It’s safe to say all parents need things for their kids to do that are free during school closures. Here are some fantastic resources that are free while you’re self-isolated.
We also suggest these fun podcasts for kids, and 52 boredom busters while schools are closed.
Free During School Closures
Kids everywhere can sit with their parents and have a really good time online in a safe way.
Virtual tours of amazing places
1. Virtual Museum Tours – Kids and parents can “go to the museum” online, completely free. It’s absolutely amazing.
2. San Diego Live Cams – These are so great. In real-time kids can watch the elephants, monkeys, tigers and lots more.
3. The White House – Even though it’s closed to visitors during this time, you can still visit online!
4. Smithsonian – Go on self-guided, room-by-room tours of select exhibits and areas within the museum.
5. NASA – Lots of 360 tours of NASA.
Inside the Space Shuttle – This is incredible.
Computer, iPad and/or Tablet Games
6. Common Sense Media – They maintain a list that helps parents find games, and check to see what they’re about and how age-appropriate they are for your kids.
7. IOS Snoops – Each day this site curates the latest apps and games that are free for a short time on IOS. (I’ve personally found lots of apps that I love using this site. Gotta look every day though!)
8. iPad Family Review – Another good site that goes through downloadable games and informs parents.
Books & stories free during school closures
9. Archive.org – Books like Harry Potter, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid are free to borrow (online) for 14 days. This is a really, really great resource.
10.Story Time From Space – This is COOL. Astronauts read stories from space! Brilliant.
11. Storyline Online – Actors you and the kids will recognize read kids’ books. (Including the sheriff from Stranger Things, to name only one.)
12. Story Nory – Free audiobooks for kids of all age groups.
13. Free Amazon Books – If you have Prime, there are about a zillion free books for your kids. For instance, here are 18 full-length chapter books for kids 5 – 12.
If you DON’T have Prime, now is the time for a free 30-day trial. (You can cancel after if you like.) Also, if you know someone who would appreciate having Amazon Prime during this time of isolation, you can buy them a Prime subscription here.
Fitness fun during school closures.
14. Race to 100 Fitness – Kiddos will love the competitiveness of this physical exercise game. Jump in and do it with them!
15. Go Noodle – Get the kids moving and giggling!
16. Avenger’s End Game Workout – Avenger kiddos will love it.
17. Cosmic Kids ‘Frozen’ Yoga – Anything with a Frozen theme is usually a safe bet.
18. Yoga for Kids – With so much free time at home, why not learn yoga?
Fun and free learning during school closures
19. Science Lessons From Space – Kids learn science from the faraway space station taught by the astronauts themselves.
20. National Geographic for Kids – This is one of the best sites to “sneak” learning into those little minds. It’s a safe site they’ll love.
21. Scholastic – Even when schools are closed, you can keep the learning going with these special cross-curricular journeys. Every day includes four separate learning experiences, each built around a thrilling, meaningful story or video. Kids can do them on their own, with their families, or with their teachers. Just find your grade level and let the learning begin!
22. Minecraft Education Edition – A game-based learning platform that promotes creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving in an immersive digital environment. Educators in more than 115 countries are using Minecraft: Education Edition across the curriculum!
23. Mystery Science – Popular science lessons for each grade.
24. Highlights Kids – Loaded with everything from jokes to kid-friendly recipes, you’ll want to bookmark this one.
25. OER Commons – The worldwide OER movement is rooted in the human right to access high-quality education. So much to learn here, and for all ages, including adults.
26. HippoCampus – Free educational resources from middle school through college.
27. Open Culture – 200 Free Kids Educational Resources: Video Lessons, Apps, Books, Websites & More
28. Teachers Pay Teachers – This is a fantastic resource for teachers and most of them are paid (although incredibly inexpensive). They do have a super generous free section.
29. Circletime – Lots to do here for kids up to 6.
30. Cool Math 4 Kids – Logic & thinking meets fun & games. These games have no violence, no empty action, just a lot of challenges that will make you kids forget they are getting a mental workout!
Learn to code
31. Code.org – Join millions of students and teachers in over 180 countries starting with an Hour of Code.
32. CS FIRST With Google – A free computer science curriculum that makes coding easy to teach and fun to learn.
33. Khan Academy – This site has lots of free learning goodies, and it’s very good at teaching kiddos how to code.
Sher Bailey is a writer in the Midwest who believes the power of humor, Mod Podge, and grandkids can fix most problems in life. You can find her at SherBailey.com.