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PBS Kids Lab helps build critical math skills

Of all the subjects our children learn at school, math is probably the most important. Every career uses some kind of math skill, and studying math helps the mind to organize complex problems into clear and logical steps. By becoming proficient at math, students give themselves a competitive edge and the ability to take on everyday challenges with confidence.

Unfortunately, studies show that over 60 percent of elementary students are below grade level when it comes to math, a deficiency that is often hard to make up. To combat this shortcoming, it is generally recommended that children build their math skills from a very early age. However, many parents struggle to incorporate appropriate math exercises in a home setting, lacking the time or the expertise to create a suitable program.

To help with this critically important activity, PBS Kids last month expanded its Labs web site to offer more than 50 cross-platform games that are designed to help children ages 2-8 acquire basic math skills in a fun and meaningful way.

The new Labs site is intended to support caregivers and teachers and includes games and activities that are suitable for both the classroom and the home. All the games can be filtered by age – either 3-5 or 6-8 – or by specific math skill. There are games that concentrate on basic addition and subtraction, and games that address more advanced concepts such as data analysis, measurement, and spatial sense.

Parents and kids can choose games that feature their favorite PBS characters, play games online, and even take games on the road by downloading the custom Fetch app for the iPhone. The entire web site is also available in Spanish by clicking on the En Español button in the top right-hand corner.

As well as using the Labs web site, PBS Kids recommends adding simple math activities to a family’s daily routine like counting trees as you drive by in the car, calling out street signs and identifying their shapes, or playing grocery store with household items.

“Parents and caregivers play a critical role in supporting their children’s learning,” said Lesli Rotenberg, Senior Vice President, Children’s Media, PBS.  “At PBS KIDS our goal is to offer families resources to help make anytime a learning time – whether it’s through an online game, or activity ideas that parents and kids can do together while they are out running errands.  The PBS KIDS Lab offers parents tools that are flexible to spark their kids’ imaginations and excitement about learning, and to help them build skills for success in school.”

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