PBS HealthyKids

Website review by
Leslie Crenna, Common Sense Media
PBS HealthyKids Website Poster Image
Entrée into PBS's tastiest online goods for healthy eating.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about the small steps they can take to make healthy food choices. They'll learn how animals eat, and what it means to be a herbivore, carnivore, or omnivore from "Have a Brachiosaurs Picnic," and about navigating the local supermarket from a Healthy Minutes video. Lots of the content is for adults who will need to be the ones to facilitate the learning benefit embodied in the site, but kids will have fun with games like "Grocery Bag Bingo," where they'll keep an eye out for fruits and veggies at the supermarket. PBS HealthyKids is a well-rounded resource for both kids and adults who want a fun way to incorporate healthy food into their daily lives. 

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Site is sponsored with links to outside complementary yet commercial content.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know PBS HealthyKids is a portal to all the PBS Kids content that revolves around healthy eating. Sponsored by Whole Foods Market, it has a colorful variety of activities that teach young kids about good food choices, helping them celebrate "tiny victories." If you know and love PBS, you won't be disappointed. Because a lot of the content is for grown-ups (such as a weekly meal calendar), preschoolers as young as 4 should have adult company as they navigate through this collection of Web-based games, videos, recipes, and tips all related to food and healthy eating.

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What's it about?

PBS HEALTHYKIDS pulls together food-related content from all your favorite PBS stars. Peg + Cat and a Whole Foods logo are featured on the colorful front page. Further down or across the top, you can access the Food & Fitness tab from PBS Parents, a whopping 600 kid-pleasing recipes and tips and real family videos via the Kitchen Explorers feature, and food-related games and segments from popular PBS shows such as "Dinosaur Train," "Fizzy's Lunch Lab," and "Healthy Minutes" from Iowa PBS.

Is it any good?

PBS HealthyKids is one of a series of repackaged portal sites that focuses on a particular theme or activity (such as PBS Kids/Lab/Games), bringing all relevant PBS-created content together in one place. What's so great about this one? Food, and lots of it! There's definitely more here for parents than for kids -- for instance, tips about how to impress picky eaters, create healthy meals on a tight budget, and host a kids' cooking competition, plus tools like a meal calendar and recipes...lots of recipes. Korean Kimbap (or Korean-style sushi), Roasted Cauliflower Poppers (gotta try that!), and Zucchini Pancakes (hardly changes the taste at all) are the kind of kid-friendly recipes featured here.  

Unlike some other PBS portal sites, it's generally easy to return to the HealthyKids main page because content is usually delivered in pop-ups (except for the games, which open in new tabs). Adult comments following the recipes in Kitchen Explorers highlight the need for some additional recipe categories that address gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, and nut-free foods. Although the three featured games aren't incredibly inspiring or dense in educational content, they're fun and will help get kids engaged.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Browse recipes together and plan to follow a new one each week. Use the meal-planning chart to teach concepts such as day of the week at the same time.

  • Make sure to cover kitchen safety before allowing little ones to use sharp knives or cooking appliances. 

  • Introduce your family to other healthy and fun activities that complement a healthy diet, such as gardening or bike riding.

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