After going to a preview event at PBS Kids in Boston, I learned that PBS Kids is more than just a channel on our TV. Granted, it’s a pretty awesome channel that is on several times during the day in our house (Super Why or Curious George anyone?), but it is a whole education effort – of which TV is one component. A big part of PBS Kids and WGBH is their web and mobile content.
We have all heard that children learn most of their knowledge in the first few years of life, yet we seem to fail to provide a learning of mathematics in the early years. We focus more on ABCs and reading books than we practice counting or doing math.
As a result, in the U.S., we rank 25 out of 34 countries in math achievement per the National Assessment of Educational Progress Report. (Ouch!) Yet, the PBS initiative called “It All Adds Up” focuses on literacy skills AND early math for children ages 2-8. (Especially from communities that do not have ample resources.) While many parents practice math with their 5-8 year olds, many parents of 2-4 year olds do not. So it’s great that the PBS’ initiative includes even the littlest learners too.
Here are four great math games and apps from PBS Kids for Kids age 2-5:
Curious George Monkey Jump (Computer (Free): Counting Skills)
This game uses your computer’s web camera and children have to jump to launch balls into a basekt, while Curious George counts the balls on the way. This is a special app in that it also encourages physical movement in addition to number and words.
Curious George Bubble Pop (Computer (Free): Counting Skills)
The web-based game uses your computer’s microphone. Kids yell the word pop, and as they do, the bubble pops on the screen and kids count how many bubbles they pop along the way. Fun, different, and teaches counting an cause and effect too.
PBS Parents Play & Learn App (Mobile (Free): Basic Math and Literacy)
There are many game within this app alone that are themed around a familiar location, like a grocery store. It gives parents the opportunity to provide teachable moments in a variety of places.
Dinosaur Train Jurassic Junior App (Mobile: Math, Problem Solving, Measurement)
This app teaches kids measurement concepts while they help the dinosaurs fly and land. Help a Dinosaur create a bridge to walk across by determining how many logs to use.
And here are three notable apps if you have elementary-aged children.
For Kids 6-8
Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman (Computer: Additional and Subtraction)
Build a miniture golf courge and progress through math challenges along the way, and once they finish building, they can play.
The Electric Company Party Game App (Mobile: Addition, Subtraction, Data Analysis, Geometry, Money)
Huge scrambled words are heading to Earth. Kids can save the planet by unscrambling words and more.
Wild Kratts Creature Math App (Mobile: Addition, Substraction, Multiplication)
Help build habitats for animals using math and addition.
The PBS Kids “It All Adds Up” has 100 games and apps that focus on math and literacy skills (Wow!) and a new animated preschool series with adventures in math concepts and skills coming out in the fall of 2013. (Named PEG + CAT.) Speaking of new TV shows. Curious George has its new season “Spring into Spring” premiering on April 22, 2013. Fun new shows to watch and learn. (This Mom is as excited as her kids!)
All and all, PBS Kids is increasingly helping kids learn where they live, make learning time fun and functional on mobile, on air, online and beyond. Way to go PBS Kids!