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PBS Kids PLAY! Review by Brandi Keefe & Christina Arango

Public Broadcasting Service
2100 Crystal Drive
Arlington, VA 22202

PBS Kids PLAY! is an online learning program for children that are in preschool through 1st grade.  PLAY! is unique in that it customizes your child’s learning adventure according to their skill level.   

Your online subscription to PLAY! includes 56 educational games that feature characters which your children already love, such as Curious George, The Berenstein Bears and Thomas the Train, to name a few.  These games cover 35 different skill areas, including numbers, adding, subtraction, history, art, music, spelling, and literacy.  Also included are many videos and printable activities that are exclusive only to PLAY! subscribers. 

I have been using our PBS Kids PLAY!  subscription with my four year old son.  He loves it!  So far, he has done things like counting, sorting by patterns, matching objects, and learning the alphabet. When I asked him what his favorite part of the PLAY! game was, he started naming all the different characters that he likes, and then looked at me and said “everything.”

It has been helpful for us to have him do PBS Kids PLAY! while his older siblings are working on their school work. To him, this is his “school,” and it keeps him entertained and learning, all at the same time.  The PLAY! program also charts each child’s progress so parents can keep track of them, which I think is really helpful.

PBS Kids PLAY! is available by subscription only.  There are several different subscriptions available:

Monthly - $9.95 per month
6 months - $49.00
12 months - $79.00

I would recommend PBS Kids PLAY! However, I would try it for a month or two before I signed up for a whole year.

Product Review by Brandi Keefe, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November, 2012

And another review of this program:

PBS Kids Play! is an online school readiness program designed for children ages 3 to 6. It is meant to help them develop skills in seven core areas, including literacy, mathematics, and science.  There are literally hundreds of interactive games for your children, and a parent center to help you keep track of their progress as well as suggest new games for each child.  Each game has three levels so as your child plays the games they can be continually challenged with more difficult content.  In addition, children can visit a creative area for making art, interact with characters from the PBS Kids shows, or watch videos on demand from over 150 PBS Kids episodes.

My children immediately fell in love with the program; they looked forward to seeing all of their favorite characters, from Super Why! to Thomas the Train.  They also enjoyed the games and I watched them play the same games over and over again without tiring.  The program is fairly easy to navigate and even my young son was able to play independently.  As a parent, I loved having the ability to set a timer for my children within the program so that I no longer had to keep track of their individual screen time.  I also thought that the games were high quality and that my children did learn something. 

My only complaint about this program is that it can be a bit confusing in the beginning to navigate all of the choices, even after reading the parent guide.  However, now when you sign up you can opt-in to receive communications from PBS and they will send you daily tutorial e-mails explaining the features of the program during the ten day trial period. In my opinion this program is worth its price tag: $9.95 per month or $79 per year for up to four children.

Product Review by Christina Arango, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November, 2012