54 Totally Free Educational Resources to Keep Kids Busy During School Closures

Widespread school closures have thrown a wrench in the gears of education this year, but kids can still have fun learning thanks to a number of free online resources… even if it’s from their own homes.
Last updated Mar 24, 2020 | By Stephanie Colestock
Young girl using tablet

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It’s hard to believe that just a few weeks ago, we took for granted something as simple as dropping the kids off at school. With today’s widespread school closures, though, it looks like the kids in several states will be staying home through the end of the academic year.

Keeping your kids busy and on track with their studies is challenging, especially when you need to work remotely at the same time. Luckily, there are hundreds of incredible online resources that you and your family can use. Many sites have even opened their educational platforms to free public access during the coronavirus crisis.

Here are several of our favorite resources — all of which are totally free — that you can use to keep your kids busy and learning while they’re home.

All Subjects

If you’re looking for resources that span across different subjects, here are some educational sites where your children can learn while they play.

1. PBS Kids

Let your younger children explore the educational games and videos offered by PBS Kids. Designed for elementary ages, these games are safe and fun, and offered on a platform that’s easy to navigate.

Grade level:

Elementary school

2. Scholastic

You probably think of Scholastic as providing only books, but its free Learn at Home platform offers plenty of lessons and educational projects that combine reading with videos and activities.

Grade level: Pre-K through 9th grade

3. ABCYa

My son’s personal favorite, ABCYa gives kids a safe place to explore, play, and learn about a variety of subjects. Free memberships are available, or you can upgrade for an ad-free experience.

Grade level: Pre-K through 6th grade

4. TED-Ed

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, TED-Ed has launched Ted-ED@home to help both students and educators who are home-bound. Simply enter your email address and you’ll get lesson plans that cover a variety of age-appropriate topics sent to you each day.

Grade level: K-12 and college-age

5. Khan Academy

At Khan Academy, the goal is to offer free education to anyone, anywhere. During this time, it is also offering free daily schedules and resources for children to keep them engaged and learning.

Grade level: Pre-K through 12th grade

6. National Geographic Kids

Whether your kids want to play games, take quizzes, watch nature videos, or browse National Geographic magazine issues, you can do so online for free at National Geographic Kids.

Grade level: Elementary through post-secondary

7. Funbrain

Browse more than 100 educational games, read popular kids’ books, and watch cool kids’ videos on Funbrain. Areas of study include math, reading, literacy, and problem-solving.

Grade level: Preschool through 8th grade

8. BrainPOP

During these school closures, BrainPOP is offering free access to its platform, which includes games and lessons on arts/music, math, science, social studies, English, engineering/tech, health/SEL, and trending topics. You’ll need to request access, but BrainPOP is free for students and educators at this time.

Grade level: Kindergarten through 8th grade

9. Fuel the Brain

Students can play educational games, create custom worksheets, and access a library of printables for free at Fuel the Brain. Kids can even upload images and create their own mini-books.

Grade level: 1st through 8th grade

10. Arcademics

Kids won’t even know they’re learning while playing the many arcade-style games on Arcademics. Designed for elementary-age children, these games help teach and reinforce learning in subjects such as math, English, and geography, as well as helping to teach typing proficiency.

Grade level: 1st through 6th grade

11. Poptropica

Your kids will create their own character (sort of like an avatar) to embark on historical quests, read stories, and play games with Poptropica.

Grade level: Kindergarten through high school

12. Education.com

Sign up for a free account through Education.com to get access to daily lessons, grade-specific recourse bundles, and independent study packets on a variety of subjects.

Grade level: Pre-K through 5th grade

13. Maker Stations

Give the kids some hands-on activities to keep them busy and learning with Maker Stations. This set of 15 PDF activities helps kids work through various art, STEM, and music lessons over a three-week period.

Grade level: Elementary school

14. Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids

At almanac.com, kids can learn about the weather, moon phases, animals, time travel, or even just browse cute jokes. There are also daily historical highlights and a birthday finder for those who need a break from strict lessons.

Grade level: Fun for all ages

15. Starfall

At Starfall, kids in lower elementary school can find a variety of resources for reading, language arts, and math. You can sign up for a free membership or opt for the paid, expanded version.

Grade level: Kindergarten through 3rd grade

16. CK-12

With CK-12, older kids (middle school and beyond) can access free math and science lessons that will be continuously updated throughout school closures. Topics vary from basic grade-level math to physics and chemistry.

Grade level: 5th grade and up

17. Sheppard Software

As an educational website offering hundreds of activities and games for all levels and abilities, Sheppard Software aims to provide free learning to anyone interested. Subjects include geography, math, animals, science, language arts, and health.

