Parenting

32 totally free educational resources for kids stuck at home

You don't need to spend a lot in order to learn a lot.

Little boy having fun on a laptop computer. Credit: Getty Images / Rouzes

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With the coronavirus pandemic keeping everyone indoors, you're facing weeks—potentially months—of spending time at home with your kids. Whether your school is providing "distance learning" resources or you're venturing into homeschooling unassisted, you're still going to have quite a few hours that need to be filled with activities. Thankfully, there are loads of resources available for kids and their parents, and many of them are absolutely free.

I'm still adjusting to having my two kids—ages 7 and 5—home all day while I work, but we've managed to find some pretty incredible online resources to keep everyone occupied. From printable worksheets to virtual museum tours, here are 32 of the free resources that we've discovered, used—and loved—over the last few days.

1. Lakeshore

If you're in need of some daily structure with an academic bent, Lakeshore has a huge selection of free, printable resources for kids of all ages. Lakeshore is one of my go-to stores for educational games and toys, and their printables will not disappoint—we've enjoyed a leaf etching activity and a money match-up game.

Get free educational materials at Lakeshore

2. Scholastic Learn at Home

Scholastic's new Learn at Home website offers free daily courses for kids. Each daily lesson includes age-appropriate writing, reading, and enrichment activities, and they're even offering virtual field trips. My son enjoyed this week's focus on spiders, and even I learned some new facts about arachnids from the short educational video.

Access the lessons at Scholastic

3. Dictionary.com Learning at Home Center

Another option is Dictionary.com's recently launched Learning at Home Center that provides English language lessons for students in grades pre-K to 12. All of the material has been created or approved by teachers, and includes spelling, grammar and word challenges, as well as fun family activities and writing prompts.

Visit the Learning at Home Center at Dictionary.com

4. Khan Academy

Khan Academy offers an abundance of free educational resources for kids and parents. If you're struggling with how to structure everybody's days, you'll love the detailed daily schedules for kids ages 4 to 18. Khan Academy's platform includes loads of interactive exercises, videos and articles that cover a range of subjects. There's also a free companion app, Khan Academy Kids, for children ages 2 to 7.

Get started at KhanAcademy.org

5. PJ Library

If you're Jewish—or just curious about Judaism—PJ Library hosts a daily Jewish-themed story time every morning at 10 am EST. Kids can watch videos of authors reading their books, and learn about important concepts like mitzvahs (good deeds). The PJ Library Facebook page also offers loads of activity suggestions for projects to do with kids.

PJ Library on Facebook

6. Lunch Doodles with Mo

Can you think of any illustrator who is more fun than Mo Willems? Whether Knuffle Bunny is your favorite, or Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, your child can learn to draw with Mo Willems himself, thanks to Lunch Doodles with Mo. Each short episode features Willems in his studio, teaching kids how to draw characters, and talking about his personal artistic process. A new episode gets released every day, so your children won't ever run out of Mo-tastic content.

Watch Lunch Doodles with Mo on YouTube

7. Hesta Prynn DJ classes

Under normal circumstances, Hesta Prynn can usually be found DJing for fashion brands and celebrity shindigs—she created Alexandra Ocasio Cortez's official playlist—but these days she's stuck at home with her 6-year-old, just like the rest of us. To save us all from weeks of Kidzbop or Baby Shark, she's releasing family-friendly playlists every few days on Spotify. Have an older kid who dreams of becoming a DJ? Prynn is also giving virtual DJ lessons via her Instagram stories.

Get Hesta Prynn's newest playlist on Spotify

8. Tiler Peck ballet classes

If your child has always wanted to take ballet class with a famous ballerina, now is their chance. Tiler Peck, principal dancer at New York City Ballet, is teaching daily ballet classes every day at 1 pm EST via Instagram Live. Throw on a pair of ballet slippers and join in as she takes dancers through basic stretching and ballet positions. She even throws in some pointe work at the end for more advanced dancers.

Join Tiler Peck on Instagram

9. Debbie Allen dance classes

Not a ballet lover? Opt for one of Debbie Allen's Instagram Live dance classes instead. From salsa to tap, she's even featuring famous guest teachers guaranteed to get you dancing to the beat. Tune in weekdays at 11 am PST for a great class with a dance legend.

