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Scribbles and Ink

Website review by
Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media
Scribbles and Ink Website Poster Image
Interactive story site is off to a solid yet limited start.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about drawing and get to be creative. Adding elements into stories may help them learn a bit about how storylines work. Some exercises also stress responsibility and politeness -- the characters thank kids when they help clean up after a party in one, and when they disagree about where to play outside, the characters resolve to instead play inside to end the argument. The characters sometimes introduce requests by telling kids they can draw anything they'd like; downloadable activities also stress expressing yourself and using your imagination.

Positive Messages

The characters sometimes provide encouragement as kids are sketching items into the story.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

This website is part of the PBS Kids site, and the characters are based on a long running book series.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Scribbles and Ink is an online series that includes interactive elements where kids can draw items that then appear in the story. They may sketch a car, for instance, using the online drawing tool that the characters drive in, or add a mythical creature who's a party guest. Very little reading is involved, so younger kids should be able to easily navigate the site, and there's no cost involved or overt advertising. Kids can also access the experience using the PBS Kids Games app, which contains activities that relate to a number of other PBS Kids shows. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content to be found on the site.

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What's it about?

PBS Kids' SCRIBBLES AND INK is an interactive viewing and drawing experience. Kids can view animated adventures featuring characters from the book series of the same name, who pause periodically to ask kids to draw objects like a car. A drawing tool provides a variety of colors and utensil options, such as a marker or spray paint. Kids will then see their illustration incorporated into the episode. Kids can also download a half-dozen activity worksheets or use the drawing tool to create random pictures, and up to 10 can be saved in a gallery.

Is it any good?

Interjecting kids' drawings into animated features provides a unique viewing experience -- kids get to both watch a story unfold and also participate in it. In addition to engaging them, Scribbles and Ink's interactive elements gives kids a chance to be creative. The characters often supply an admirable amount of verbal support as kids draw, offering sentiments like "You have some great ideas!"

Kids access each story by clicking on an object in rooms they scroll through from the main screen -- a box, for example, leads them to story where they're asked to turn boxes into costumes by drawing on them. Clicking on an umbrella takes kids to an episode where they add rain so the characters can puddle jump. The functionality is easy to figure out -- drawing utensils zoom forward when selected, and kids just need to click on a green checkmark to indicate they're finished with a picture. They may not end up spending hours on the site -- each episode is fairly short, and currently, there are only a few. But PBS Kids just launched the site in mid-December 2019, so additional content will likely be added in the future.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about expressing yourself through drawings. Does your child find it easier to share feelings through words or pictures?

  • What specific elements in your child's drawings or artwork illustrates your child's emotions? Can these be conveyed in different ways?

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  • What does your child think an artist was feeling when some of the pieces were created?

Website details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love art

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