Grade level: Preschool to adults

18. Supercharged School

Although the Supercharged platform’s focus seems to be primarily on science, it also offers resources on reading, math, writing, art, music, and health. Registration is free and new content is added regularly.

Grade level: 1st through 12th grade

19. Marco Learning

Is your teenager preparing for AP exams or wanting to get ahead in some subjects? Consider Marco Learning. The platform offers paid AP reviews as well as free practice tests and study guides.

Grade level: High school

Math Only

If your kid needs help with their at-home math assignments or simply wants to stay sharp in arithmetic, many resources are available.

20. Prodigy

Whether your student is new to math or delving into deeper topics as they grow, the lessons and games offered through the Prodigy platform can help make learning fun. The platform is free for students and parents at home, and can also be used by educators.

Grade level: 1st through 8th grade

21. CoolMath4Kids

Don’t let those math skills slip while school is out! At CoolMath4Kids, your children can choose from quizzes, games, brainteasers, and lessons. Manipulatives are also available on this platform for little learners.

Grade level:
Pre-K through 8th grade

22. Cool Math

From pre-algebra to precalculus, your kids can brush up on their math skills with fun and free Cool Math games. There are even classic games, such as chess, checkers, and sudoku, to choose from on this site, which is aimed toward older kids and is the sister site to CoolMath4Kids.

Grade level: “Math for ages 13-100”

23. Math Playground

Get access to tons of free math games and activities through Math Playground. Resources include math games, story math, math videos, and logic games, among others. You don’t even need to register.

Grade level: 1st through 6th grade

STEM

Here are some great, free resources for helping your child in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

24. Biology Simulations

Your child can better understand school concepts or explore biology topics that pique their interest with Biology Simulations. Although the site was designed with 9th-grade biology students in mind, it would be helpful for anyone wanting a better understanding of these concepts.

Grade level: 9th grade and up

25. ChemMatters Online

Offered by the American Chemical Society, ChemMatters seeks to “demystify everyday chemistry.” Resources are available on a variety of topics for all ages.

Grade level: Elementary through graduate school

26. Mystery Science

While schools are closed, Mystery Science has offered to make its most popular science lessons available to anyone interested, whether students, parents, or educators. You don’t need to sign up through the website to access these materials, though you can create a free account to get even more resources.

Grade level: Kindergarten through 5th grade

27. Codecademy

If your child is interested in learning to code, consider applying for access to Codecademy. It is currently offering 10,000 free scholarships to high school and college students through the end of the year, which includes thousands of hours of lessons and classes.

Grade level: high school and college

28. Twilio

Older kids can learn and practice their coding skills with Twilio’s latest game, TwilioQuest3. It’s not really designed for beginners, but is a good way to practice the skills your child may already have.

Grade level: No intended age, but probably better suited for high schoolers and above

29. MIT Scratch

Let your child create their own interactive stories, animations, and games through MIT Scratch, a programming language platform and online community. Although this is designed for older kids, MIT also offers Scratch Jr. for children ages 5 to 7.

Grade level: 2nd grade through high school

Reading and grammar

Keep your bookworm motivated or cultivate an appreciation for the written word with these reading and grammar resources.

30. Classroom Cereal

Middle school students can enjoy free grammar practice in the form of fun, short stories through Classroom Cereal. Stories are published monthly, have five errors per story, and are printable.

Grade level: Middle school

31. Audible

Already well-known as a great reading platform, Audible has taken it up a notch in response to the coronavirus crisis. The app has stated that for as long as schools are closed, it will open its library up to hundreds of free works — including classics — that can be accessed by children and adults alike.

Grade level: All ages

32. Squiggle Park

Help build your child’s reading skills and comprehension with Squiggle Park. This platform is free but does require you to sign up first. Squiggle Park's sister site, Dreamscape, also offers reading comprehension activities for kids in grades 2-8.

Grade level: Pre-K to 2nd grade

33. Brightly

Brightly offers activities, reading exercises, and even book recommendations for kids of all ages.

Grade level: Ages 0 through 13-plus

34. Epic!

Although epic! is usually only free for teachers and librarians, the platform has opened its library of more than 40,000 books to students everywhere amid the recent school closures. You will need an invite from your child’s teacher to get started.

Grade level: Pre-K to 6th grade

35. CommonLit

Browse the large, free collection of literary passages (including nonfiction works) at CommonLit, with something available in every genre.

