News

Online Learning Activities for Kids During Coronavirus Closures

online learning for kids

Verywell / Bailey Mariner  

Key Takeaways

  • Parents across the country have been thrust into the position of helping their kids learn from home and online.
  • Finding the right resources can make the virtual learning experience at home go more smoothly.
  • Online learning resources also can help kids go deeper into subject matter as well as practice skills they are struggling with.

If the coronavirus pandemic has turned you into an impromptu homeschooler, you're suddenly tasked with making sure your kid's brains don't turn into mush by the time they go back to school.

Your child's teacher may have sent them home with plenty of packets to complete while out of the classroom, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't supplement those assignments with other brain-stimulating activities (especially if they involve screen time that is purely educational).

The following online resources will make you and your kids happy: they’ll love that you’re handing them a tablet instead of lecturing them on fractions, and you’ll love that they’re still learning something (even if they don’t realize it!).

General Learning

There are several educational websites offering a full range of learning opportunities for your kids. Try one of these:

Scholastic At-Home Learning

If you’re looking to cover multiple subjects (think math, science, and reading) as seamlessly as possible, tackle one of the daily mini-unit studies suggested here to hit all the bases. Scholastic makes it easy to keep your kid's brain in shape.

ABC Mouse


ABC Mouse
is a full curriculum for kids ages two through eight that's easy for most kids to navigate on their own while keeping track of their progress with tickets and rewards.

BrainPop

BrainPop makes good use of many different methods of instruction (watching videos, playing games, drawing, and even making movies) to reinforce skills and teach new concepts.

Khan Academy

For older kids who like independent learning, Khan Academy has a wide range of free lessons in math, science, programming, engineering, and history. If your kids are younger, they can use the Khan Academy Kids app.

Language Arts

Reading and writing translate well to an online platform, allowing your child to work on sight words, flex their creative writing skills, or even learn a new language with ease.

Oliver Jeffers Stay at Home Story Time

Tired of reading about The Hueys? (They’re cute, but come on!) Let author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers do it for you every day.

Duolingo

The whole family can get in on the foreign language action with this platform, which starts with basic skills and builds up from there. Duolingo offers over 20 languages including English, Spanish, German, French, Mandarin, Japanese, Italian, Swahili, and Arabic.

Epic

The cool thing about Epic is that it doesn’t just read to your kids--they can view actual pages and illustrations, while seeing the words highlighted as they’re read out loud.

Starfall

The opportunities for learning to read with Starfall are far and wide, starting with basic letter sounds and continuing on to sight words and consonant/vowel blends.

NaNoWriMo Young Writers

Got a budding author at home? NaNoWriMo will hold them accountable to their novel-writing goals while connecting them with the resources they need to get the job done.

Math

Learning certain math concepts online can be tricky since your kids can’t count, add, or subtract anything in a hands-on way...but these sites make it possible (and fun).

Prodigy

If your kid loves fantasy or role-playing games, then this program is for them. With Prodigy they might not even notice that they’re also multiplying, dividing, and solving word problems while they advance their avatar through each level of adventure.

Math Games or Math Playground

For kids who need to practice basic adding, subtracting, estimating, and rounding skills, any of the games found on Math Games or Math Playground will beat out flashcard drills, hands-down.?

PBS Kids

For fans of Peg + Cat, Curious George, or any other PBS Kids shows, the math section of PBS Kids online lets them learn alongside their favorite characters.

Social Studies

These sites are a great way for kids to gain an appreciation of American and world history no matter what grade they’re in.

Ben's Guide to the U.S. Government

Ben’s Guide provides multiple grade levels to choose, which lets you see how laws are made and how the election process works as well as review historical documents.

Izzit

The educational videos on Izzit cover every social studies topic under the sun, from the Declaration of Independence to world wars to next-generation farming techniques.

Liberty's Kids

Queue up this YouTube playlist of episodes, which set important historical events and people into a kid-friendly cartoon context. Liberty’s Kids will get your kids excited about American history in no time.

Library of Congress

A compendium of information on American history, this section of the Library of Congress website lets your kids “meet” famous people, listen to music from bygone eras, and read old newspapers.?

Virtual Museum Tours

You can travel through a timeline of world history and civilizations from the comfort of your living room when you take a virtual tour of famous museums like the British Museum and the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.

Science

Science doesn’t have to involve messy, hands-on experiments! These online sites, channels, and interactive resources bring science right through your kids’ screen for an awe-inspiring learning experience.?

SciShow Kids

The videos on this YouTube channel cover every science question your kids have ever (or will ever!) ask you. What are clouds made of? How are raisins made? Why is fire hot? The videos are simple and to the point, but pack a ton of info into their short running time. Plus, many of them feature at-home activities and experiments to try for extended learning.

DK Find out!

One-stop shopping for all the info you need on a variety of science topics--think everything from planets to magnets to inventions--in an easy-to-explore interface full of interactive features.

InnerBody

Click on dozens of body parts within all the major systems of the human body to discover what's going on under your skin every day. Bone by bone and organ by organ, this is a super comprehensive way to investigate all the ins and outs of our anatomy.

Want more? These sites are stellar science resources, too:

Arts and Culture

Let your kids take a break from textbooks and exercise their creativity with enrichment activities like art and music.

Drawing with Carson Ellis

Illustrator Carson Ellis is hosting a daily drawing prompt for kids on Instagram with tips on how to do each “assignment," and is re-posting some of his fans’ artwork on his account!?It's totally free and makes you feel like part of an online artist community.

You can also doodle along with Mo Willems or Ben Clanton on Facebook, or take a virtual art lesson through Deep Space Sparkle.

Learning the Classics

Kids can learn about famous composers, orchestra instruments, and musical concepts like notes and rhythm through the interactive learning site Classics for Kids. There are resources for parents and teachers, so you can provide specific instruction via lesson plans or simply let your kids explore their own interests.

For musicians or singers missing out on band and choir practice, the videos and resources at San Francisco Symphony for Kids and From the Top will help fill the gap.

A Podcast for Curious Kids

When you’re sick of putting on the TV but need your kids to focus on something other than fighting with each other, challenge them to pick their own brains by listening to But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids, which features experts answering questions submitted by kids about the world at large. Other kid-friendly podcasts include Wow in the World and Book Club for Kids.

What This Means For You

When it comes to learning at home, you can add to and enrich your child's learning experience by supplementing their school's resources with additional online learning materials.

Look for resources that help your child go deeper into a subject matter or expand what they are already learning. You can even add in resources that help them practice skills they are struggling to master. Experiment with different resources until you find a few that not only meet your child's needs but keeps them engaged as well.

Was this page helpful?