Dance with Debbie Allen on Instagram

10. Storyline

Too tired for story time? Opt for Storyline instead! The site offers a selection of videos of famous actors reading children's books. Each month they highlight certain titles, but there's always a huge selection of books to choose from, including The Hula Hoopin' Queen, read by Oprah Winfrey.

Explore Storyline

11. Storytime from Space

Have a kid who is space obsessed? Introduce them to Storytime from Space, where astronauts read children's books while in space. I love that the site features both male and female astronauts, an important lesson for girls who love space.

Check out Storytime from Space

12. The Cincinnati Zoo Home Safaris

The zoo may be closed, but your kids can still learn about their favorite animals without leaving the house. The Cincinnati Zoo is hosting "Home Safaris" each day at 3 pm EST on Facebook Live. Each day they'll highlight one of their resident animals—like Rico, the Brazilian porcupine—and they'll also include an activity that kids can do from home. If you miss the live videos, you can always catch it later on the zoo's YouTube channel.

Visit the Cincinnati Zoo on Facebook

13. The Philadelphia Zoo's Philly Zoo at 2

The Philadelphia Zoo also offers a weekly Facebook Live session called Philly Zoo at 2, which runs every weekday at 2 pm EST. This week kids met the zoo's brand new baby sloth bear cub, who is quite possible the cutest fuzzy creature ever. Kids will love learning about all the wild animals that call the Philadelphia Zoo home.

Visit the Philadelphia Zoo on Facebook

14. Osmo Kaleidoscope

Osmo Kaleidoscope
Credit: Bennett Day School

Kids can make their own kaleidoscopes out of found objects with the free Osmo / Bennett Day School app.

If your kids already have an Osmo kit, they can take advantage of the free Kaleidoscope App. When combined with the Osmo and a tablet, it turns everyday objects into beautiful kaleidoscopes—a great idea for turning natural materials into artwork.

Download Osmo Kaleidoscope in the App Store

Don't let being stuck at home prevent your kids from learning about artistic masterpieces. Use some of the time you have allotted for art class to take a virtual tour of the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. Explore the galleries and famous artworks by renowned artists, such as Van Gogh, Renoir, and Cézanne. If your kids are more into modern art, opt for a tour of New York's Guggenheim Museum, or check out the offerings from The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

18. Mystery Science

Reading, writing, and 'rithmatic are important, but don't forget to add some science to your new homeschool curriculum. Mystery Science has put together a fantastic selection of science lessons and experiments that can be done at home. Covering such intriguing subjects as "who invented pizza" and "why do woodpeckers peck wood," kids are sure to find the subjects engaging.

Find science lessons at MysteryScience.com

19. Cabin Fever Science

For easy science experiments you can do at home with little kids, tune in to Cabin Fever Science on YouTube, where director Randy Scott Slavin and his adorable daughter, Zoe, conduct science experiments using everyday kitchen ingredients. The resulting one minute how-to videos are fun, educational, and sure to inspire your kids to start experimenting.

Watch Cabin Fever Science on YouTube

20. Research Quest Live

Older kids who need a dose of science instruction will enjoy the Natural History Museum of Utah's new series called Research Quest Live. Designed with middle-schoolers in mind, the free daily classes are taught by museum educators, and cover such cool subjects as dinosaurs and ancient forests. The classes run each weekday at 9:30 am MDT, but if you can't make it to the live classes, they're all archived online for viewing anytime.

Check out Research Quest Live

21. Encantos Learning Hub

Tiny Travelers
Credit: Encantos

Learn about the world without leaving the couch.

Visit the Encantos Learning Hub—ideal for kids up to age 6—and check out the selection of free educational content that's created by real teachers. Kids can take a virtual geography lesson via Tiny Travelers and learn about other cultures. Prefer bilingual learning instead? Canticos offers bilingual preschool resources so your little one can learn both English and Spanish.

