Getting StartedSite MapHome
Enhancing Education: A Children's Producer's Guide. ProcessFormatsCase StudiesResearch and Resources

Web/Interactive Media Elements

Games | Series-Specific Content | Stories | Songs | Printables | Online Coloring Games | Offline Activities | Newsletters | Postcards | E-mail | Discussion Areas | Surveys/Polls | Content for Adults | Help from PBS Kids


These features are fun, and there may be a way to "win," even though an educational agenda is often lurking within! Games are usually designed to encourage repeat-play and may offer various levels of difficulty. On, sites with games and features that make use of plug-ins such as Flash and Shockwave should be balanced with features that do not rely on plug-ins.

Cyberchase Make a Match game
View Cyberchase Make a Match game (Flash required)

Examples that rely on plug-ins:
Arthur: Alien: Assembly Required
Build the alien invaders that haunt Buster in his dreams.

ZOOM: Kitchen Chemistry
Perform online experiments to solve a puzzle and get a reward.

An example that does not rely on a plug-in:
Arthur: Letters to Arthur
Arthur sends an immediate personal response to letters you "write."

Series-Specific Content

Kids who visit a program's Web site often expect to find out more about the show's cast or characters.

View Arthur's Friends
View Arthur's Friends

ZOOM: Cast

Arthur: Friends

Back to top


Stories may be designed to be read aloud either by the computer (using a plug-in such as Flash) or by the site's visitors. Long stories are difficult to read online, so it's best to keep them short. Another option is to participate in PBS Kids' Share a Story feature. With Share a Story, you provide content along with images that feature characters from your site. PBS adds these to an existing template. Kids are then invited to send in a similar story, which may be posted for all to see.

Share a Story
View Share a Story

Between the Lions: Stories
Select from about 70 stories, including "The Boy Who Cried Wolf."

PBS Kids: Share a Story
Kids are invited to send in their own stories.

Back to top


Kids love music, and presenting songs with displayed lyrics offers literacy opportunities. A variety of media players are available (Windows Media Player, RealMedia, and QuickTime, for example). PBS Kids offers guidelines for their use in their Producers' Handbook, which is available online with a password from your PBS Kids editor.

View and listen to 'Won't You Be My Neighbor?'
View and listen to "Won't You Be My Neighbor?"

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: Won't You Be My Neighbor?
View lyrics and listen to the song. Requires RealMedia player.

Listen to the ZOOM theme. Requires Shockwave plug-in.

Back to top


Games, stories, certificates, and coloring pages are a few examples of the printable files your site can offer.

View 'Mister Rogers' coloring page
View "Mister Rogers" coloring page

Between the Lions: Things to Print
More than 200 printable games, stories, coloring pages, etc.

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: Coloring Pages
Twenty-four coloring pages

Back to top

Online Coloring Games

These interactive coloring games allow kids to fill in line-art images or paint "free form" with colors of their choosing. You can create your own coloring game, or take advantage of the interactive coloring applications made available through PBS.

View Arthur's Art Studio
View Arthur's Art Studio (Requires Shockwave)

Arthur: Art Studio
A Shockwave activity in which kids can paint free form

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: King Friday
An example of a coloring page that makes use of PBS's interactive coloring scripts

Back to top

Offline Activities

Many sites offer suggestions, lesson plans, and ideas for activities to be done away from the computer. Some of these activities, like the ones on ZOOM, are directly targeted to kids. Others are targeted to adults who work with kids.

View the 'Balloon Animals' ZOOMdo
View the "Balloon Animals" ZOOMdo

Instructions for all the activities performed on the program

Clifford the Big Red Dog: Cleo's Fair Share

An example of an activity that adults can do with kids

Back to top


Depending on your target age, sites often run newsletters for kids and/or their caregivers. Note that PBS Privacy Policies and federal law (COPPA) govern collection of personal data for newsletters, e-mail, postcard applications, etc. Newsletters are usually formatted in plain text, not HTML, and should allow for easy unsubscription.

View 'The Paw Print'
View "The Paw Print"

Between the Lions: The Paw Print
This page displays this week's newsletter and offers a link to subscribe (or unsubscribe).

Back to top


Online postcards allow users to select an image, write a message that will appear on the postcard, and "send" the card to a friend. (The e-mail message includes the URL at which the receiver can view the card.) You can create your own postcard application, or take advantage of the postcard applications made available through PBS.

View Cyberchase E-cards
View Cyberchase E-cards

Cyberchase: E-cards
Send an electronic postcard to a friend.

Back to top


Depending on your budget for maintaining a site, you may actively solicit e-mails for posting. A database or well-organized backend is important, as the volume of e-mail received can be high. Note that PBS Privacy Policies and federal law (COPPA) govern collection of personal data for e-mail. This may require someone on your staff to delete from the messages last names and other information that could identify a child and/or his or her whereabouts.

Back to top

Discussion Areas

Because it requires live monitoring, chat is extremely expensive to run. Instead of chat, PBS Kids sites tend to have areas where mail is selectively reviewed and posted as part of a "discussion," often organized by theme. At one end of the discussion spectrum is ZOOM, which receives an average of 20,000 e-mails a week (and more than four million since launch). A portion of this content is reviewed and published each week.

View ZOOM: WhatZup
View ZOOM: WhatZup

ZOOM: WhatZup
An example of a monitored discussion area that is updated once a week

Back to top


An online poll allows kids to voice their opinions about a specific topic and see how other kids feel about the same topic. PBS offers polling scripts that your developer can modify for your site.

View Arthur's Sugar Bowl Poll
View Arthur's Sugar Bowl Poll

Arthur: Sugar Bowl Poll
This poll for kids asks a new question each week.

Back to top

Content for Adults

Kids' Web sites offer content for adults. Content can include TV listings, episode descriptions, series curriculum, offline activities, technical help, lesson plans (often promoted from PBS TeacherSource), and behind-the-scenes information about the series. There may also be content offered in languages other than English and PDF downloads of print outreach components.

View the Cyberchase Parents and Teachers area
View the Cyberchase Parents and Teachers area

Cyberchase: Parents and Teachers

Back to top

Help from PBS Kids

PBS Kids offers a variety of templates and a handbook that contains advice and rules for sites they serve. These rules cover everything from alt-tags to commercial messages and bridge pages to logo placement. PBS encourages producers to support satellite sites such as PBS Parents, which is served by a database that includes information about each site's activities as well as local stations that may use simple toolkits to promote and extend TV series on their own sites. Sites are also expected to carry localization opportunities for co-branding with local stations.

Back to top

In this section:


        Types of

>      Web/Interactive
        Media Elements

        Writing for
        Children's Web Sites

        Web Production
        & Distribution

        Web Budgeting
        & Scheduling



Process | Formats | Case Studies | Research & Resources
Home | Getting Started | Site Map | Privacy Policy

© 2004, Corporation for Public Broadcasting. All rights reserved.