There’s a new app out and it’s available for free on Apple and Android devices! Also, the app is bilingual for English/ Spanish.
PBS Parents released their app Play and Learn. I thought it was interesting that it’s called the PBS Parents Play and Learn app instead of the PBS KIDS Play and Learn app. After downloading it and playing with it for a while, I see that they are correct.
While the app has a lot of fun, interactive games for kids to play with or without parental interaction, it has even more activities listed. The app is centered around themes. Each theme is a common place you go with your child: zoo, park/ playground, grocery store, library, your own kitchen – places like that. At each location, there is a game to play with “easy” and “hard” levels to choose. Then there are activities, this is where you can tell that it has been designed with parents in mind.
Divided by age levels – baby, toddler, and preschooler – there are three to four activities in each location. For example, the grocery store is a challenging place to take children no matter how good your kid is or how patiently you parent. One activity suggested is a rhyming game in the produce section. Imagine the silly fun you can have with “arugula!” Since laughing is a great stress reliever, it’s bound to improve the overall shopping experience. Another stressful-events-waiting-to-happen location is restaurants. Don’t worry! PBS Parents put in games for you there, too. Some use the menu, others use the sweetener packets, napkins, and silverware.
I will confess that I do not download apps for my kid to play on my phone. I do let him navigate through the photos, which he loves since they are mostly pictures of him and his friends. We have friends who let him play on their phones, too, so he’s as digitally savvy as the average 4-year-old. If I’d had this app over the weekend, we could have potentially been saved from a double meltdown at a local restaurant. So, yeah, I’ve downloaded it and will certainly pop it open when I’m out of clever ways to get my son to wait patiently for the train to come at the zoo, or navigate the grocery store.
And, I won’t feel like I’m flaking out to a device when I do it either. For starters, these games and activities are published by PBS, which means I can trust them; they aren’t trying to lure me into buying anything. Seriously, you can’t “purchase an upgrade” for your “doggie palace” or anything. Everything they recommend is educational, encouraging letter and number recognition and other early math and language skills. The real icing on the cake is that the activities help build positive communication between parent and child.
How often do you pick up your Little from school or day care and say, “What did you do today?” with as much excitement as you can because you really do want to know only to be let down by your precious Little who responds, “I don’t know,” or with even more charm, “nothing.” The suggestions in this app open up the possibility of a new, more engaging way.
In short, I like the app*. I like that it’s from PBS Parents, that it is as fun as it is educational, and I like that it is free.
*I tested the app on my iPhone. If you’re trying it on an Android device, I’d love to hear how it works for you. Leave a message in the comments below.