12 PBS KIDS Apps to Engage Early Learners in the Classroom

They’re packed with learning, too!

PBS Kids Apps Games

One of the very first apps I ever used in my classroom was a PBS KIDS app. Today, there are so many quality PBS KIDS apps—all designed to help students practice early learning concepts like literacy, math, and science skills – that it can be hard to narrow the list to just a few. I’ve leveraged some of these apps as a complement to my lesson plan, some to reinforce hard-to-understand concepts, and some as a reward after a job well done! Here is a list of some of my favorite PBS KIDS apps that I plan on including in my summer activities newsletter since they are designed to keep kids active and learning even when school’s out! Take a peek!  

PBS KIDS apps for STEAM

1. The Cat in the Hat Builds That

Even though STEM is all the rage, it can still be tough to find a good engineering app. This one fits the bill. It dives into physics and momentum, all at an early childhood level.

2. Play and Learn Science

PBS Kids Apps Play and Learn Science

This app features 12 games. My students loved playing with the stickers, of course, but they were also drawn to the games that taught specific science skills. It meshed well with our weather unit, and we asked kids to use that part of the app during our center time. 

3. PBS KIDS ScratchJr

12 of the Best PBS Kids Apps for Your Classroom

This creative coding app utilizes colorful blocks that enable my kids to create interactive stories with their favorite PBS KIDS characters. By snapping the blocks together, they can animate these characters in fun and exciting ways—all while learning basic coding concepts. It’s great to see their reaction when they see their story come to life. 

4. PBS KIDS Games

This is the mother of all PBS KIDS apps. It has over 100+ different learning games within the app that kids can play. And you don’t even need wi-fi to play them! All of their favorite PBS characters are there, and you can pull them up by type: coloring, create, the arts, or healthy habits. You can also dial them up by character; I’ll be turning my dial to Daniel Tiger! 

5. PBS KIDS Measure Up!

12 of the Best PBS Kids Apps for Your Classroom

Measuring can be such a tough concept. Kids have got to be developmentally ready to learn it. But once they’re ready, they’ll love this PBS KIDS app. It covers a lot of the concepts I teach in class, including finding balance and nonstandard unit measurement.

PBS KIDS apps for literacy

6. Dinosaur Train A to Z

12 of the Best PBS Kids Apps for Your Classroom

Dinosaur Train is such a favorite with my kids. With the app, you can get your fill of Buddy and Tiny! This app will give your students plenty of alphabet practice and builds in a few science skills, too.

7. Super Why! Power to Read

Learn with PBS KIDS – 12 Great Apps for Your Classroom

If you don’t have this award-winning app on your classroom iPads, you’re missing out. This one teaches all of the early literacy skills we’re covering in our curriculum, including phonemic awareness and letter practice. Their letter-tracing game is on target and so is their rhyming game.

8. Super Why! ABC Adventures

PBS Kids Apps Super Why ABC Adventures

This is another one that’s totally packed with academic skills that will keep kids learning over the summer. Screen time can actually be learning time because students will get lots of practice decoding and recognizing letters. Plus, it’s another award winner. 

9. Super Why Phonics Fair

12 of the Best PBS Kids Apps for Your Classroom

Phonics practice can be dull but this app totally spices things up, and it’s another award winner too. It uses the “word families” approach to help develop blending and segmenting skills through increasingly difficult games and lessons. 

PBS KIDS apps that get kids outside

10. Nature Cat’s Great Outdoors

Learn with PBS KIDS – 12 Great Apps for Your Classroom

This refreshing app is the one you need if you worry that your kids are going to spend too much time on the couch this summer. Most of the activities are designed to get kids up, moving, and even outside. Nature Cat encourages kids to take pictures of and reflect on their outdoor adventures.

11. Photo Stuff with Ruff

Learn with PBS KIDS – 12 Great Apps for Your Classroom

Art and Science? You can’t go wrong with that! Classic PBS KIDS character, Ruff Ruffman gets kids up and moving to explore, observe, and capture the “stuff” that things are made of in the world around them using a camera-based app. Kids will put their thinking caps on as they try to find and take pictures of different materials, record observations and share their scientific finds in a creative way!

12. Ready Jet Go! Space Explorer

12 of the Best PBS Kids Apps for Your Classroom

This is the perfect app for junior stargazers. It helps kids learn to recognize constellations and teaches them facts about the solar system at the same time. It’s like the stargazer apps for adults, in that it can identify constellations in real time, but it’s presented in a kid-friendly way. One of the neatest features of this app is that after it identifies a particular constellation, it creates an image of that constellation that kids can color. If this doesn’t put those constellations shapes and names into your kids’ long-term memory, I’m not sure what will!

Posted by Karen Nelson

Karen is a Senior Editor at WeAreTeachers. She's also a former elementary school teacher who loves teaching with technology.

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