Parents' Guide to

PBS Parents Play & Learn

By Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 2+

Parent app offers great ideas for interacting with tots.

PBS Parents Play & Learn Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this app.

Community Reviews

age 5+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 3+

Everyone should try this app!

PBS Play and Learn app is a free downloadable app for tablet, smartphone, or any other touchscreen device. The app has over 13 interactive games, both in English and Spanish, targeted at early math and literacy skills, along with early childhood life skills. The games are full of bright colors, and are simple to navigate through. Each game comes with an activity tab and a resource tab for parents. The resource tab offers a list of additional educational resources (usually that are also supported or authored by PBS) to parents. The activity tab is a “tips n’ tricks” tab; it offers ideas about how to connect and interact with your child during everyday experiences (i.e. the bubble bath game activity tab suggests drawing letters on foggy mirrors during bath time). Often the activity tab’s suggestions are things to do without a device. This is a nice feature because it allows for strong parental involvement with their child using technology while also offering bonding moments when technology isn’t needed. This game is appropriate for child as young as three years old. PBS states that their mission is to offer educational support to all kids. They also state that their content is aimed to allow kids to explore the world around them through digital media (t.v., apps, online, etc.) and through community programs. The app PBS Play and Learn app rises to occasion and full fills the core mission of PBS. The app provides children with age appropriate practice using technology in a safe but fun manner. Furthermore, current research on parent and child co-learning using educational apps supports the effectiveness of learning with apps, such as, PBS Play and Learn. According to study published in the Journal of Children and Media, found that children who co-learn with their parents using technology have a stronger sense of being connected with their parents. The study also found that co-learning with technology increases the child’s ability to better access safety issues online as they get other. The study was focused on children between the ages 3-8. The findings of the study support apps like PBS Play and Learn because the app is centered on being used with both parent and child. Additionally PBS also has a policy in their privacy terms stating that they will ask to obtain data from the user beforehand, and they will always ask for parental consent to obtain children’s data. The parent has the right to decline (and you can still use the app even if you decline). This is another plus for the app. This is an excellent app of young children and their parents/caregivers. It is widely accessible (if you have a touchscreen device), and can be used by both English and Spanish speaking parents. My only caution with this game is for older children (ages 6+) the game could be not as stimulating for the child depending on their skill/educational level. This is an app that parents can use during downtime with their child or as short activity during the day since the games are really short to play. I highly recommend this app to parents with young children.
age 2+

Clean-up Incorrect Answers

Wonderful app, however the 'clean-up / sorting' portion accepts incorrect answers.

Privacy Rating Pass

  • Personal information is not sold or rented to third parties.
  • Personal information is not shared for third-party marketing.
  • Personalised advertising is not displayed.
  • Data are not collected by third-parties for their own purposes.
  • User's information is not used to track and target advertisements on other third-party websites or services.
  • Data profiles are not created and used for personalised advertisements.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (3 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

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.

App Details

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