Blogger Kirsten Caldwell

Using PBS as a Resource

I recently had the amazing experience of being a member of the PBS kids community learning cohort through PBS Wisconsin and I want to share some of the amazing resources they have available.

PBS Kids

PBS Kids has online games, videos, shows, and even apps that are all free to access. They are educational, simple, fun, and great for kids. I recommend this app to any parent who asks me for a good recommendation.

PBS Parents

PBS Parents has articles, access to all of the shows, coloring sheets, activities that have been planned that they can do with their kids, and more. They can answer some questions like what age their child is, what show they like, and what they are looking for, and PBS will present them with a list of activities! They also have a newsletter which I subscribed to because they are always sending out new and great ideas.

PBS Learning Media

PBS Learning Media is mainly for teachers and educators and works wonderfully for librarians. They have everything that PBS kids has like the shows and such, but they also have lesson plans and activities free to use! If you need a pre-planned youth program, head to PBS Learning Media, type in what you are interested in, what age range, and BAM! There are a plethora of ideas already ready to go. Almost an overwhelming amount.

My PBS Program

With the cohort, I received a stipend to put on a program (though I could have put on a program for a lot less money if I needed to using their resources). Daniel Tiger was my inspiration because of the song “when you pretend, you can be anything.” I love that that whole episode emphasized dramatic play because play is such an important aspect of developing early literacy skills.

I chose to have a drop-in program to be more flexible for our community and it was so much fun. There were four pretend play stations:


I bought some pretend food, a cash register, some dishes, and I made a stove out of cardboard. The bins and holders we had from years ago and they had been sitting in storage so I repurposed them!


I got a bunch of blocks donated and bought a train set. They got to pretend to be an engineer and make a whole town.

Farmers Market

I bought a gardening set, fruit that can be cut (velcrow and a fake knife), and a farmers market kit with wooden fruits and vegetables, shopping bags that sort them by color, and pretend money.

Health Office

I bought a veterinarian kit, a dentist kit, a doctor kit, and printed some fake X-rays and doctor forms for them to play with.

In the Background

I played Daniel Tiger in the background on our projectors and had the toys on the opposite side so they could choose to move toys around the room and watch or ignore the show completely. Seeing him on the big screen was VERY exciting for the kids and the whole program was a huge success. Just putting Daniel Tiger on our flier got tons of people in the door which was amazing.

PBS Inspiration

If you need any inspiration for a program or free coloring sheets or anything, head over to PBS because I have discovered how great it is! In 2015, Katie Salo on the ALSC blog wrote about how PBS inspired her and it was a great post. I grew up watching PBS and I am so glad that kids now can still enjoy the educational shows and activities they provide.

Have you used PBS for any programs?

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