A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this website.
Kids can learn developmental preschool skills like counting, storytelling, solving puzzles, self-expression, and fine motor skills as they watch videos and play games tied to PBS Kids Sprout television programming. Games that target specific skills are helpfully organized by type in a parents' area. Preschoolers will have endless fun with their favorite TV characters, but games need more substance so that kids' learning sticks.
In the games, activities, and videos there are positive messages about the importance of family, developing a love of learning, and healthy eating. Also, there are lots of activities here to print out and color or create by hand, sending the message to kids that they can have just as much fun offline.
Products & Purchases
The site runs ads and promotes PBS shows and characters -- many of which, like Bob the Builder, have become pretty commercialized.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sprout Online is an extension of the PBS Kids Sprout cable channel for preschoolers. Most of the content comes directly from the channel's popular shows, including the videos, but you can upload your own photos and videos here, too. The site is fun and visually notable so that kids won't mind seeing the same stuff online. The games are straightforward enough for most preschoolers to play unassisted after an adult reads the directions to them (though we still recommend sitting with preschoolers at the computer), and there are lots of printables and offline activity ideas like recipes and birthday party ideas.
Is It Any Good?
SPROUT ONLINE's content is entertaining and fairly well done for the preschool set. As the companion website to the 24-hour cable channel PBS Kids Sprout (dedicated to preschool kids ages 2-5), young kids will find many of their favorite Sprout characters on this site. But the real stars are the crew from the Good Night Show, as well as old standards like Barney, Bob the Builder, and Thomas the Train. Most of the site's video content is recycled directly from the channel's popular shows. The games section offers simple, age-appropriate activities from almost all of Sprout's shows. Some of the games link off to other sites (often to PBSKids.org), and most require a bit of reading to get started.
Online interaction: Sprout "Mail" allows you to send and receive messages from people that you put on your family's contact list.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.