Second Annual STEM Competition

The National STEM Video Game Challenge is now accepting entries for its annual competition, hosted by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and E-Line Media. Submissions of original video game concepts and designs from students and educators are currently being accepted through March 12.

The challenge aims to motivate students who have an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by tapping into their natural passion for playing and making video games. The STEM competition is divided into four categories for individuals and teams: middle school, high school, collegiate, and educator.

Entries can be created by using any game-making platform, including, but not limited to, written concepts, Gamestar Mechanic, Microsoft’s Kodu Game Lab, GameMaker, and Scratch.

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Kick Off Summer Reading with WordGirl

“WordGirl’s Ludicrously Literate Library Week,” a special weeklong programming event airing July 11-15 on PBS Kids Go!, will have the beloved heroine, picked as this year’s “Ambassador of Summer Reading,” pitted against various vocabulary villains.

Scholastic Media, a division of Scholastic Inc., announced that in support of this five-day television festival celebrating reading and books, a new section will open on PBSKIDSGO.org where fans can answer trivia questions to unlock a secret spaceship with loads of exclusive content.

This is the second time that WordGirl is serving as the national Ambassador of Summer Reading. The special weeklong event will kick off PBS Kids’ continuing programming that promotes summer reading.

WordGirl is an animated series that helps children build their vocabularies. For descriptions of the new episodes, or for more information, click here.

PBS Kids Toy Line Now Available for Purchase

The first-ever PBS Kids toy line of preschool toys is now available online at the newly launched PBS Kids Shop at PBSKidsShop.com. The line, initially including more than 20 wooden toys, will be sold exclusively on the website until early fall when it will become available at other online retailers and in stores.

In addition to the new toy line, consumers will be able to find educational books, games, toys, DVDs, and more at PBSKidsShop.com, all based on PBS Kids programming. The shop was developed with Brand-Xpand, a leader in the design and management of eCommerce sites and services.

PBS Kids Shop will also feature exclusive items, including customizable backpacks, water bottles, room décor, apparel, and birthday party supplies featuring children’s names and their favorite PBS Kids programs and characters. Proceeds from the shop will help fund free, educational PBS Kids programming for children.

PBS Debuts PBS Kids Toy Line at Toy Fair

PBS has announced its first-ever PBS Kids toy line, selecting Happy Kid Toy Group as the line’s master licensee. Happy Kid will manufacture and distribute the PBS Kids toy line, with the first products being available this spring. The line will initially include more than 20 individual wooden toys for preschoolers across key toy categories, including the PBS Kids Sounds of the World Rhythm Set, PBS Kids Puzzle Playset Safari, PBS Kids Exploration Blocks sets, and PBS Kids 3-Layer Puzzles.

Learning Curve’s Dinosaur Train Rolls Into Retailers

RC2‘s Learning Curve has announced the launch of its Dinosaur Train-licensed products. The highlight of the announcement is the Dinosaur Train InterAction Figures, which uses the company’s Smart Talk Technology. Figures can interact with one another as well as emit around 40 dinosaur sounds, facts, and phrases from the CGI-animated, PBS Kids program.

Other toys include Dinosaur and Train 2-packs, a collectible figure and toy train combo, and Lights and Sounds Dinosaur Train, a train set that can be expanded with other Dinosaur Train sets.

PBS Kids Releases Cyberchase Whiteboard App

In conjunction with the launch of the eighth season of PBS KIDS GO!’s Cyberchase, the show is releasing the Lucky Star app for SMART Board interactive whiteboards. The Lucky Star app will be structured as a game show hosted by Cyberchase character Jackie. The app was unveiled by SMART Technologies and PBS Kids at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference in Denver, Colo.

Questions in the game are designed to help children in grades 3 through 5 strengthen their skills in algebraic thinking, number and operations, geometry, measurement, and more. Students can play alone or in teams as they reason, collaborate, represent, and test their ideas. Teachers can create their own set of math problems tailored to a specific curriculum. The app features characters and props from the television series.

The whiteboard app can be downloaded at the Cyberchase website or the SMART Exchange website.

Take a Ride Underwater With Dinosaur Train

PBS KIDS and The Jim Henson Company have announced the premiere of Dinosaur Train‘s underwater adventure, Dinosaur Train Under the Sea. The special, airing August 20,  features the dinosaurs traveling between underwater train stations and through time as they learn about dinosaurs from the Cretaceous, Jurassic, and Triassic periods. In the show, the crew will pick up new friends as they make their way along this hour-long adventure.

PBS KIDS GO! Launches Cyberchase Summer Challenge

PBS KIDS GO! will launch the eighth season of Cyberchase, a math-centric geared toward school-aged children, on June 25 with the premiere of the Cyberchase Summer Challenge. The initiative will feature eight weeks of new and encore episodes, with interactive content and nationwide outreach events designed to address the important of science, technology, engineering, and math.

The summer challenge will feature five new episodes that will air on Fridays from June 25 through July 23, followed by three encore episodes airing July 30 through August 13. There will also be a series of eight weekly online math-based challenges every Friday from June 25 to August 13, available at Cyberchase Online. Children can collect points and earn online rewards by completing challenges. All of the summer episodes will also be available for streaming at Cyberchase Online and on the PBS KIDS GO! video player starting on their premiere dates. Episodes will also be available for free download on the Cyberchase teachers and parents site.

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MEGA Brands Inks New Deal for Dinosaur Train

As part of a partnership with MEGA Brands, Inc., there will be a new line of Dinosaur Train toys hitting store shelves in North America beginning spring 2011. The new Mega Bloks products will launch worldwide fall 2011.

The deal by The Jim Henson Company, creator of Dinosaur Train, grants Mega Brands worldwide, multi-year licensing rights for the line of preschool construction toys.

Created by Craig Bartlett (Hey Arnold!), Dinosaur Train airs on PBS Kids.

Patch Products Announces New Line of Science Kits

Patch Products is releasing three new preschool science kits based on PBS KIDS’ Sid the Science Kid television show. Produced by The Jim Henson Company, Sid the Science Kid aims to encourage children’s natural curiosity, while developing early science skills.

Patch Product’s science kits include “Why Do I Need a Jacket?,” “How Do Plants Grow?,” and “Why Are Wheels Round?.” Each kit costs $9.99–for ages 3 and up–and includes a journal and kit-specific items.

“Why Do I Need a Jacket?” encourages preschoolers to explore aspects of the weather, including temperature and precipitation. “How Do Plants Grow?” teaches the fundamentals of plant growth, including what dirt is, while “Why Are Wheels Round?” teaches movement and some basic physics.