Website review by Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Education | Updated April 2020

PBS Kids

One-stop shop for a wealth of fantastic PBS Kids educational content

Learning rating
Community rating
Based on 18 reviews
Privacy rating
84%| Pass Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
Pre-K–6
Subjects & Skills
English Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, Communication & Collaboration

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Pros: High-quality resources backed by learning design best practices.

Cons: So much variety can be overwhelming. Kids could need guidance to access specific resources.

Bottom Line: Amazing collection of valuable learning resources covers an impressive array of topics.

Teachers will want to spend some time exploring PBS Kids to discover all it has to offer. They can use the site to assign games from specific shows as extensions or explorations of topics recently covered in the classroom. Or, they can consider using the site's features as prerequisites for participating in class activities. For example, require kids to get a Webonauts diploma for media literacy before using computers in the computer lab. Games and videos can also serve as springboards for class discussion and further exploration.

Because PBS Kids is mostly a directory site for many other sites, teachers will need to either be very specific about which games they want their students to play (and then monitor them) or allow kids to explore games around a general topic. Doing a unit on math? Let kids play around on Cyberchase. Kids can save their high scores and favorite games, but real performance tracking is limited, so teachers shouldn't plan on using the site to assess performance.

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PBS Kids is a directory for roughly 20 TV and web-only PBS Kids shows designed for older preschool- and elementary school-age kids. From the site, kids can navigate directly to a particular show's individual site, where they'll find games, videos, and other related content. Kids can also watch video clips, sign in to their Secret Box to track scores, save favorites, store creations, and make cartoons in the cartoon studio.

Games match learning content to their companion show, so topics are as varied as the PBS Kids lineup. For instance, Wild Kratts games address science and animals; Webonauts, media literacy; Eco World, environment and ecology; Design Squad, engineering; and Fetch, science and problem-solving. There are also games, activities, and videos for music, girl power in science, cultural understanding, critical thinking, American history, culture, and geography, as well as preteen social-emotional and personal issues such as friends, family, emotions, body, and money.

As a directory site, PBS Kids gathers a wealth of content in one central location. Each individual PBS Kids show is supported by specific learning goals, developed with expert advice and often tested to demonstrate effectiveness. With educational activities, creation tools, plenty of suggestions for extending learning offline, and lots of fun, the PBS Kids sites are rich with learning potential.

The downside is that PBS Kids could use more structure, as kids can easily get distracted. The site would be stronger if, for instance, it included better progress assessments and a clear listing of all the learning topics available.

Overall Rating

Engagement

With the vast selection of videos and games, kids will be hard-pressed not to find something that excites them. However, too many choices can be overwhelming, and kids risk wandering around the site without direction or purpose.

Pedagogy

More than 230 games touch on topics like math, science, even engineering and media literacy. Some games are rich with learning content and some are more for fun, but all boast typical PBS high-quality design and learning approach.

Support

Each PBS show page includes a wealth of support information, including learning goals, printables, and suggestions for offline activities. Games have good instructions, and kids should find something that suits their learning needs.


Common Sense reviewer
Mieke VanderBorght Researcher

Community Rating

(See all 18 reviews) (18 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Brooke B. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Great educational videos and activities for kids!
My opinion is that it is a helpful teaching tool. I like the educational videos. I could seek direct correlation to my science and social studies standards and use it as a resource for thematic units. I really think the shows offer great lessons; whether it's informational facts about animals, etc. or lessons between characters and problem-solving strategies.
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Data Safety
How safe is this product?
Users can interact with trusted users and/or students.
Unclear whether users can interact with untrusted users, including strangers and/or adults.
Profile information is not shared for social interactions.
Data Rights
What rights do I have to the data?
Users can create or upload content.
Unclear whether users retain ownership of their data.
Processes to access and review user data are not available.
Ads & Tracking
Are there advertisements or tracking?
Data are not shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
Traditional or contextual advertisements are not displayed.
Behavioral or targeted advertising is not displayed.

Continue reading about this tool's privacy practices, including data collection, sharing, and security.

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