As the school year comes to a close, I’m sipping on a summer cocktail of mixed feelings. A break from hurried mornings, homework, and field trips? Yay! A houseful of bored kids 24/7… Sigh.
Do you agree? I hope so, because I made you guys this list of 22 free online educational activities that’ll keep your kids busy and productive on the cheap:
1. Teach your older kids (or yourself!) a second language with Duolingo. (Ages 12+)
This is by far the most comprehensive free language tool I’ve found! You can learn a second language in just 5-20 minutes/day.
2. Engage your child in learning code with Code.org. (Ages 4+)
These polished coding lessons and activities are incredible! They offer introductory lessons by age group plus more advanced curriculum for older kids. I love how they incorporated characters from favorites like Minecraft, Star Wars, and Disney in a simple and intuitive way.
Think your daughter would want to try coding basics if it would help Anna and Elsa explore the ice? Muahaha, I know, right?
4. Let kids read and create ebooks for free with Story Jumper. (Ages 4+)
Is your junior wordsmith dying to be an author? Create a free Story Jumper account to let them read ebooks from Story Jumper’s community and publish their own original ebooks for online viewing.
5. Turn learning into an interactive game with Kahoot! (Grades K-8)
This totally free game-show style learning tool lets kids play quiz games and even create their own quizzes! Just create an account to access their array of games, (search by keywords like #algebra) and a super-simple quiz-building wizard.
Trying to help your kids learn state capitals or parts of speech? Bonus points for making them some quizzes yourself!
6. Have you little space nerd dig into NASA’s education materials. (Ages 10+)
Do you have any idea how awesome NASA’s website is?
They have free ebooks, apps and regular podcasts plus outstanding space pictures, mission updates, and more.
7. Turn your little one into a chess master with ChessKid online. (Ages 6+)
This interactive chess tutorial site is great, and they even have a free app for both iOS and Android!
Easily create a free account and access videos, puzzles, and, of course, chess games against other children from around the world.
Premium accounts are available, but the free features are so great, I haven’t been tempted to try the paid version.
8. Break up an idle day with fun activities from GoNoodle. (Ages 5+)
Create a free account and get hundreds of fun videos that’ll teach your kids to move!
I like to use this as a break if the kids have been sitting around all day. Most videos are 2-10 minutes, and some are better than others, but it’s a good way to get your kids some enjoyable, hassle-free exercise.
In fact, let your oldest manage the GoNoodle time. Set it up and walk away!
9. Challenge your teens to practice college-level coursework with OpenCourseWare.
Many colleges now participate in the open learning initiative and strive to make their curriculum available online for free.
10. Get free resources for learners of all ages at Education.com. (Preschool – High School)
The huge array of activities is neatly grouped by type, grade, and subject.
11. Entertain your preschooler with Story Place educational resources. (Ages 2-4)
These super cute activities and videos for preschoolers teach basics like colors and counting. No sign-up required!
12. Get 47 pages of awesome animal illustrations in this National Geographic Kids’ coloring book. (Ages 4+)
From sharks and crocodiles to penguin and butterflies, there’s something for every kid to love. Follow the link for a free, printable PDF.
13. Teach young kids about fire safety with the free FDNY coloring book: (Ages 4-8)
This printable fire safety coloring and activity book from the FDNY is super cute and covers the basics of fire safety. Get the PDF here.
14. Introduce kids to quarks with this Jefferson Labs activity book. (Ages 6+)
This printable PDF distills some seriously complicated physics into an approachable lesson in this cute, informative coloring book and word search.
15. Get your crafts on with Color Cut and Create printables. (Ages 4+)
If your kids love art time, this website has lots of cute printables to color, cut, and paste.
Their website is a little Y2K, but the activities are solid. Think cut-out pizzas and toppings for your four-year-old who really wants to help you cook or a cut-and-fold 3-D Spongebob printout.
16. Educate your kids about endangered species with the EPA coloring book. (Ages 6+)
This informative coloring book teaches kids about habitats, pollution, environmental protection, and America’s endangered species using plenty of text, pictures, and maps.
My son loved the Green Pitcher Plant. It eats bugs!
17. Get free activities for young kids with UpToTen. (You guessed it; ages 10 and under)
This free website has lots of simple songs, cartoons, games, and activities.
Heads up: There are a lot of ads (the ad-free experience is premium), so if you’re not comfortable with that, stay close by, or just print out some free coloring pages.
18. Let kids learn alongside their favorite characters with PBS Kids educational games. (Ages 4-10)
Kids will love these learning games with favorites like Curious George, The Cat in the Hat, and Cookie Monster.
What little boy wouldn’t want to build a new track for Thomas the Tank Engine? Score!
Also look out for fun activities like writing contests and reading exercises.
19. Get printables and games from Scholastic. (Ages 3-7)
Check out Scholastic’s website for lots of free games and printables, featuring Clifford, The Magic School Bus, and more.
20. Encourage kids to learn with Fun Brain. (Grades K-8)
This website has lots of awesome games and videos sorted for grades K-8, plus a library of free digital books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
21. Get games and activity pages with Disney characters on Disney Junior‘s activity and game pages. (Ages 3-8)
Okay, these are not all so educational, but I love the array of activities and the ability to search for games and worksheets by character.
22. Treat your kids to beginning art lessons with Thrive. (Ages 6-12)
The free course gets you 10 days of access to their beginning curriculum.
You won’t need your credit card info for this trial, but full paid courses are available.