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Friday, February 27, 2009
Apple Games Features PBS KIDS PLAY! Neighborhood
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Apple Games's latest feature explores the educational worlds of PBS through the network's new online KIDS PLAY! Neighborhood offerings. The Flash powered activities feature popular characters from PBS programs and includes age specific content in areas such as language, literacy, math, science, and social studies. Apple's article includes an over view of KIDS PLAY! features and comments from Ben Grimley, Senior Director of Interactive Business for PBS. was the network’s initial foray into the interactive world. While that site will continue to offer free content, Grimley explains that PLAY! was built with guidance from three core lessons learned during’s creation:
• “Immersive play environments are more engaging. We built PLAY! to run full-screen to give the environment a close-up and exploratory feel. This also had the side benefit of preventing kids from accidentally leaving the safe haven that is PLAY!, since there is no browser bar.”
• “We worked hard to standardize, from technology (only Flash is required) to navigation elements to building content to meeting educational standards.”
• “We felt we really needed to push ourselves with PLAY! to get to the next level. That means games that maximize engagement, acquisition of new skills, and replayability, as well as games that scaffold, so kids experience a more challenging game when they’re ready.”
With a framework in place, Grimley’s team turned to the characters. “We narrowed our focus to those characters who would resonate with our intended audience of 3-to-6-year-olds,” he recalls. “Each PBS Kids program is curriculum-based, so we picked shows that would create a balance across the skill areas. We’ve worked with each TV producer to make sure our interactive content stays true to the spirit and learning goals of each show. We also made an extra effort to highlight female characters, since there are relatively few female leads on TV.”
Like its audience, PLAY! will grow over time, with new games and a new skill area, foreign languages, coming to the roster in the near future. Grimley observes: “PBS KIDS PLAY! can help build a strong foundation to ensure success for our next generation of learners.”
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Apple Games: KIDS PLAY! Neighborhood

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Archives  News  Apple Games Features PBS KIDS PLAY! Neighborhood