PBS KIDS Lab

Website review by
Michelle Kitt, Common Sense Media
PBS KIDS Lab Website Poster Image
Learning games for the preschooler set are fun, fun, fun.

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Kids say

age 2+
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The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational Value

Kids can learn preschool and early elementary math and literacy skills with games aligned to state and national standards. Detailed audio and visual tutorials teach kids how to play, and tasks increase in difficulty as they master the levels of each game. With a researched-based approach, parents and teachers can be confident in the quality of the games. PBS provides excellent educational activities that integrate devices into gameplay rather than just use them to display it.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that PBS KIDS Lab is the debut point for their newest games as well as a window into their research and other behind-the-scenes information. Many games are flexible across devices; if it's labeled "online game," "mobile," and "interactive whiteboard" it can be played all three of those ways, but parents can and should check the game descriptions. To play a mobile game, parents will need to download a free app to a mobile device and possibly lend their phone or tablet to their 3- to 8-year-old to play. Interactive whiteboard games are effective for teachers to use in their classrooms but some can also be played online.

User Reviews

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Kid, 9 years old May 22, 2014

Iffy for kids ages 2 and under.

If kids 2 and under want to go to this website, I'll say no because it's iffy for kids 2 and under.

What's it about?

PBS KIDS Lab targets very young kids so parent involvement is necessary. Filters let users choose games by skill, age, device, or show so parents can pick based on what kids need to learn or like to do. Online and interactive whiteboard games are generally played on the computer. Mobile games require downloading an app. Augmented reality games are special types of mobile games where kids use a smartphone's camera to answer questions. Game descriptions include a learning goal and explain how the game can be played and with what device.

Is it any good?

PBS KIDS Lab is funded by a Ready to Learn grant from the U.S. Department of Education, which requires PBS to do research on their games' effectiveness. As a result, kids get to play creative, innovative, and really fun games that teach skills they need to be successful in school. The game developers "get" kids and how they learn; for example, FETCH! LUNCH RUSH requires kids to add, subtract, run around, and take pictures with a smartphone to complete a task. Kids will want to play these games and not just because they involve beloved TV characters (Curious George, Sid the Science Kid, and the like) or because they get to use Mom's cell phone. One small navigational point -- the site is a hub, so opening a game takes users to another website without a direct return link; they'll have to click their way back to "the Lab."

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