Both of my children (and I) have very fond memories of watching the Tiny Planets TV show on PBS when they were younger. So, when I was given the chance to review their website, I was really excited. The moment I went to the site, and the theme song started playing, both boys poked their head in the computer room and said, “Hey, I remember that!” The site focuses on using games, books and other fun activities to teach kids about taking care of the Earth.
The site does include videos of the TV show, which is the first thing my kids checked out. I have to admit, I sat there and watched a few episodes of Bing and Bong’s adventures myself. The show is a really sweet, funny show, and the alien characters are ones my kids identify with. Bing almost seems like the older brother, taking care of Bong as he explores. The aliens themselves communicate through sounds (i.e. like Wall-E), but the narrator helps describe what is going on.
My Tiny Planets is a virtual world, where your child can create an avatar and adopt and care for their own planet. They also get to go on “missions” with Bing and Bong, fly spacecraft, care for plants in a biodome, and do other fun stuff. This is an online community where students can make “friends” and visit. However, there is no free form chatting, and children must choose a name for their cadet from a list of suggestions, so personal information is never used!
The site also has interactive books that feature Bing and Bong, which your child can read on their own or with you. My younger son really enjoyed this part of the website, and I would hear him in the computer room laughing as he read along!
Tiny Planets Labs includes additional games your child can play, that have been devoloped alongside EU university. My sons enjoyed the Lava game as well as quite a few of the others, and this portion of the site has new offerings on a regular basis.
Tiny Planets also includes resources for parents with lesson plans with activities, puzzles, experiments etc. that you can do at home!
The website itself is free to join, but to participate in some of the activities and watch the shows, you will need to purchase “keys” for your children. You can do this by setting up a parent account and adding your child to it. You can purchase 10 keys for $1.95, and up to 600 for $49.95, with smaller denominations in between. We were given keys as part of the crew so we could check out the website for this review, but I can imagine I wouldn’t mind buying keys for my kids here and there, as they aren’t that pricy! Being fans of Bing and Bong, this was a lot of fun for us. It may be aimed at younger children, but even my 7th grader enjoyed the My Tiny Planets portion of the site, as well as some of the other games. He also enjoyed watching the shows (but I don’t think he wants me to tell his friends!) 🙂
You can check out the site here: