If you’re like us, you might be scrambling to find innovative ways to keep your kids occupied and engaged at home—there are only so many times you can do the same Eiffel Tower puzzle, right? Fortunately, many websites and apps are available to bring academics, exercise, fun and crafts into your home for kids of any age. So, if you need some help figuring out what to do with your kids all day, here is our list of some of the best online offerings, most of which are free.
For 5-year-olds and Up
The publishing and education company has put together a 20-day Learn at Home guide of activities. There are offerings for pre-K through ninth grade, and the projects include a mix of books to read, videos to watch and crafts to do. Choose your child’s grade level and then read through the list of daily activities in reading, math, science and social studies.
2. Khan Learning
This nonprofit academic resource offers daily learning schedules for kids ages 4 to 18. Students practice at their own pace in a wide range of subjects from math and grammar to SAT prep. After you register your child, they can customize the subjects they want to study and the program helps you figure out the level of learning that is right for your kids. Honestly, this site will be an asset for kids even after school is back in session—free additional support in any subject means we don’t have to pretend to know how to do a geometry proof anymore.
3. ABC Mouse
Another online academic site, ABC Mouse is geared toward children from 2 to 8 years old and has digital games to promote early reading, math and science. We love that the site uses dynamic cartoon graphics to make learning seem more like a game than a classroom experience. The site is currently offering a 30-day free trial.
4. Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems
Fans of Mo Willems’s books (if you haven’t dove into the fun that is the Pigeon series or Knuffle Bunny’s adventures, you should) can actually join Willems to draw and write together. How cool is that? Emerging young artists are invited to share their creations on social media with the hashtag #MoLunchDoodles. New episodes air each weekday at 1 p.m. ET and continue to be online to stream afterward. That sounds like doodles of fun (sorry, had to).
5. The Body Coach
Don’t worry about kids missing their daily gym class, because Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, has you covered. The 33-year-old fitness coach will be hosting live P.E. classes for kids on his YouTube channel every day at 9 a.m. He also has fitness videos for kids in his archives if you’re aching to break even more of a sweat. The classes are 30 minutes long, and parents can get their heart rate up alongside their children. In addition to modeling easy-to-follow movements, Wicks does a great job of teaching the importance of staying healthy and keeping active. It’s a fantastic way for kids (and adults) to start the day before sitting down to get some schoolwork done.
6. Five Dollar Dinners Cooking Class
Keep kids occupied and get the cooking done for the whole fam with this free Facebook Live cooking class, which streams daily at 1 p.m. ET. Chef Erin and her sons give viewers a menu for the week and printable shopping lists. This week’s recipes include homemade mac and cheese, quesadillas, and potato chip–crusted chicken tenders. The instructions are simple to follow, and each episode is around 30 minutes. Chef Erin also has meal plans for pantry staples and freezer-friendly dishes available on her website, which seem of great use at the moment!
7. Start with a Book
Although this site is geared toward ye olde summer slump, it’s actually ideal for this time off from regular school. The free site allows readers to pick a book on a topic that interests them—think space or dinosaurs—and then suggests hands-on activities, writing prompts and craft projects relating to the topic. For example, if your child is interested in music, they can click on the icon and see a list of books geared toward their age-group. After reading the book, your kid can then make their own instrument, like a duct-tape drum or a cereal-box guitar. Just…be prepared for the Led Zeppelin cover band you just created.
8. Storyline Online
If the kids are too young to read themselves but you could desperately use a few minutes for yourself, what can you do? Oprah to the rescue! This free service streams videos of celebrities, including Viola Davis, Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones, reading stories 24 hours a day. The site also includes supplemental educational curriculum developed by real teachers. Listening to Chris Pine read and act out the voices in Clark the Shark is a treat for young readers, and let’s be honest, we don’t mind it either.
9. Cosmic Kids Yoga
With all the uncertainty in the real world right now, it’s an ideal time to introduce kids to yoga and meditation. Cosmic Kids Yoga has yoga and mindfulness classes geared toward kids ages 3 and up. The classes range from ten minutes to half an hour, and each combines a storytelling component with yoga flow. It’s active screen time that combines movement with imagination and adventure. Also check out the Zen Den, geared to teaching kids ages 5 and up how to better understand and self-regulate their emotions.
For 10-year-olds and up
From evolution to cybersecurity, young scientists can busy themselves in a multimedia experience that includes games, videos (including interviews with real scientists) and at-home lab experiments that keep STEM students occupied for hours. We tested the Polar Lab, where players search for evidence to learn about earth’s climate in the past, present and future. Users are encouraged to collect data, answer questions and earn stickers as they move through the action-packed story. Not bad for a science class.
11. Google Arts and Culture
That field trip to the museum was postponed. Bummer. But a virtual trip through Google Arts and Culture isn’t the worst fallback plan. Students can learn about everything from dinosaurs to Dalí and even the art of making churros. Do you have the next Ken Jennings living with you? They’ll appreciate all the little morsels of knowledge they’ll take with them when they’re on Jeopardy!
12. Coding with Kids
Coding with Kids offers classes for children ages 5 to 15. Experienced coders can advance their skills, and kids with no previous knowledge can learn computer science basics. Got a gamer at home? How cool would it be to learn how to design and program their own video game? The first class is free, but there is a tuition fee for full enrollment.
Want your kids to work on their language skills? Duolingo is a free language education site that can supplement what your child is already learning in school or teach them something new. Kids choose a story and then listen to the voices speaking the language along with the words appearing on the screen. They answer questions to see if they are comprehending what they are hearing. As they progress, they can unlock the next story.
14. The Louvre
Always wanted to go to France and visit the Louvre? Travel restrictions can’t stop you from taking a virtual tour online and exploring the many exhibits. Type “Mona Lisa” into the search engine and the site will guide you to see the famous work, as well as other pieces in the museum with impressive “smiles” that might not be as well known. Although it’s not a class, it’s still a cool way to spend an hour or more with your kids.
15. National Geographic Kids
Are your kids asking questions about the coronavirus that you don’t know how to answer? This free site explains the virus to kids in an easy-to-understand way. It also has articles, videos and games on animals, science, history and geography.