When you combine this natural instinct to learn more about what’s out there in the night sky with great educational content, then you pretty much have a winner in my book. So allow me to introduce you to Bing and Bong at Tiny Planets.
From the Tiny Planets 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.
Tiny Planets provides award-winning educational entertainment set in space exploration and discovery, inspiring creativity and critical thinking in youth ages 4-12. Tiny Planets features the cosmic adventures of Bing and Bong, two whimsical aliens who travel the Universe of Tiny Planets together on their gadget-loaded plush sofa. With Bing and Bong, children are encouraged to think for themselves, assume social responsibility, take care of our planet and learn about the mysteries of space.
I will begin by saying the although Tiny Planets states their online site is geared toward ages 4-12, Ben would tell you it’s mostly for the younger end of the spectrum. He did enjoy playing the space exploration games at My Tiny Planet, but the lesson plans, TV shows, and books are definitely for the preschool/kindergarten-aged child.
Tiny Planets is divided up into several sections:
Learn This is the most educational area of the website, but definitely geared toward young kids. Here you will find printables for learning letters and numbers, and a couple of “make and do” activities. It would be a fun supplement to your PreK or K curriculum.
Labs Here you’ll find several games to come for the kids to play. This is sort of the “testing” site.
My Tiny Planet This was Ben’s favorite area of the website. Here your child can adopt a planet and take care of it, go on missions with Bing and Bong, and learn more about how to take care of our planet, Earth.
Fun TV and More TV You’ll find the television episodes here. These are cartoons starring Bing and Bong and were created with the Sesame Workshop. It’s the only television show to be endorsed by Montessori Centre International. Apparently it airs in about 100 TV territories around the world, though I’m not sure if the US is one of them.
Books This is where you’ll find the very preschool-ish books about our main characters.
There is a Lesson Planning page that is very nice. It claims to be a full preschool curriculum for ages 3-5. I did not read through every plan, but what I did see looks fun and captivating. It combines different aspects of the website, especially the TV shows and books.
While many aspects of Tiny Planets is free, you only get 1-2 TV episodes and books without paying. Payment is the form of puchasing “keys” which can be used to open up books or TV shows. You can also use them to “amp up” the fun on My Tiny Planet. Keys come at the cost of $1.95 for 10, which is about the cost for each TV show or book.
Ben gives Tiny Planets a hearty 2 thumbs up if you’re between the ages of 3-7. For a 10 year old like him, “it’s fun for the playing games part, but not so much for learning.”
To see what other folks thought of Tiny Planets, click over to the TOS Crew blog.
Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are those of myself and/or my son.