Play and Learn Science

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Play and Learn Science App Poster Image
Preschoolers and parents explore science on- and offscreen.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

With the help of parents, young kids can explore physics, weather, and the properties of light through the games on the app and suggested real-world extension activities.

Ease of Play

Games are easy for kids to play. Tips and extensions are made for parents to read and apply with kids.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Play and Learn Science is a free, PBS Kids-created app with games and tips that help kids and parents explore basic earth science, physical science, and life science topics. The 12 interactive games can be played in English or Spanish. Games feature common science-related phenomena in light (shadows), physics (inclined planes), the study of nature (weather), and more. To help transfer learning offscreen, parents can use in-app tips for more real-world, parent-child activities related to the same science concepts. There's a sticker and drawing page for kids to use their creativity. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.


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What's it about?

To use PLAY AND LEARN SCIENCE, first tap Parents to read tips about how to explore the activities with your kid and "ways to learn more in the real world." Swipe right or left to view all activity categories -- ramp and roll, gear up, shadow play, or weather control -- and then tap on an activity. For example, tap "Read the Temperature" and listen to the verbal instructions to tap on one of three different thermometers to see how it works. The narrator of the game explains the basic concept of how to read a thermometer. There's also a sticker page where kids can make a scene by placing stickers and drawing objects. 

Is it any good?

Preschoolers have so much to learn about the world around them, and this app helps start that exploration. For kids, Play and Learn Science's games offer information about everyday science phenomena such as balls rolling, temperatures rising and falling, and shadows growing. Then the learning continues with parents' help through the parent tips and hands-on activity suggestions. Many kids will likely be quick to recognize the app's PBS-typical cute characters and not-too-hectic animation style, while parents will appreciate the quality content PBS Kids provides. Play and Learn Science is a terrific first science app for preschoolers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about which Play and Learn Science games could be replicated at home. Stack some books, grab a board, and make a ramp. Take a flashlight into a room and create some shadows on a wall.

  • Be sure to read the tips for hands-on activities to continue the learning with your kid.

  • Encouraging your kids to notice and comment on a variety of everyday moments helps build their inquiry skills. This app provides excellent directed yet somewhat open-ended questions parents can model (e.g., "Compare the shadows of different objects. What do you notice?").

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love preschool and science apps

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