For everyone at home with kids right now, here is a big list of free online learning resources for kids at home. When screen time comes up in conversation or on blogs, it is often with dread and guilt. It is presented as something to be avoided, regimented, and turned to as a last resort.
However, these days, when people are confined to their homes, when children can’t run in the park or play with their friends, when many parents are working from home with their children in the house, when the only connection children have with their school and classmates is through screens, screen time takes on a new and different role in our children’s lives.
I’m not advocating kids spend all day in front of a screen, but not all screen time is inherently bad. We can use screen time, or rather technology, in many positive ways.
We may turn to screen time to teach new skills, expand our children’s world view, explore new places, introduce new concepts, find ideas for activities we can try at home, and even read new books while our libraries and bookstores are closed.
Here’s to all the parents doing double-duty trying to work and take care of their children at the same time, to all the parents trying to help keep multiple children of different ages engaged and entertained, and to all the parents of only-children who don’t have a sibling to play with these days. I hope this list of learning resources and websites for kids will help make these days more interesting, more fun, and maybe a little educational!
Some focus on math and reading skills. Others take us on tours of new and interesting places across the world. Others tell us new stories and introduce us to fun new characters.
Practice Literacy, Math, and Science
The popular children’s magazine has some fun online activities and videos for young children.
Lots of games for different grade levels, including math, reading comprehension, phonics, and sight words. We did find out there is a limit per month unless you pay for a membership. They also have many free printables and lessons.
IXL offers math activities for children kindergarten through sixth grade. In addition to basic computational skills, children can learn about graphs, venn diagrams, and more.
Remote Learning Help from the Kahn Academy
The Kahn Academy has put together tips, ideas and resources for parents at home with children during the pandemic.
Scholastic Learn at Home
Scholastic has created multi-faceted lessons for kids of all different grade levels. The mini units include themed story books, drawing, writing, and comprehension activities, as well as links to additional resources. These are a great go-to source when you want something educational without having to search and plan.
If you love Ted Talks, your children might enjoy some of these interesting TedEd videos on a wide range of topics. Dive into scientific, historic, and psychological concepts. There is something here for kids with all types of interests.
NASA STEM Engagement
NASA has at-home activities, coloring pages, and stories to introduce children to outer space as well as other scientific concepts.
STEM from the Start
Online STEM curriculum for children preschool through second grade.
Learn New Skills
They’ll have to learn it sometime. Why not take some of this time to let your kids learn to type. This typing program teaches kids step-by-step advancing them through typing letter by letter. My 5- and 6-year-old are enjoying this!
Coding Games with Blockly
Introduce coding with fun online games. Full Disclosure: We have not tried this yet, but it looks promising.
Coding with Scratch
This free coding program was created for kids by a group at MIT. Children can use this free program to code anything they can imagine!
Visit a New Place
Many museums, historic sites, and natural landmarks are accessible through virtual tours. It may not be as good as the real thing, but it can be a little virtual escape for you and your family. Some are quite stunning.
Take a Dive with National Marine Sanctuaries
Cosmic Kids Yoga
This channel offers fun themed Yoga videos for kids, making yoga very accessible for young children by incorporating stories and characters. She also offers guided meditations for children (which are great for the whole family)!
Get active indoors with Go Noodle’s wide range of videos.
The Ballet Coach
She offers at-home video classes for kids (and adults too!).
This channel has a few kids exercise videos.
Relax for Storytime
All of these YouTube channels offer read-aloud videos of children’s books. This is a great way to get access to new books while we can’t go to libraries and bookstores. I also use these sometimes to view a book before buying it for my kids.
Of course, nothing is better than reading a book aloud with your child on your lap or curled up next to you, but I do find these videos useful from time to time. Also, for young children, screen time can be overstimulating, but read-aloud videos are inherently calmer, slower and with fewer moving parts than cartoons and other shows.
Lastly, if you and your children have favorite authors and illustrators, I highly recommend checking out their website, Instagram, and/or Facebook pages these days. Many authors and illustrators are reading aloud and offering free resources for children at home. Local libraries are also doing read-alouds online these days.
We’ve watched Chris VanDusen read aloud on Instagram, doodled with Mo Willems on the Kennedy Center website, and hung out with James Dean on Instagram Live for the Pete the Cat Club.