Parents and children who have grown up with PBS Kids programs will not be disappointed with all that the PBS Kids website has to offer. Jam-packed with PBS Kids free games and videos for early childhood, PBS Kids provides children with many different opportunities to develop their language and love of learning by feeding their natural curiosity. My four-year-old son, who has already had a couple years of experience on the site, still loves to revisit the site time and time again, clicking away and having fun learning.
Click and Learn – Navigating around the PBS Kids Home Page
The PBS Kids site can be accessed via KidZui’s free web browser. The home page provides your child with a menu of options. Depending on which PBS show character gets clicked, you will be taken to a new home page with a menu of options, specific to that program. Scrolling over the arrows on either side of the “wheel” reveals more characters.
There is also the option of clicking on Videos or Games. The Videos page has an embedded video player, where your child can watch PBS clips. The Games page allows your child to play games based by show or topic areas such as reading, math, art, and music. My son has always skipped right to the games and activities because he is so familiar with the shows he already watches. Children who are not as familiar with some of the PBS programs may enjoy watching the video clips.
Welcome to Word World, “Where Words Come Alive”
One of my son’s first favorites on television and on the site was Word World. As a parent, even I was mesmerized at how the letters became live words and pictures when connected together! The site is entertaining and interactive, even for adults, as you have the opportunity to experience their virtual world with map and all.
The player becomes part of the story through clicking on the pictures and letters or dragging letters around to spell words in order to help move the story along. Some of the games, like Dog’s Letter Pit, made it really fun for my son to learn letter and sound identification at a young age. The game asks you to help Dog spell a word as he jumps in and out of the letter pit to fetch letters.
This site needs a good connection speed, as it needs to download lots of content. Slower connection speeds may cause it to freeze up at times.
Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street
Sesame Street is another one of my son’s favorites. All the key characters are here and clicking on their photo brings your child to character-specific games, activities, coloring pages, and even e-cards. My son has sent Grandma a number of personalized Sesame Street e-cards, which she has loved. This is a great activity to do with your child, where they get to decide how they want to design the card.
My son loves Elmo and Cookie Monster, so he often revisits their pages. Once in a while, I’m tempted to get him personal headphones, but you might want to turn the volume down a bit when they’re playing on the site. My son loves Cookie Monster’s Color Me Hungry, as he’s always loved watching him eat his way out of situations. If only life could be so easy at times.
So Much More to See and Do on PBS Kids
On the home page, there is also PBS Kids Island and PBS Kids Go. These two sites give you the option to log in for more customization. This requires the help an adult to set up. My son really enjoyed playing PBS Kids Island, because you have to accumulate tickets to claim prizes, and you have to complete a number of activities in each section of the amusement park in order to “unlock” more areas. For the more difficult challenges, I had to help him along, but I didn’t mind playing, too.
One of the great things is that you and your child never have to feel lost after clicking away on the site. My son and I discovered that clicking on either the PBS Kids “green boy” (Dash) or “green girl” (Dot), at least one of them is located somewhere on every PBS Kids page, you’re always taken back to the PBS Kids Main Home Page! That was a very cool discovery.
Another awesome feature about the PBS Kids site that I love and appreciate is the absence of advertisements and commercials! On the site, I never have to worry about my son getting sidetracked by a distraction or clicking on something that takes him away from the fun and the learning.
What I also love about PBS Kids is that they also keep the PBS Parents in mind. The PBS Parents site provides a wealth of resources, information, and tools on child development and early learning for parents. It’s wonderful to know that they recognize that parents want to be actively involved with their children’s education.
Have Fun Exploring PBS Kids Together
Other favorites of ours on the site are Sid the Science Kid and Dinosaur Train, where we both learned a lot of science together. Whatever your child is interested in, PBS Kids seems to have something to offer. Please leave a comment and share which parts of the site you and your child enjoyed and learned together. Happy exploring!
Renny Fong has been an educator for over 15 years, teaching pre-kindergarten through fifth grade; he currently teaches technology. His wife and his four-year-old son are his biggest joy and inspiration. He started his blog, TimeOutDad, in September 2009 and has been a contributor to Book Dads and Rice Daddies since 2010.