Scary Mommy

How Noggin Makes Educational Content That’s Actually Fun

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This story was produced in partnership with Noggin.

Noggin is an interactive learning platform that’s easy for kids to love. Why? It’s from Nick Jr., which means it’s populated by characters they already know and love, from the canines of PAW Patrol to the merpeople of Bubble Guppies. But what really sets it apart is how easy it is for parents to love it too. That’s because the experts behind its ad-free, kid-pleasing content use research-backed methods to foster everything from empathy to literacy to healthy habits, leveraging the latest in learning and child development.

The videos, games, eBooks, and podcasts on Noggin are designed for kids aged 2 to 6+, which just so happen to be critical learning years. Research shows that kids who aren’t ready for kindergarten are four times less likely to graduate from high school. So when you invest in Noggin you’re making a down payment not just on your kid’s academic performance but on their happiness and comfort as an adult as well.

Here are six examples of fun activities kids can find on Noggin, along with what (and how) each one helps them learn.

1. Snow Day and Play

What Is it? A video game based in the PAW Patrol universe.

What does it teach? Counting.

How does it work? Young players choose a member of the PAW Patrol gang and are tasked by them to “dance”. To do so, they must press the correct number tiles that float across the screen in a given order. Players get a star every time they press the numbers —all of which are written on color-coordinated tiles — in the correct pattern. Eventually, they also get a “Boogie Break,” ten or so seconds of button-mashing fun, before getting back to the educational side of things. The game features 15 different levels with increasing difficulty, a perfect example of scaffolding — progressively asking more of them in a way that builds skills and independence — that’s a research-backed technique for teaching young people.

2. Dora and Diego by the Shore

What Is It? An eBook starring Dora and her cousin Diego.

What does it teach? Reading.

How does it work? A Noggin subscription gives you and your little one access to a library of books featuring characters from their favorite TV shows, including this tale inspired by Dora the Explorer. Each one is assigned a level from level one—simple vocabulary and lots of repetition for kids who are just starting to recognize words—to level five, which includes chapters and longer paragraphs for the fully independent reader.

When they read a book on Noggin, kids can choose between reading it by themselves or hearing it read to them by a narrator. If they choose the latter, they’ll see each word highlighted as it’s read, and if they want to hear a word again all they have to do is tap it. This alignment of what kids see and what they hear is a great way to teach phonics, a foundational literacy skill.

3. All About Me

What Is It? A reflective coloring game.

What does it teach? Self-awareness, a foundational social emotional learning skill

How does it work? At first glance All About Me is just a simple coloring game that lets kids illustrate where they live, things they love, and what they like to play with. But prompting kids to consider and express what they like actually helps build self-awareness, the first main skill associated with social and emotional learning.

4. School of Yum

What Is It? A series of cooking videos.

What does it teach? The value of preparing food and healthy eating

How does it work? This instructional cooking show starring Chef Erin Jeanne McDowell and Nick Jr. characters incorporates math and science in its explanations of measuring and cooking, but it’s central message is the importance of cooking delicious, healthy food from around the world. As it turns out, the kitchen is a great place for kids to learn a lot of different things, something this series takes full advantage of.

5. Corn Roast Catastrophe

What Is It? A video game based in the PAW Patrol universe.

What does it teach? Problem-solving skills

How does it work? A cow knocked over a farmer’s grill, scattering coals on ears of corn that are at risk of popping. It’s up to kids to help Marshall, the firefighter of the PAW Patrol gang, save the day. To do this, they have to pump up his cannon enough to reach the smoldering corn before it pops and click on Marshall to direct him to spray when the time is right. It’s a very silly premise that helps foster a very serious ability: being confronted with a problem, figuring out a potential solution, and executing it, all under time pressure.

6. Alpha Beats

What Is It? A series of podcasts.

What does it teach? The alphabet, letter by letter.

How does it work? After an extended musical introduction, each episode of Alpha Beats focuses on a specific letter, telling a story (augmented with sound effects) that uses that letter a lot. The “F” episode tells the story of a trip to the fun forest to see fast falcons that fly with feathers and fascinating flowers, for instance.

Click here to try Noggin free for 60 days.