Turn unexpected time at home into an opportunity to learn, think, and grow with our curated guide of free educational resources for e-learning.
ABCmouse is an "early learning academy" with full online curriculums in reading, math, science, and art for kids ages 2-8. Try it free for 30 days, after which it costs $9.95 a month.
ABCmouse has hundreds of entertaining animated activities, plus games, books, songs, puzzles, art projects, and more than 2,000 printable activities. Little ones will love the interactive zoo, farm, and classroom aquarium.
E-learning for kids is a non-profit, offering best-in-class curriculum-based learning in math, science, environmental skills, computer skills, health, language, and life skills. It features over 800 e-lessons, plus games, books, puzzles, and songs that provide hours and hours of edutainment for children ages 5-12. This website is super user-friendly for wee ones who are able to read. From the homepage, click the "Kids - Start Here," choose the subject, and select their grade, K-6. They can even make their own avatar!
Open Culture has a list of 200 open-source educational resources for all ages. The cultural and educational media aggregate features free ebooks, audiobooks, foreign language sites, video lessons/tutorials, mobile apps, test prep materials, and web resources for academic subjects such as geography, history, and politics. With lots of e-commerce ads, the website isn’t very kid-friendly, but you can go through it with them and find interesting things to check out together. May we suggest Schoolhouse Rock’s I’m Just a Bill?
For all things mammal, bird, prehistoric, reptile, amphibian, invertebrate, or fish, head over to National Geographic Kids. The animal facts and pictures search box lets kids type in an animal to see and learn all about it. Plus there's games, quizzes, and animal videos. Subscribe to National Geographic Family for science experiments and other resources.
If you're struggling with structure, Scholastic's got you covered with daily learning exercises for preschoolers to freshman. Each day has four separate learning experiences that kids can navigate on their own. Just select the grade, then start on Day 1. For example, the first day for Pre-K/K is all about rabbits, with a story to watch, a book to read, an educational video from the Watch & Learn library, and an activity to do.
The Khan Academy's detailed daily schedules for kids ages 4-18 also help with structure. This platform has a plethora of free educational resources for kids and parents, including interactive exercises, videos, and articles that cover a variety of topics. Courses include math, science and engineering, computing, arts and humanities, economics and finance, test prep, reading, and more. They even have classes for adult learners, like personal finance and entrepreneurship.
It's fairly easy to use without running the risk of little fingers accidentally clicking ads. Just set up an account to create a login for you kid/s and see their progress from the Parent Dashboard. They also have a mobile companion app for children ages 2-7 called Khan Academy Kids.
Kids can explore the world of food and cooking with kid-friendly recipes and food-centric activities from America's Test Kitchen. They also have a cooking podcast for children, called Mystery Recipe. Each episode is themed around a certain ingredient and features segments like "Ask a Grownup". Adults probably want to supervise with this site, because you know, knives.
Tinkergarten features activities for kids from 6 months to 8 years old, based on the concept of learning through play. Healthy, fun, engaging experiences help kids develop core life skills like collaboration, creativity, empathy, persistence, and problem-solving. The best part? The expertly designed classes and activities take place in the great outdoors. Sign up for Tinkergarten's newsletter to receive daily activities and tips.
A subscription to BrainPOP online learning tool usually costs around $100 a year, but at the time of this writing they're providing free access to their products for 30 days. BrainPOP is one of the oldest e-learning sites around, developed back in 1999. Both the original BrainPOP platform (grades 4-8) and BrainPOP Jr. (K-3) have an emphasis on STEM and critical thinking. Subject matter experts advise on everything from arts and technology to physics. The site has over a thousand funny and educational animated videos, plus other tools, quizzes, games, experiments, and educational activities.
There is some free content available on topics such as computer programming, personal hygiene, science, social studies, and English. Check with your kid's school to see if they have a subscription. They also have a version for English Language Learner (ELL) as well as content in Spanish and French that help non-native English speakers of all age groups learn reading, writing, listening, grammar, and vocabulary.
We remember Highlights' hidden pictures game from the pediatrician's waiting room. Now the classic kids' magazine has gone digital with activities, jokes, games, and even podcasts. Highlight Kid's content is the least educational of all of the resources on this list, but it is engaging and edifying, even if it's not raising anyone's IQ.