PlayKids Learn - Learning through play

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
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Subscription-based preschool games with uneven quality.

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

Educational Value

Kids can work on basic early literacy skills such as rhyming, sight words, and letter recognition through watching videos, learning songs, and playing interactive games. Craft videos introduce kids to new ideas, materials, and approaches to creating things. Math and Art sections have far fewer content pieces, but kids explore geometry, problem-solving, and artistic expression.

Ease of Play

Navigation through the app is easy, though kids will have to tap individually on new activities and wait for them to download before playing. A few games are not well explained or easy for young kids to understand.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that PlayKids Learn - Learning through play is part of the PlayKids suite of apps that offer videos, games, and other material for young kids. Though the download is free, parents need to subscribe to access any of the content. Once subscribed, kids can use all the apps in the PlayKids series, and parents can use the seven-day free trial to give the apps a try. Some content in PlayKids Learn - Learning through play is original, and some -- like Disney's Doc McStuffins and Imagicademy games -- is borrowed from third parties. All games and videos must first be downloaded before kids can open them, which may end up taking a lot of room on your device. Parents can create individual accounts for multiple kids. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your information is collected and shared.

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What's it about?

Games and videos are currently divided into four categories in PLAYKIDS LEARN - LEARNING THROUGH PLAY: Read, Math, Art, and Create. Math and Art have only a handful of activities each; Read and Create have more. Most content focuses on basic foundations such as letter recognition, rhyming, numbers, and shapes. There's a mix of videos that present some learning material (for example, the letter U), videos that show how to do offscreen craft activities (sand drawings, origami), and interactive on-screen games.

Is it any good?

Since this app is a stand-alone offering, its limited content -- mostly borrowed from other developers -- makes it hard to justify the app's high subscription fee. But, considering that the subscription fee includes use of multiple apps in a larger series, PlayKids Learn - Learning through play becomes a bit more interesting. That said, content has a wide range of quality and level of appropriateness. The original SuperHands videos are clear, fun, and whimsical inspiration for offscreen craft activities, for example. Original videos that introduce letters and other early literacy topics are more hit or miss. The Doc McStuffins and Imagicademy games are the best interactive options, with exploration of early reading skills and artistic expression. The Art and Math sections are particularly weak: There are few activities, and many of those offered don't give enough support for young kids -- they're just flat-out too difficult. Some activities don't seem to have anything to do with their learning content designation (what does the Gold Rush game have to do with art, for example?). PlayKids Learn - Learning through play may not be the app that will draw parents in and inspire them to subscribe to the PlayKids series. Yet for those who like the other PlayKids offerings, this app does have some fun interactive elements kids will enjoy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the early literacy concepts presented in the Read section of PlayKids - Learning through play. Have fun with letters, stress letter sounds, and help kids read and sound out simple words they see all around them.

  • Get out the paper and art supplies and try your hand at the craft activities demonstrated in the videos. Use the suggestions for inspiration, but give kids space to get creative, too.

  • All content can be downloaded for anywhere, anytime access. However, remember to strive for balance when using screen media. Combine screen time with lots of offscreen activities and opportunities for family engagement. Check out these tips on how to find a good screen-time balance for your family.

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love toddler and preschool apps

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