PBS KIDS is best known for its child-centric apps, including PBS KIDS Video, The Electric Company Party Game, and more. However, the company has just launched an app that is geared toward parents more than it is for children. PBS Parents Play & Learn HD helps teach parents to learn how to teach kids.
PBS Parents is designed specially for parents to help them build early math and literacy skills. It is intended for teaching children ages four and under. The app includes more than a dozen games that parents can play with their children, plus advice for utilizing the games in real life. For example, the Bath Time game lets kids draw shapes on a virtual steamed up mirror. This game can be played in real life when bath time creates a steamy mirror for little ones to draw on.
The PBS Parents app is geared toward helping parents learn tools they need to bring up baby. It includes three learning stages, baby, toddler, and preschool. The app is free and available for both the iPad and iPhone.
“Mobile device usage among all communities – including low-income areas – continues to grow; according to a recent WestEd study, more than 60% of low-income parents reported they had access to a smart phone and more than 30% said they had access to a tablet,” said Lesli Rotenberg, General Manager, Children’s Programming, PBS. “While accessibility is critical, children also need parental support, which is why PBS KIDS is committed to offering free content for this platform to help build early reading and math skills. PBS Parents Play & Learn is our newest free resource that offers curriculum-based games and activities for kids and parents to help make anytime a learning time.”
The app includes the following features:
- Key math skills introduced include counting, shape recognition and vocabulary, spatial awareness, measurement, mapping, estimation and more.
- Key literacy skills introduced include letter recognition, phoneme recognition, color recognition, print conventions, rhyming, following verbal directions and more.
- 13 interactive games for 3- and 4-year-olds themed around a location or activity relevant to a child’s everyday life (e.g. grocery store, restaurant, bath time, in the car, playtime, etc.).
- 52 hands-on activities (4 per location) designed to provide parents with easy ways to take advantage of those learning moments that arise every day, whether at home, in a car or bus, or at a destination such as a restaurant, grocery store or library.
- Parent notes accompanying each game provide parents with information about the skills their kids will practice while playing the game, parent engagement tips to maximize a child’s learning potential while playing the game and ideas for extending the learning into the real world.
- A free-play sticker area where kids can click and drag any of 83 stickers into a landscape to create their own scenes. The sticker area also provides parent-child engagement opportunities.
- Completely bilingual, all the text and the voice narration in the app are in both English and Spanish. The app defaults to the language setting of the phone or tablet, but a click of a button allows users to toggle easily between languages at any time.
- Push notifications, which parents can opt to receive, provide additional tips three times per week.