The Ultimate Kid-Friendly Online Resource Guide

No matter the age, no matter the need, this list has it all

Keeping your kids on track and focused on academics all day long may feel impossible. The good news is that’s okay because, even when they are in school, no child is engaged in academic pursuits the entire school day. The average elementary school day includes just four hours of core academic instructional time. New York State currently requires 5.5 instructional hours per school day in grades 7-12, but keep in mind that those include electives and physical education.  

It’s also important to keep in mind that academics are not always defined by sitting at a desk.  Some of your child’s day will be defined by schooling, but with kids at home, this time is an opportunity to encourage them to explore areas of interest: gardening, cooking, music, and more. They can also shake cabin fever by getting outside each day. Maybe you can even get them to help you with household chores. No matter how you and your children fill your day, if they learn something, have a little bit of fun, and feel safe, you’re doing a great job supporting them! Here are some more detailed suggestions for activities outside of academics broken down by subject and age.

Reading

Elementary School

Kids who can read should absolutely practice reading on their own, but it’s also nice to be read to.  There are lots of great options for fun read-alouds including Story Time in Space, Storyline (dozens of books read by famous people), and Josh Gad (who plays the voice of Olaf in Frozen) reading a daily book. 

Elementary & Middle School

Time magazine offers kid-appropriate articles for grades K-6; consider using these articles as jumping off points for discussions about what’s going on in our world.   At the other end of the spectrum J-14 offers celebrity news for tweens—hey, at least they’re reading, right?  

All Grade Levels

Readworks.org is driven by cognitive science research. ReadWorks creates world-class K-12 reading comprehension content, educational guidance, and integrated tools that improve student achievement.

Newsela publishes 10 new texts across genres and reading levels daily.  All of the articles are authentic texts aligned with standards for ELA, science, and/or social studies and include reading comprehension questions.  

Math

Elementary & Middle School

ST Math is a K-8 visual math program that builds a deep conceptual understanding of math through rigorous learning and creative problem solving, and they’re offering their services free to parents through June 30th of this year. Prodigy math is another great resource frequently used by schools which engages students in math through games aligned with K-8 curriculum and standards. Zearn Math is normally only available to school districts or paying families, but they’ve made their entire K-5 curriculumincluding 400 hours of digital lessons with onscreen teachersavailable for free.  

High School

Private Prep tutors routinely rely on AMC 10 math problems to push students to think creatively and strengthen their math skills.  For more directed support, the Art of Problem Solving’s Alcumus problems allow students to practice all concepts from pre-algebra through pre-calculus with a free account.  

Science

Elementary School

Mystery Science offers lessons and hands-on activities that are fully planned (with supply lists!) for grades K-5.  Explore everything from meteorology to neuroscience.  

Elementary & Middle School

BrainPOP (for grades 4-8) and BrainPOP Jr. (for grades K-3) offer engaging learning games, animated movies, and activities. These tools challenge students to reflect, make connections, and engage in deeper, curiosity-driven learning. Though BrainPOP is most well known for STEM education, it also addresses Social Studies, Reading/Writing, Health and Arts. 

Most kids love learning about animals. Ranger Rick from the National Wildlife Federation offers games, jokes, articles, and art related to animals and is entirely free while we’re all learning from home. There are activities appropriate for all ages 0-12. Old standby National Geographic Kids has games, videos, quizzes, and articles for kids ages 6 and up. Finally, the Cincinnati Zoo is offering an at-home safari exploration of one animal a day.  

Middle & High School

Science teachers at the Institute for Collaborative Education in Manhattan designed a project for students to research COVID-19 and design a public awareness campaign. In hopes that this authentic work will make us all safer, they’ve generously shared it widely. There is a version for high school and one for middle school.

NASA has made their full image library free, and it’s awesome. We highly recommend taking a look.  

Writing

Elementary School

Collaborative classroom offers some great, concrete ideas for helping kids make meaning of their reading by keeping a journal.  

Middle & High School

The New York Times is offering a dozen new ways for students to practice reading, writing, and thinking each week.  Kids need to create a free account for access to the weekly writing prompts connected to articles and images from the New York Times

All Grade Levels

Journal Buddies offers writing prompts organized by grade and topic for everyone, kindergarten through high school.  

Cross-Curricular

Elementary & Middle School

Scholastic Magazines Learn at Home offers day-by-day projects to keep kids from preK-9th grade reading, thinking, and growing. Every day includes four separate learning experiences, each built around a meaningful story or video. Kids can do them on their own or with you.

All Grade Levels

Learn to type for free at the typing club. This web-based app offers a placement test and then a progressive set of interactive lessons to walk kids through learning type. If anyone is still picking away with two fingers, now’s a great time to learn this valuable skill.  

New York City Schools have made available a wealth of activities organized by grade and subject.  For younger kids, these won’t be self-guided, but if your district isn’t offering much, you can print these resources as great starting point for any student.  

Movement, Art, and Fun

Elementary

Fluency and Fitness provides a review of essential K-2 reading and math concepts while incorporating a movement break; they’re currently offering parents three weeks of access free.  GoNoodle is another teacher favorite for movement and is free all the time.  

If you have a budding artist, Mo Willems, renowned author and illustrator, is doing a live doodle-along everyday at lunch. It’s absolutely worth checking out!

Elementary & Middle School

The Real Play Coalition has hundreds of screen-free activities with instructions. You can search by age (2-12+), number of kids, and equipment.  

High School

The Metropolitan Opera is offering free HD streaming of one of their full performances each day during the Coronavirus closures.  They even offer supplementary materials to help us all engage with this art.

All Grade Levels

Google Arts & Culture has teamed up with museums from around the world to offer free virtual tours. Here’s a curated list of some of the most famous places to “visit” if the full list overwhelms you.  

Tabletopia offers hundreds of online board games for free. Depending on the game, this can be an intellectually stimulating way to get some social interaction into the day.  

Many fitness studios and instructors are producing “home workout” content or offering free trial subscriptions. Extra time at home can provide an opportunity to try yoga or that fitness program you’ve been wanting to check out, either on your own or with the family. There are also a wide variety of Youtube workout videos that are fun for the entire family and some of the best gyms are offering free streaming workouts—everything from at home boxing workouts to learning dance routines from the Pussycat Dolls’ videos.

Private Prep