Last week, PBS opened the beta test for their new Internet-based educational service, PBS Kids Play! The new site is designed to provide kids ages 3 to 6 with a source of instruction in essential subjects and skill areas in math, science, language, literacy, social studies, creativity, and healthy development.
The site uses interactive games and activities featuring characters from PBS programs including Curious George, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, The Berenstain Bears, Super Why! and more. The familiar characters will guide kids through the site and activities, which are designed to meet nationally recognized educational standards and benchmarks.
PBS Kids Play! is loaded with features designed to both assist kids and provide parents with a feeling of safety and control. The learning activities on PBS Kids Play! adapt to each child based on his or her individual progress and unlock new opportunities as the child advances. Preschoolers will also be able navigate the site through the use of the text-free system of buttons. For parents, there is the ability to set time limits on how long a child can use the site, 24/7 technical support, and the site operates as a desktop environment running full-screen that does not allow sharing of personal information or communication among users.
PBS Kids Play! is a downloaded service. During the beta test, running until later this quarter, the service is free with a limited number of activities available. There will be a monthly subscription fee of $9.95 or $79.95 annually when PBS Kids Play! officially launches.
To check out the service and get involved with the beta test, visit www.pbskidsplay.org.
- J. McKinney