PBS Parents Play & Learn (free) is an app for parents who want more ways to teach their little ones fundamental skills. The app provides a variety of games and real life activities that parents can play with their kids wherever they go. It’s a dream come true for parents who are constantly running errands and need to keep their little ones entertained. It also encourages parents to start teaching their babies early, instead of just sedating them with Angry Birds or a TV show. PBS Parents Play & Learn is available for free in the Apple App Store and the Amazon Appstore for Android phones and tablets. This review reflects the iPhone app.
Learning Opportunities Everywhere
Each set of real life activities is themed around a familiar location, like the playground, a restaurant, or even the bathtub. For example, under the theme “Restaurant” there is a mini game your child can play on the device that coincides with the theme. Underneath the game is a list of real-life activities parents can do while waiting for their food at a restaurant. These themed hands-on activities encourage parents to take advantage of every moment they have and turn it into a learning experience for their child. Activities include pointing out words on signs while in the car, determining which animals are bigger or smaller at the zoo, and tracing letters in the bathtub. The activities are leveled in the stages baby, toddler, and preschool, so there are activities for kids ranging from one to five years old. Every so often a notification will pop up with a new activity that parents can do with their little one, which helps parents mix up the activities and keep their kids” interest.
The mini games provided in the app help toddlers learn early reading skills such as letter identification, rhyming, and vocabulary, as well as some math skills such as counting, identifying patterns, and estimating (putting different-sized toys in the correct box). Kids can count the number of letters in a word, determine which box a toy would fit in, or clean up toys according to their color. The interface is simple enough for a two year-old to navigate, and the graphics are bright, cute, and have a Blues Clues feel to them (you can never go wrong with that).
“Cheese” es Queso en Inglés
The app can also switch between Spanish and English so it reaches a broader range of parents. Spanish-speaking parents who also want to teach their children fundamental skills will find this app incredibly helpful. It’s worth noting, however, that a couple of the mini games still use a little English, but it’s very minimal. For example, in the Spanish version of the game “Checking Out Letters” under the theme “Grocery Store,” a child will be asked (in Spanish) to count the number of “E”s in the English word “cheese.” While adults may find this a little jarring, Spanish-speaking children probably won’t notice; they may instead actually benefit by learning a few English words.
Overall, PBS Parents Play & Learn is a fantastic app for parents on the go, and that’s why it wins an Editors’ Choice award. Kids will surely reap the benefits in the long run if parents implement the activities suggested in the app on a daily basis. They’re easy and simple to do, even when you’re running errands, at a restaurant, or sitting around at home, and they’re creative enough to keep your child’s interest. The games are within reach for toddlers ages two to five, and the simple math and reading skills woven into the games will keep them engaged.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc