Our kids are avid PBS viewers. They’ve never grown tired of Curious George in five years and relative newcomer Odd Squad is so entertaining I’m a huge fan. The brilliant thing about PBS is obviously is the absence of commercials. Hanging out at grandma’s for a week where Disney Junior and Disney XD are available is a real eye opener for both parents and kids. I thought a review of ABCmouse may at least help bring some awareness to another option to the heavy dose of children’s programming.
On PBS, the sponsor ads betweens shows are geared to the parents. One of those spots we’ve seen thousands of times was for ABCmouse.com. I’ve watched it a thousand times but never checked it out. It wasn’t until we were in search for productive games online that we learned ABCmouse.com was a leader in the industry.
PBS Kids has their own online games and they’re very hit or miss. The PBS kids site is free and they offer some very entertaining games, but the odd thing is there is very little learning value to them.
We’ve tried many learning apps and some are good for a while but the lose interest fast. It’s only been recently we been allowing a little more screen time. So that brings us to ABCmouse.
To set the scene, it was Thanksgiving weekend – cousin time. It gets wild fast with the twins by themselves, then add in cousins the same age it’s a mess. Screen time is a four-year old’s wine.
Downloading the ABCmouse app was fine. Setting up was time-consuming. I was looking for a quick fix and ended up dropping it until later. Setup almost seems like a trap, but thankfully they like it so apparently it’s not. When I returned to it I was on a laptop. There is a 30-day free trial then it’s $7.95 a month. I fully expected to do month and cancel but it’s been a pleasant surprise
The parent and child both set up accounts. You can let the kids pick their avatar. He purposely chose one who looked like Harry Potter. Once you’ve established your account you have several choices how to proceed. There’s a learning path which tailors the experience but the kids hit the classroom where you pick what you want to do. There are dozens if not hundreds of books they can read or have read to them. They’ve gone through a bunch of those and have enjoyed them.
Mostly, though, they like the games. Reading comprehension is a key at this age and they have plenty to help them improve. There’s maybe a hundred games, plus puzzles and art. They’ve only explored a dozen or so games so far but they’ve enjoyed what they’ve played so far.
As you play you collect tickets that can be used on various in-game upgrades and even keep a pet hamster within the game. Some games play better on the phone, while others, like the books, are better on the laptop or bigger screens.
We’ve limited the time they have played but we’ll be going to the pay side very soon. We will go month-to-month to give the boys time to explore it a bit. It’s worth the $7.95, which is as positive a review I can give.