see what other Crew members had to say about Tiny Planets.
Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. All opinions shared are my own. TOS Crew Members are given the product free of charge in exchange for our unbiased opinion of the product.