Visit Encantos

22. America's Test Kitchen

America's Test Kitchen Kids has made their entire site completely free for everyone. Kids will love the colorful site and its plentiful selection of recipes, projects, and cooking lessons. We're planning to whip up a batch of the Almost No-Knead Whole Wheat Bread

Cook-up fun at America's Test Kitchen Kids

23. Cosmic Kids Yoga

Cosmic Kids Yoga
Credit: Cosmic Kids

Yoga and mindfulness are a great way to start the day.

The Cosmic Kids Yoga channel has over 400,000 subscribers for a reason: It's a fun way to introduce children to yoga. Each 15-minute-long video features a cute theme and simple, beginning yoga moves that are great for toddlers and older kids alike. Start each homeschool morning with a Cosmic Kids session to help everyone get centered for the day.

Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube

24. Tinkergarten

Tinkergarten, the company that's known for their outdoor-based early childhood education programs, has launched Tinkergarten at Home, to get parents outside—and learning—with their kids. Sign-up (it's free) to get access to weekly Tinkergarten activities, parenting insights, and live online sessions with other parents.

Sign-up for Tinkergarten at Home

25. The Hootenanny music class

Don't let the music stop just because school isn't in session. Kids can tune in for daily jam sessions with their favorite family-friendly groups, thanks to YouTube and Facebook. Tune in every afternoon at 1 p.m EST for The Hootenanny, a music class that's pure silly fun.

The Hootenanny on YouTube

26. The Lucky Band jam session

The Lucky Band hosts a daily Facebook Live jam session every afternoon at 1 pm EST, where they sing songs and read stories, and just have a great time. Kids will love singing along and getting to know all of the performers.

The Lucky Diaz Band on Facebook

27. Berkner Break with the Laurie Berkner band

Little kids can enjoy a daily "Berkner Break" with the Laurie Berkner band, every morning on Facebook live. Tune-in at 10 am EST to watch a live concert direct from Berkner's house.

The Laurie Berkner Band on Facebook

28. L'il Maestros online music classes

Older kids who want to use their time at home to learn to play an instrument can take advantage of Ausounds L'il Maestros online music classes. The five week sessions are totally free, and teach guitar, piano, percussion, music theory, improvisation, and more. The classes also feature special appearances by famous musicians as well as industry experts. The live virtual lessons air every weekday at 3 p.m. EST.

Take an online music class with L'il Maestros

29. Duolingo

Keep up their foreign language learning with the ever popular Duolingo app. The free program offers instruction in a myriad of different languages—including Arabic, Welsh, and Spanish—in a colorful and easy-to-follow program that feels more like a game than a class.

Sign-up for Duolingo

30. The Dragon Quest Challenge

There's no better time for kids to become coding wizards than when they're stuck at home and want to zone out in front of a screen. Kids ages 8 to 18 can take CodeWizardHQ's totally free coding challenge, called The Dragon Quest. The 21-day virtual event gets aspiring coders to complete 21 levels of Python and JavaScript challenges with one final question where participants write their own code. Designed to spark a passion for coding and teach valuable coding skills, this is a great free resource for kids thinking of making coding a career (or even just a fun hobby). The challenge begins on April 3, 2020.

Get coding with The Dragon Quest challenge

31. Crayola At-Home Creative Hub

If you're a walking Pinterest fail, like I am, chances are that you're falling down on the crafting part of this whole homeschool thing. Good news: Crayola has put together an At-Home Creative Hub full of DIY craft projects you can do with your kids. There are step-by-step instructions for how to make cool projects like Paper Bag Stars and Paper Plate Llamas, and pretty much everything can be done with stuff you likely already have sitting around your house. They also have printable coloring pages for both kids and adults, in case you just need a soothing activity for everyone in the family.

Start crafting at Crayola.com

32. Pest World for Kids

Kids who are into bugs will absolutely flip for the offerings at Pest World for Kids. The site offers information and learning activities related to bugs for kids in grades pre-K to 8. In addition to critter-themed crafts, interactive quizzes, and pest guides, the site also provides pest-focused lesson plans for parents.

Check out PestWorldforKids.org

What free resources have you discovered lately? I'd love to know about them! Email me at alane@reviewed.com.

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