Our Family

Our Family

Friday, December 17, 2010

TOS Review: Tiny Planets

Over the last several weeks, the children and I have been enjoying exploring the Tiny Planets Universe. Tiny Planets provides safe, award winning, educational entertainment geared at children ages 4-12 in the areas of space exploration and discovery. I remembered watching Tiny Planets on TV when Chelsea was a little girl but did not know that it was still around or that they had a website and (you'll really like this part) the majority of the website is FREE!

To begin using the website, all you have to do is create a free parent account and then a cadet account for each child and add them to your parent account. It really is simple once you figure it out, but could use some clearer instructions on the website. They assign the cadet a name and you pick the password. After creating the accounts you are free to explore the different areas of the Tiny Planets Universe.

To read some of the books, watch TV episodes, or add extra items to your ship or planet you have to purchase KEYS through the Parent Account with a credit card. Once you purchase a TV shoe episode, book, or accessories for your planet your ship, you don't have to purchase the same one again. It is "yours" to keep. The cost of the Keys are as follows:10 for $1.95 , 25 for $3.95, 85 for $9.95, 250 for $25.95, and 600 for $49.95.

Here are the different areas you can visit on the website:

Tiny Planets TV-You can choose different episodes of Tiny Planets to watch. Some are free and some require KEYS to be purchased.

My Tiny Planets- Children choose their spaceship,navigate through space, adopt and care for their own planet, solve missions with Bing and Bong, help care for neighboring planets, and play mini games while earning points and badges as they go along.

Tiny Planets Fun-has games, puzzles, coloring books, and comics

Tiny Planets Books-Interactive story books featuring Bing and Bong you can read to your child or they can read themselves. Some are free and some have to be purchased with KEYS.

Tiny Planets Learning-for parents, homeschoolers and educators. Has printable puzzles and worksheets for preschoolers (around 3-5 years old) plus over 65 Science related lesson plans with questions and suggested learning activities to go along with Bing and Bong story books.

Tiny Planets Labs-new games just created for kids to test out.

Tiny Planets Blog-where parents and cadets can go to explore tips, science experiments, and astronomy facts.

The Tiny Planets Universe is a safe place for children to play, learn, and explore. The site is completely ad free so there is no worries about what could "pop up" while your child is playing. Even though you can interact with other people on the site, there is no place for children to type in their own text. Cadet names and planet names are auto generated so you don't have to worry about your children reading anything inappropriate. You have the ability to talk to other ships that are in space but can only choose from speech bubbles that have been programmed into the game.

My children really have loved playing on the Tiny Planets website. They enjoyed flying their ships through outer space and playing the games. They have requested to play Tiny Planets every day for their computer time. My two younger boys (5, 3) really enjoy the books and TV episodes.

I like the safety measures that are in place so I don't have to worry about who they are talking to or what is being said. The lesson plans linked with the books are a wonderful science resource for preschoolers. The books and printable worksheets are great.

A few things to consider on this one. TV shows where the characters don't talk bother me. I remember thinking the same thing when Chelsea watched it on TV but the children really enjoy it. Most of the educational value on this site is for preschoolers but I think the Science Activities can be interesting for older children too. A lot of the games seem to be geared for the older children but Christian and Anthony could play with help.

To see what other crew members are saying click here.

I received complimentary access to Tiny Planets for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review. I received no other compensation.

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