PBS KIDS Lab Website Poster Image





Learning games for the preschooler set are fun, fun, fun.

What parents need to know

Positive messages
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Violence & scariness
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Sexy stuff
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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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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.

What kids can learn


Language & Reading

  • spelling
  • letter or word recognition


  • measurement
  • patterns
  • arithmetic

Engagement, Approach, Support


Plenty of fun, creative, and innovative games will grab, and hold on to, kids’ attention. Familiarity with beloved PBS Kids characters may make the games more exciting but is not necessary to enjoy the site to its fullest.

Learning Approach

Research-backed games target a variety of math and language arts topics. Age and skill filters assist in finding the right game to address kids' learning needs. Difficulty gradually increases as kids progress through the games.


Games have detailed instructions and often have help for kids struggling to find the correct answer. Progress reports, or some sort of central data collection that tracks progress through the activities, would be a nice addition.

What kids can learn


Language & Reading

  • spelling
  • letter or word recognition


  • measurement
  • patterns
  • arithmetic

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.

This Learning Rating review was written by Michelle Kitt

Parents say

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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."

Families can talk about...

Website details

Topics:Numbers and letters
Pricing structure:Free

This review of PBS KIDS Lab was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

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What parents and kids say

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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.
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