Grade level: 3rd through 12th grade

36. Seussville

With activities, recipes, crafts, and printables, Seussville is a ton of fun for the whole family. Your kids can stay busy with the many free activities available, especially if they have a love for Dr. Seuss.

Grade level: All ages

History

One day, the COVID-19 pandemic will be written about in history and science books. Let your kids brush up on their own history lessons from home in the meantime with these free resources.

37. BBC History

Kids can explore a number of historical lessons through the BBC History for Kids platform, which offers educational activities and challenges on everything from Ancient Egyptians to modern wars.

Grade level: All ages

38. Big History Project

The Big History Project aims to help students make exciting connections between the past and present through free, online social studies courses.

Grade level: All ages

Go Exploring

You may not be able to leave home right now, but that doesn’t mean your kids can’t still see and explore the world.

39. 360 Cities

Many of us had to skip spring break and social distancing may even impact summer travel plans. Luckily, your kids can still go everywhere from the Statue of Liberty to the Great Pyramids of Giza with 360 Cities, an interactive library that allows you to travel the world in 360 degrees.

Grade level: All ages

40. Project Explorer

If your kids are like mine, they don’t just want to see the same old pictures of foreign cities and world wonders… they want to experience them. With Project Explorer, your kids can see the world through the eyes of unique storytellers.

Grade level: Elementary through adult

41. San Diego Zoo

Go on a virtual field trip with your kids to the San Diego Zoo. Its website offers educational videos on a number of animals, as well as exhibit cameras, activities, and games.

Grade level: All ages

42. Farm Food 360

Let your kids take an immersive virtual tour of a Canadian dairy farm with 360-degree videos. They can see dairy cow farms, egg farms, apple orchards, and more with Farm Food 360.

Grade level: All ages

43. Seattle Aquarium

The Seattle Aquarium has a 30-minute virtual field trip on Youtube, showing kids everything they might want to see at the facility. If you visit the website, you can also see a number of videos featuring specific animals.

Grade level: All ages

44. Yellowstone

Virtually explore many of the main attractions throughout Yellowstone National Park with video tours, including the Fountain Paint Pot and Mammoth Springs.

Grade level: All ages

45. Ellis Island

Kids can learn all about immigration and Ellis Island through a guided and educational virtual tour.

Grade level: All ages

46. Nature Works Everywhere

Visit parks, watch the journey of water to your sink, explore the depths of coral reefs, and even hear the symphony of the rainforest through Nature Works Everywhere virtual field trips.

Grade level: All ages

47. Boston Children’s Museum

Check out all three floors of the Boston Children’s Museum — from the entrance to the furthest attraction — with online virtual tours.

Grade level: All ages

48. Cincinnati Zoo

Every day at 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, the Cincinnati Zoo hosts a Facebook live where it will highlight certain animals and share an activity with children watching from home. If you miss the live stream, no worries… all videos are also posted to its YouTube page.

Grade level:
All ages

Art and Music

Help your child feed their creative side with a variety of creative art resources.

49. Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems

I live in DC, so I have already come to love the fact that children’s author Mo Willems is the current artist-in-residence at the Kennedy Center. With widespread closures, though, he has been forced to communicate with the kids in a different way: through live-streamed art lessons at lunchtime. These fun videos — called Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems — are then added to YouTube, so your kids can work their way through them at any time.

Grade level: All ages

50. NGAkids

Offered by the National Gallery of Art, NGAkids Art Zone gives kids a place to browse art techniques, practice creating their own masterpieces, and learn about art history.

Grade level: All ages

51. The Louvre

Visit the Egyptian Antiquities, Remains of the Louvre’s Moat, and Galerie d’Apollon with a virtual tour of the Louvre.

Grade level:
All ages

52. Visit the MET

Check out the MET’s six award-winning, 360-degree videos, allowing you to tour the museum’s art and architecture even if you can’t physically visit.

Grade level:
All ages

Foreign language

Whether your child is already learning another language in school or simply interested, practicing at home is a good way to promote fluency.

53. Conjuguemos

Conjuguemos is a great option for home-bound kiddos. It offers games, activities, and printables to help students practice nine different languages (beyond English).

Grade level: Elementary and up

54. Duolingo

Touted as “free forever,” Duolingo is a fun and addictive way to learn another language through short lessons and games.

Grade level: Elementary and up

This is an unprecedented time for all of us, but our children in particular. Staying on top of learning from home may seem difficult. Parents may also find it difficult to teach their kids if they aren’t familiar with the coursework or are busy with work duties.

However, by incorporating fun and educational online resources, your children can expand their minds without even realizing it. And the best part about all of these platforms listed above is that they’re all free.