As part of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew I was asked to use and review the Tiny Planets website. This comes from their website:
My Tiny Planets Ltd. is a children’s entertainment company that provides engaging, high quality entertainment that enriches the lives of youth and develops wonder, critical thinking and an appreciation of our space universe. My Tiny Planets has delivered this promise as the creator of the Tiny Planets online entertainment platform as well as the popular Tiny Planets animated television series and companion website. Read more on our parents page.The Tiny Planets website includes a large variety of resources for kids and parents.
- My Tiny Planets Learning -- this portion of the website houses an extensive collection of lesson plans. They are largely science themed and frequently include science projects to make the learning more fun.
- My Tiny Planets Books -- In this section of the website kids can select a book to read online.
- My Tiny Planets TV -- The Tiny Planets TV shows are available for kids to view.
- My Tiny Planets Labs -- This section of the website allows kids to play a number of interactive online games.
Each portion of the website offers some access for no cost, however, additional access can be purchased in the form of 'keys'.
Having never heard of the Tiny Planets TV series or it's characters Bing and Bong, this was all new to my children and me. Our first experience with the website was rather confusing and frustrating. So much so, that it was several days before we were ready to try it again. After giving it another go the kids started to figure things out a little quicker than I could, maybe because computer gaming is something they are more familiar with than I am. Because we were not given any keys to use in our review of this product, we were only able to access the free portions of the site, so my review will be limited by that.
Figuring out how to set up our account wasn't as easy as I'd hoped. It took a while to figure out that you have to create a Cadet account for your child and then follow up by creating a parent account and linking it to the Cadet account. To protect their identity, children are only allowed to choose from a selection of user names for their cadet. This didn't bother my children at all.
Once we had our cadet account we were ready to blast off...
My 6 year old and 9 year old enjoyed the games in the Tiny Planets Labs portion of the website. They were easy to play, fairly intuitive for any kids who've played computer games before and more difficult for those who might be new to gaming. The games earn the Cadet points that they can use around the site. They did not use the TV shows or books portion of the website because we did not have keys.
The Tiny Planets Learning portion of the website provides lesson plans (which all appear to be available for free) that are based on the TV shows and books on the website (which must be purchased with keys). The lesson plans include follow up activities or experiments. These lesson plans appear to be fun, but because we did not have any keys for the books or TV shows we did not try any of them.
The portion of the website my kids enjoyed most was My Tiny Planets. Here, Cadets can participate in limited social gaming. They can customize their spaceship and their own Tiny Planet. I think this portion of the website will be used past this review date by my youngest in particular.
The Bottom Line
Tiny Planets was created for children ages 4 to 12. Personally, I think 12 is a little old and 4 is a bit too young. I'd say it is more appropriate for 6 to 10 year old children. My young 6 year old needs significant assistance in order to be able to play, so I know it would require a great deal more assistance for a 4 year old. To fully enjoy the website you may purchase keys: 10 keys for $1.95, 25 keys for $3.95, 85 keys for $9.95, 250 keys for $25.95, or 600 for $49.95. The average book and TV show is 10 keys and once you make a purchase it is yours to view again and again. Not having gained access to the keys it would be difficult for me to say whether this was a good value or not.
I received this product for free as a member of TOS Homeschool Crew. My opinions are solely my own and are not influenced in any way. I am not being reimbursed in anyway for this review. What I have shared is simply our experience, your mileage may vary.