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Mobile Apps

PBS Kids Games app creates a free walled garden, you know, for kids!

The app for phones and tablets gathers a bunch of free, educational games in one place for easy access and parental supervision.

Don't want your 6-year-old braving the wilds of the app store? Wish there was a trusted place to find free, worthwhile games for kids, without having to comb through reams of reviews or worry about in-app purchases?

Well, lucky you. Launching today is a new free app from PBS Kids that collects many of its free games in one place. Currently the app contains 25 games featuring popular characters from PBS childrens' shows, including Peg + Cat's Chicken Dance, Wild Kratts' Rhino Bowl and Sid the Science Kid's Crystals Rule. More games will be added on a weekly basis.

The app is available for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, as well as Android tablets, with an Amazon Fire version coming soon. I played with the iPad version and it's the kind of experience I'd be comfortable letting my young kids explore on their own during their allotted screen time. There's a character-based menu on the right, gum-ball machine with a featured game on the home page, and categories like Science and Nature at the top. Most of the games aren't loaded by default, but if you're connected to the Internet a quick tap downloads and launches them. You can load up on downloads for offline access during car trips or doctors' visits.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The app doesn't include any of the popular pay-based PBS Kids games like Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood and Wild Kratts Creature Math. Instead, it's focused on delivering the free games currently available on the pbskids.org website. The "grownups" section does offer a sale price on a single game, however, as well as a device storage meter (to limit the number of downloads if you want to conserve space), a TV schedule and a Donate button for your local PBS station.