The internet gives us access to seemingly endless resources, but it can be difficult to know what is and isn’t worthwhile as a parent. We’ve pulled together some of our favorite resources for education, the arts, and mindfulness for kids.
Kids are naturally curious. And as long as we don’t squash their love of learning, they will find endless opportunities to learn and see how things work.
I love when my kids hear or see something that interests them and then go deep into researching that thing. I’ve always encouraged it with trips to the library, science experiments, music lessons, or YouTube videos. One of the most fun examples was when my son was cast in a play that required physical comedy, and we had a Steve Martin movie marathon. I laughed… and he learned and absorbed for weeks.
Amazing Online Resources for Kids
Most of us don’t want our kids (and their time and attention) to BE the product. We want them to figure out how to make technology work for them.
During 2020, these lists were the most popular part of our email newsletter, so we thought we’d put them all in one place for you. We continue to update them. Some resources are no longer available or have changed hands.
But many new sites and apps have come along as homeschool and distance learning have grown. We separated them into three categories: educational, the arts, and mindfulness. But there’s some overlap, so be sure to check each group.
These resources can help you educate your children during quarantine, compliment any schooling style, and just help your kids have fun while learning.
Discovery Education – ready to use virtual learning strategies including a free puzzle maker and math help.
Scholastic Learn at Home Resources – when you think Scholastic, you may think “book fair,” but this website has free resources for at-home learning during school closures. Day-by-day projects are available from Pre-K to 9th grade.
National Geographic for Kids – Games, videos, and virtual magazines teach kids about science in an interactive setting.
Oak Meadow Curriculum Activity Packets – selections from Oak Meadow curriculum activities ranging from recipes to poems and songs to science projects and more.
Smithsonian Kids Interactive – Can’t visit a Smithsonian museum? Your child can explore art, science, history, and more through interactive activities and games.
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is offering animated and live action American history videos on YouTube.
The American Museum of Natural History in New York is sharing a range of online content, including its OLogy science website, with activities and games to help kids learn about the natural world; curriculum collections for teachers, parents and students (topics include dinosaurs and river ecology); and opportunities to visit virtually through the museum’s YouTube channel.
DuoLingo language learning app – bite size lessons & rewards make it easy and exciting for your child (or you) to learn dozens of new languages. It’s free if you don’t mind watching an ad for their paid program between lessons.
Virtual School Day: Nearly 200 free, live K-12 classes available all day long intended to help parents fill their children’s day with enriched learning. Some popular classes are “Intro to Spanish for Kids”, “Coolest Women in History”, “Java Programming Basics”, and “The Story of Your Favorite Fairy Tales”.
Virtual Summer Camps: Free half-day summer camps are a week long, with enrichment-based classes in subjects like foreign languages, chess, theater, coding, Minecraft, how to be a detective, photography and more.
Libby App – Every book lover’s dream. By connecting your library card, you can access thousands of ebooks, audiobooks, and videos through your mobile device. You can sync books across devices, create bookmarks, and change the playback speed or font size.
Hundreds of free book titles from Audible – kids can stream hundreds of titles in 6 languages for free through Audible with an Amazon Prime membership.
Art and music classes on Udemy – more than 100,000 online courses are available, from piano & guitar to drawing & photoshop.
The Kids Should See This – more than 4,500 kid-friendly videos to spark curious minds.
NASA Space Station activities – explore guides for kindergarten through 12th grade and encourage a love of STEM.
Brains On! – a website and science podcast design for children and hosted by a different kid each week. Brains On! by American Public Media shares interviews, music, timely topics, and classic principles… all with an air of fun and curiosity.
The arts are an essential part of a well-rounded education, and these resources for kids will inspire hours of creativity.
EduHam at Home – an extension of the Hamilton Education Program (EduHam), which has served more than 160,000 students across the country since 2016. Through EduHam, students study primary source documents from the Founding Era, learn how Lin-Manuel Miranda used such documents to create the musical Hamilton, and finally create their own original performance pieces based on the same material.
Nightly Metropolitan Opera streams – a night at the Met? Enjoy the opera from your own home. Free. How’s that for keeping kids busy and avoiding cabin fever?
Virtual museum tours – visit a dozen incredible museums across the globe from your couch.
Lunch Doodles by Mo Willems – daily free video art class starting at 2 p.m. ET.
Lincoln Center at Home – watch virtual performances and attend daily pop-up classrooms from The Lincoln Center.
Free online art classes – Artists Carla Sonheim, Lynn Whipple & Diane Culhane offer a series of adorable free online art classes.
No cost 3 month subscription to Fender Play – learn to play an instrument without leaving your home.
Mindfulness helps children focus, be calm, and make better decisions. Incorporate these resources into your day for a happier child and more relaxed parent.
Mindful Schools – a nonprofit that’s trained education professionals to prepare students for critical life skills, is providing free mindfulness lessons on certain weekdays
Guided Meditations for Kids – this library of meditation scripts will help your child (and you!) relax and focus.
Moovlee is a YouTube channel that offers yoga and meditation exercises for kids that are led by a cartoon monkey.
Big Dreams Little Footprints offers dozens of simple projects to encourage resourcefulness and sustainability with kids. See specifically their Teaching Sustainability page.
Cosmic Kids has fun mindfulness exercises and yoga for kids on its YouTube channel.
Adriene Mishler, an Austin-based yoga teacher with 7 million YouTube subscribers, shares free online yoga classes ranging from 10 minutes to an hour. From power flow to basic yoga and meditation, these classes are for all fitness levels and ages but may be more helpful for big kids.
DreamyKid has created a new free category to help with anxiety in kids, with meditations and affirmations for the family.
Take Learning Outside
Many of these resources popped up over the last few years when people were spending more time at home. But just because they’re online, it doesn’t mean your child has to sit inside all day.
Here are some fun ideas to take learning outside:
- Get the gist of the lesson and go outside to put it into practice
- Lay a big blanket on the grass and learn from a tablet or printed pages
- Break up a heavy homeschool or distance learning day with a nature scavenger hunt
- Watch some of the online theater resources and let the kids put on a play outside
We hope you enjoy these resources for keeping kids learning and entertained. If you know of something we missed, please tell us in the comments!