These At-Home Learning Sites Are So Fun, The Kids Will Never Suspect a Thing
With schools closed across the state, many NEPA parents feel the pressure to add “teacher” to their never-ending list of roles. But no need to stress out— you don’t need a fancy education degree to keep your kids on track. We’ve rounded up 16 free websites for students of all ages, from preschool through senior high and beyond.
Some sites offer structured lesson plans and standardized curriculums. Others are full of fun games and ideas for hands-on activities, like mind-blowing science experiments and creative crafts. They’ll keep brain drain at bay, and no one will complain that they’re bor— okay, we’ll spare you from hearing that dreaded b-word again.
Most of all, have fun and enjoy the quality time together. Keep a flexible schedule and don’t feel pressured to re-create a typical school day. Life lessons and a little exploring are just as valuable as worksheets and lesson plans. Check out these at-home learning resources to make the most out of the time off.
Free Educational Websites for Kids
Preschool & Early Elementary School
Story hour with Betty White? We’re in! Storytime Online is a huge collection of videos where famous actors read beloved children’s books. Each video has a supplemental activity guide with discussion questions, crafts, recipes, games, experiments, writing prompts and other projects to promote childhood literacy.
Highlights for Children
Preschool & Elementary School
This children’s magazine (which got its start in Honesdale) is offering free resources like printable worksheets and fun games and activities. Tune in to their YouTube channel and podcasts to make the most of screen time.
Stay, Learn, Play
Preschool through Middle School
Box of Light Studios and the Bloomsburg Children’s Museum teamed up and created a website full of arts and science adventures that you can do from home. They post films, lessons, educational challenges and other resources each day.
Scholastic Learn at Home
Preschool through Grade 9
Scholastic’s Learn at Home website posts daily projects, articles, stories, videos and more. The site is divided into four different age groups. They also offer age-appropriate resources to teach kids about the coronavirus and ways to stay healthy.
Kindergarten through Grade 5
Could a mountain turn into a volcano? Why is there sand at the beach? Can animals laugh? Your curious kids can find out on Mystery Science, a website that answers all sorts of crazy questions. They’re currently offering free learning resources during the coronavirus crisis, no login required.
Kindergarten through Grade 6
Teachers have always turned to edHelper for creative worksheets and classroom materials. They’ve created a massive list of printable workbooks so students can keep up on lessons at home. Puzzles, math problems, cursive exercises, coding worksheets, writing prompts and more will keep the kids busy for hours.
Kindergarten through Grade 8
BrainPOP is offering free access for families impacted by school closures. Keep the kids on track with units on science, math, social studies, English, art, technology and more. These interactive lessons feature fun games, videos and challenges. BrainPOP also offers resources for teaching kids about the coronavirus.
Elementary School & Early Middle School
If quarantine life is making the kids stir crazy, let them burn off some energy with GoNoodle. This website and app has hundreds of free videos that combine education with yoga sessions, dance parties, mindfulness activities and other active games.
The Story of Scranton Local History Curriculum
The Lackawanna Historical Society, Albright Memorial Library and Scranton School District created readings, discussion questions, activities and more to teach kids about Scranton’s history. Explore NEPA’s past from the days of the Native Americans to the coal mining era.
WVIA Learn at Home
Pittston’s own WVIA Public Media has changed their regular programming schedule and will air educational shows from 1-4 every weekday afternoon. You can also watch online and access additional teaching resources to accompany each show. For younger children, PBS Kids is still offering their regular programs.
Middle School & Early High School
Founded by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, iCivics teaches about democracy through tons of interactive games. Sign up for a free educator account for access to teaching guides, which will help you put together lessons based on the games. Check out their coronavirus toolkit for more resources.
The Kennedy Center
Don’t forget about art class! The Kennedy Center’s arts-centered, standards-based lesson plans will ignite the kids’ creativity, even if Mom and Dad can barely draw a stick figure. Each lesson combines performance, visual or literary arts with other subjects like history, math and science.
Smithsonian Learning Lab
Discover millions of digital resources in the Smithsonian Learning Lab, a collection of images, recordings, texts, activities and more from some the nation’s most famous museums. Create a free account to tap into personalized lessons in topics like history, art, culture and science.
TED-Ed has compiled video-based lessons for all subjects and ages. Animated videos will keep the little ones entertained, while TED Talks will inspire teens and college students to delve deeper into current events. Sign up for daily newsletters to receive lesson plans geared toward different age groups.
Khan Academy is a nonprofit that offers free instructional videos, quizzes, exercises and more in nearly every subject. In light of school closures, they’ve put together special resources for students, parents and teachers, including daily schedules to create an at-home “school day.” Check their social media for “Daily Homeroom with Sal,” a livestream Q&A about remote learning.
CK-12 is a free site with lessons, simulations and other interactive activities in math, science, English, social studies and more. They created a list of the top concepts that teachers usually cover this time of year so you can help the kids keep up with their studies.