PBS Parents Play & Learn App Poster Image

PBS Parents Play & Learn



Parent app offers great ideas for interacting with tots.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn vocabulary and develop foundational literacy skills. The activities include some academics, such as the identification of shapes, letters, and patterns, but the true learning benefits to kids come from listening to their parents and interacting with the world around them. Exposure to words in their prereading years directly impacts how well and how easily kids learn to read, so the more parents interact and talk with babies and toddlers, the more they're teaching them. PBS Parents Play & Learn gives parents easy access to ideas for ways to interact with kids, introducing them to the world around them.

Ease of play

Each location includes one drag-and-drop mini-game easy enough for young preschoolers.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that even though PBS Parents Play & Learn includes mini-games for kids, it's designed to be a parent resource to give adults ideas for activities to do with preschoolers to enhance learning and develop literacy skills. Parents can choose from 13 situation or location categories (such as "Bath Time," "Grocery Store," "In the Car," or "Restaurant") and find activities to do with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. Many of the activities involve talking to little ones about what they're doing and seeing, which is what early learning is all about. The app is available in both Spanish and English, and parents can receive daily messages with other ideas in-app or by push notification.

Kids say

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What's it about?

PBS PARENTS PLAY & LEARN includes 13 situations and gives parents four ideas of activities to do with little kids in those places or during those times. Each also includes a brief mini-game targeted for preschoolers. In Bath Time, for example, activities include exploring volume by filling and emptying different sizes of containers, singing songs while bathing the baby, making boats with bath items and seeing what will float, and tracing soapy letters on kids' backs. The preschool mini-game has kids draw shapes on a steamy mirror.

Is it any good?


This free app serves as a handy resource to give parents ideas for interacting with their kids in ways that can boost math, literacy, and language skills. The 13 categories cover many situations and locations toddlers and preschoolers might encounter -- from a playground or a party to a library or a bus or train -- and give parents ideas for activities that don't all center around the device.

Depending on how it's used, the preschooler game could be counterproductive to getting kids interacting with their parents, each other, and the environment. Still, PBS Parents Play & Learn is a great, free resource worth checking out.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the app with others who spend time with their kids. PBS Parents Play & Learn could be a great resource for loved ones and caregivers who may not be used to being around babies; share it with grandparents before a visit or with a babysitter.

  • Talking to your baby or toddler is extremely important for building literacy. It doesn't have to be about colors, shapes, numbers, and letters, either. Just talking to your little one builds vocabulary and improves reading readiness.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, Nook HD
Subjects:Language & Reading: naming, speaking, vocabulary
Math: patterns, shapes
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:April 4, 2014
Size:66.20 MB
Publisher:PBS KIDS
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.3; Android 2.2 and up

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Adult Written byBlueangelabc November 11, 2016