Monday, May 18, 2015

Playful parenting: PBS Parent Play and Learn app

In a previous post, I reviewed the app Sesame Street Family Play, an app that supports playful parenting by providing hands on, unplugged, play suggestions.  I have found yet another app that supports playful parenting.   PBS Parents Play and Learn app is a free, bilingual app (Spanish and English) that provides parents with simple activities to play with their children designed around familiar locations.  There are 52 activities and 13 games grouped around the following locations: Bath Time, At the Zoo, Playground, At a Party, Play Time, Grocery Store, Library, At the Park, On a Bus or Train, Kitchen, In the Car, In Town, and Restaurant.  In each section, there is 1 interactive game, 1 activity for babies, 1 activity for toddlers and 2 activities for preschoolers. The interactive games target math and literacy skills.  The games have a parent section that includes explanations of how the game promotes development and provides suggestions for extending the learning in the real world.  The activities provide suggestions rooted in evidence based practices, we know promote good outcomes for kids such as talking to children, singing, reading, and pointing out print in the environment.  The interactive game in the Bath Time section involves writing letters on a steamy mirror.  The name of the letter and the letter sound is stated.  The suggested activity for a baby in the Bath Time section is singing a song about washing different simple body parts.  With toddlers, parents are encouraged to explore the math concepts of volume by pouring water into containers, while using concepts such as empty and full.  In the Kitchen section, the preschool activity involves making patterns with fruit to make a nutritious fruit kabob.  The app occasionally provides new activities through a message section.

There is also a free play sticker area.  This sticker section is great for creative free play and it can be used to design more structured activities.  I have used the sticker section for activities such as creating patterns, repeating patterns and following directions. The stickers can be used for sorting activities such as sorting fruits and vegetables. Literacy activities can be extended with the stickers.  Children can search for stickers that have the same beginning sound, or attempt to find rhyming words.  

This app has been added to my parent resource pages.  It gets bonus points for being bilingual, free, and parent friendly.   

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