30+ (Mostly FREE) Online Learning Resources, Apps, and Games for Kids
Online learning has certainly taken on a new level of importance for families and educators as we all begin to navigate the unchartered territory of the 2020-2021 school year. Whether your children have returned to the classroom in-person, in a hybrid model, for full online learning, or you're homeschooling, there are countless websites and apps that can supplement kids' existing curriculum through interactive games and other resources.
From virtual museum tours and National Geographic deep dives to online coding classes and reading apps, we've rounded up some of our favorite—and mostly completely FREE— online learning resources for kids this year. We've included options for preschoolers, elementary-age kids, middle school, and even high schoolers.
PBS Learning Media features activities and video resources to help students. Photo courtesy of PBS Media
Virtual Learning for Kids of All Ages
These interactive lesson plans are curricular-aligned to meet standards from preschool all the way through high school. FREE
Google Arts and Culture allows children to access world-renowned museums from home. You can tour the collections of more than 1,200 museums online through its catalog. Start with its top 10 virtual museum tour list, or just browse through the online catalog for top children's museums, or favorite periods or artist. Arts history hour, anyone? FREE
3. Khan Academy
Khan Academy is always free and provides high-quality content for kids (and adults) of all ages. Make sure to check out Khan Kids for the littlest of learners. FREE
Since 2013, Code.org has been providing free online coding classes for students of all ages. Learn how to think like a programmer while completing online modules. FREE
If your kids want to create newsletters, newspapers, brochures, or any other printable, then check out the Printing Press fro ReadWriteThink. They provide engaging lesson plans for kids in K-12 to bring the printed word to life. FREE
Sight words, math problems, and more are available for preschoolers and elementary school kids at Starfall.com.
Preschool Online and Remote Learning
This bright and colorful website will appeal to preschoolers and those in the early elementary years, from pre-K through third grade. The activities are easy to find and arranged by discipline, season, or curricular topic. (Some FREE options, also membership options for more content.)
Everyone’s favorite Cat is the start of this STEM-based website that challenges kids to be engineers and problem-solvers. FREE
The Cosmic Kids YouTube channel will get your kids moving for a little post- or pre-study yoga break. Kids follow the poses that also help to tell a story in these short (roughly 10 to 15 minute) yoga sessions. (It also streams on Prime.) FREE
This popular kids’ magazine provides interactive through its wide variety of websites and apps. Play endless rounds of hidden picture puzzles, learn about shapes, listen to stories, and more. FREE
Listen to any free episode of Wow in the World and print out a Wow Sheet to inspire more scientific thinking. Photo courtesy of Tinkercast
Elementary School Online Learning Options
11. Wow in the World
Wow in the World is a podcast for curious kids and their grown-ups brought to you by the folks at Tinkercast. These 20-30 minute episodes investigate factual real-world stories. FREE
12. Mystery Science
Mystery Science has opened up its most popular science lessons for FREE and easy for remote learning during the coronavirus crisis. Topics range from weather to who invented pizza. Head to your child's grade level for age-appropriate learning. FREE (as of publication)
Kids can watch videos and learn how to make something all on their own with DIY.org. Older kids will love creating their own videos to upload and share on the platform. A free 14-day trial is available.
14. Cool Math Games
This site offers tons of games that incorporate math into the strategy, from virtual Chess to more video-game like math games. Search by skill or take a break with some math trivia. FREE
Explore the world through games and videos on National Geographic Kids. Take a quiz about Mars or explore current topics like Kids vs. Plastic. FREE
Rivet is a free reading app that has over 3500 leveled books for kids. FREE
17. Dance Mat Typing
There is nothing all that exciting about learning how to type, but Dance Mat Typing somehow manages to make this tedious task fun! Four levels of play will have you typing like a pro in no time. FREE
Kids use their programming knowledge to code with Minecraft.
Middle School Online Education
BrainPop began as a collection of short cartoons that taught students about difficult topics. Over the years, it added a number of interactive features, such as games and quizzes. Teachers can request free access to gain to BrainPop’s entire catalog of educational videos, and there is some FREE access to all during the coronavirus outbreak.
Minecraft Education is so much more than "just a game." This learning platform promotes creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving.
Program your own interactive stories with Scratch. This free learning tool develops important skills like problem-solving, creative thinking, and collaboration. FREE
21. Prodigy Math
Sign up for a free account and start playing these standards-based math activities. FREE
Funbrain provides hundreds of free games, videos, and books that help kids develop their literacy, math, and problem-solving skills. FREE
Encourage creative writing with the NaNoWriMo 30-day writing challenge. Kids create a profile and will receive a variety of writing challenges as they work toward completing a novel! FREE
NOVA extends its science reporting to online and in classrooms, producing an extensive list of resources and original content. Photo courtesy of PBS
High School Online Education Resources
Ken Burns has been making historical documentaries for nearly half a century. These thoughtfully developed lesson plans truly bring history to life. FREE
This is the modern-day version of the good ol' graphing calculator. The free app will let you graph all the parabolas you want! FREE
27. TED Talks
29. How Stuff Works
This website explains how just about any and everything works. With topics that range from science to entertainment and lifestyle, How Stuff Works takes challenging concepts and breaks them down into language that is easy to understand. FREE
Nova is the nation’s top watched science series, so it should come as no surprise that its website is filled with original award-winning content from journalists, scientists, and engineers. FREE