Tiny Planets is an online website for kids ages 4 to 12. The site is based on a t.v. series by the same name, which features the cosmic adventures of aliens named Bing and Bong. Tiny Planets features games, videos, online books and a virtual world to take care of.
Tiny Planets has 6 planet areas plus the homepage:
Tiny Planets: the homepage for the site; you can navigate to all the other sites from here. (Best to log in on this page before going to another section of the site).
My Tiny Planets: Basically a virtual world that you help create; you can earn/buy items to take care of your own planet.
Tiny Planets TV: Videos of Tiny Planet episodes. Many have to be purchased with keys in order to watch (10 keys.)
Tiny Planets Learning: Printable worksheets and lesson plan ideas.
Tiny Planets Labs: Place where kids test new games and ideas for the site.
Tiny Planets Fun: There are games, downloads and TV episodes on this site.
Tiny Planets Books: online books based on the TV episodes.
What I Thought:
Safety: I thought Tiny Planets did a good job at creating a safe gaming place for children. They provide screen-name options for all cadets (though this can also be a minus as it is hard to remember the names). Since you can interact with other gamers, Tiny Planets only allows prewritten phrases for children to choose from. Another plus is that this is an ad-free site, so no worries that your child might accidently stumble on to a not-so-good site.
Great graphics: They graphics are really well-done. I can see why they won two BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) awards. You will need to make sure your computer can handle it though.
Though most of the site is free, you can purchase keys to access certain components:
10 keys $1.95
25 keys $3.95
85 keys $9.95
250 keys $25.95
600 keys $49.95
Any item you purchase---books, videos, things for your planet---are yours forever.
The site however, is confusing to sign up and navigate at first. The parent needs to set up cadet accounts and then add those accounts to the parent account. They could make this process easier. Though the site does have some educational content, I’d say it is more geared toward entertainment (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).
Though this site did not fit the needs of my family, it could be a nice option for families who enjoy the Tiny Planets t.v. series, have kids who like space-themed games, or for parents who just need to know of a safe gaming option for their kids.