Fresh from his time in the Internet’s headlights as a meme, Arthur has been recognized by Parents’ Choice for his website which this year went through an awesome redesign and added some great new games.
The award review:
Everyone’s favorite aardvark, Arthur, has a website that is just as fun and quirky as he is! The PBS Kids Arthur website is filled to the brim with entertaining and educational games, activities, and printables designed for preschoolers. And, because the material changes periodically, users could, literally, spend hours on the website and always find things to do.
During our review period, my son became a Treehouse Designer as he helped various characters design the inside and outside of their treehouse based on key adjectives; for example, Binky wanted an “artsy” treehouse, so my son got to pick and choose the furniture and accessories that he believed met that description. This gave us an opportunity to discuss adjectives and how they are used. He also used the Lunch-o-Matic with the Brain as he selected items to complete healthy lunches for his friends. This was a great way to talk about not just which foods are good choices, but why. The game taught him about vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and more – much more than the standard “What are the food groups?”
Beyond the game-style activities, children can also create comic strips, write poems, and send letters to Arthur and his friends. All of these activities offer opportunities to practice early reading and writing skills in a fun and safe venue. Another activity, which we particularly enjoyed was Family History Fun in which he created and conducted an interview about how I grew up, what my family was like, what my favorite items were, and so forth. He then added a picture, designed the layout and printed his work.
In addition to the website’s long-term play and learning values, we greatly appreciate that the instructions for nearly all the games and activities on the website are narrated and/or illustrated. This allows children to navigate the site with minimal parental assistance (not minimal parental involvement, mind you). This, in turn, increases a child’s sense of independence, self-efficacy, and self-confidence, all of which are critical developmental skills for social and academic success.
The website also features several types of printables including coloring pages, trading cards, and bookmarks, extending the many screen-based activities to plenty of screen-free fun.
Congrats to the site’s longtime senior producer, Gentry and his terrific team.