A few weeks ago I would have never imagined we would be facing a situation like we currently are with the COVID-19 outbreak in the US. As our schools begin closing we are faced with an unusual dilemma – not only keeping our kids entertained for an unspecified amount of time, but also worrying about keeping them on track and ready to hit the ground running when school is back in session.
Thankfully, there are many websites and online programs that offer amazing educational content. Many of these sites are free all the time, and some are offering free access during this specific time.
As an educator, if you would like to go a step further, companies like Edulab offer home science kits that could enable your students to excel in any science subject. Encouraging them to make use of them, or even purchasing these kits for them, could prove to be beneficial in helping children stay on top of their learning.
I’ve gathered a list of the highest quality sites, offering engaging lessons for kids in grades K-12, and even some sites that cater to toddlers and preschoolers!
I hope you’ll be able to bookmark this list, pin this, share it – and come back often to find new engaging and exciting educational programs to use at home over the next few weeks to make the best of a sometimes scary and uncertain time.
I’ve broken this list up into categories based on subjects offered. All of these programs are currently free, and at the bottom I’ve included great paid programs that are offering extended free trials for parents at the moment.
BrainPop – Brainpop is a subscription based learning service that is offering FREE access to all families who’s schools have closed during the COVID-19 outbreak. Requesting free access is simple and your child will have access to lessons in science, social studies, math, ELA, health, technology, art, music and more!
BrainPop Jr. – Just like Brainpop, BrainPop Jr. caters to children in grades K-3 and is offering free access to families affected by school closures.
Purple Mash – 2Simple offers Purple Mash, an award winning website for K-5 students that offers thousands of engaging and fun cross-curricular resources. From writing workshops to coding projects, math and English games – even art & music curriculum. Students can also access 100’s of books in their ever growing library. Although this is normally a subscription service 2Simple is offering completely free access to Purple Mash for families who are experiencing school closures.
Breakout Edu – Breakout Edu is offering a collection of educational games from their library for absolutely free! These games can be played online and cover a range of topics for students in grades K-12. Even my older kids really enjoy the games here!
CircleTime – Designed for parents with children ages 0-6 these interactive videos guide you through fun activities with your little ones. A great way to keep toddlers and preschoolers busy and having fun when you’re stuck at home!
CK-12 – This website offers a huge selection of material across every subject and grade level. Using the site is completely free and you can personalize a learning journey to each child. Each lesson includes reading passages, videos, study guides and self graded review questions for a comprehensive learning experience.
HippoCampus.org – Thousands of free videos across 13 subject areas for students in middle school through college.
izzit.org – Offering a huge selection of videos across a number of subjects, including finance and current events. Teacher guides, lessons and quizzes are also available.
PBS Learning Media – A large resource for videos, interactive games, lesson plans and more for all grade levels across a broad range of subjects.
Khan Academy – Many of us are already familiar with Khan Academy as they have been offering free educational content to people of all ages for years. During these recent school closures Khan Academy has also provided additional information and resources for parents who want to help their children stay on track while school is out.
Learning Resources Learning at Home – Learning Resources has made a collection of education activities available on their website. Aimed at grades pre-k through 1st these activities help engage kids over a variety of subjects!
Educational Insights – Educational Insights is offering a host of activities for toddlers, preschoolers and elementary aged-children. From reading and math to crafts and bran benders, there’s plenty here to keep the kids entertained with hands-on fun!
Science & Technology
Encounter Edu Live Lessons – Bring learning to life with live video sessions, resources and virtual reality content that has kids interacting directly with scientists and explorers to create a fun and engaging learning experience. Lessons cover a wide range of topics and the website offers a host of STEAM activities that can be done at home.
iDEA – This UK based program offers mini courses in a number of technology related subjects. The offerings here expand into less traditional things like social media, blockchain and e-safety, virtual reality and more, so this may be a great resource for middle – high school kids who want to expand on personal interests as well.
Minecraft Education Edition – Learning through gameplay, kids use the Minecraft world to learn lessons across a variety of subjects while having fun and unleashing their creativity!
Mystery Science – Offering a selection of fun and interactive science lessons for grades K-5 for free! These lessons are short and fun, engaging whole families at home!
Typing Club – Free typing instruction for all ages.
Vroom.com – Free tips for infusing daily activities with science fun for children ages 0-5.
Zearn – Top rated K-5 math curriculum to inspire a love and understanding of math.
McHarper Manor Online Art Workshops & Craft Classes – Online art & craft classes will be offered daily Monday – Friday at 1pm over Facebook Live. The website offers supply lists for planned projects so that parents can prepare head of time. The course schedule has everything from watercolor and canvas painting to peg dolls and model magic, so there’s something here for kids of all ages!
Conjuguemos – Offers lessons, vocabulary and games covering a number of different languages – Spanish, French, German, Latin, Portuguese, Korean and Italian. Select “use without an account” on the main page to access free content.
Raz-Kids – This subscription based reading program offers a 14 day free trial to families with students in grades K-5. Raz-Kids follows common-core ELA standards, so it’s a great way to help kids reach their reading potential. Each book ends with a short quiz to assess a child’s fluency. Future books are adjusted to match your child’s reading level so that the program is tailored to each individual learner.
DreamBox – This K-8 adaptive online math program is currently offering a free 90 day trial for parents. My own kids love Dreambox because it utilizes games to make their math curriculum more fun and engaging. The hands on learning helps students to gain a deeper understanding of the work and is perfect to complement classroom instruction or to fill in gaps during school closures.
Do you know of another great, free educational program? Leave a comment to keep the list growing!