We are going through interesting times, aren’t we? Never in our lifetime have our family bonds and sanities have been tested so. It can be tough but it can also be fun.
I consider myself lucky that I live in the extraordinary era of the internet. During these past seven weeks of lockdown (and counting) I have foraged the almighty web for free learning websites for kids to keep my toddler (who I’ve come to suspect might be running on nuclear energy), busy and entertained, all in a constructive and educational way.
I’ve come across many great sites that are not only fun but they are also specifically structured to maximize a child’s learning abilities. So, in order to lend a helping hand to all you mammas out there, I’ve created a list of fantastic free learning websites for kids of all ages.
Twinkl is a wonderful website that has a vast number of educational resources for kids and activity ideas for parents of school children and educators.
I love the way the website is organised making it easy to find the resources that you’re interested in. It has nine big categories:
- Parents- this is also divided into four sections (Early Years; Ages 5-11; Activities and Games; School Closure). Each section contains a multitude of high-quality worksheets and activities. You will also interesting articles from other parents and educational experts.
- EYFS (early year foundation stages)- You will find a wealth of resources here, all divided into Areas of Learning (like Maths, Literacy, Communication and Language and much more) and Themes and Topics (like Festivals & Cultural Celebrations, Places, Everyday Life and more).
- KS1, KS2, KS3/4 (Key Stages)- in all the Key Stages you will find the resources organised into Subjects complete with Assessment tests.
- SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities)- divided into Areas of Need, Planning and Assessment, Curriculum Support and Parental Support.
- EAL (English as an Additional Language) and ESL (English as a Second Language)- this section will be invaluable for parents and educators who want to help children communicate effectively and learn English with structured activities and fun worksheets.
- Create- a nice tool that allows you to create your own materials
I’ve dedicated so much space to Twinkl simply because I’m in love with it and ever since I’ve discovered it, well, let’s just say that I’ve finished all the ink in my printer.
You can register for free and there are a few materials free of charge. However, if you choose to become a member you can access all these awesome resources for as little as £4.49/month. Which, in my opinion, is more than reasonable for the quality and quantity of the resources that can be found here.
But that’s not all! *Drum Roll* During the current situation Twinkl wants to do its bit. They are offering full access to their resources using the code CVDTWINKLHELPS when registering to their site. All their resources for FREE. How cool is that!
Starfall has been around for quite some time. Even though here and there, it may look a little outdated, it still has many useful resources for kids. The site is divided into two main categories: Kindergarten & Pre-K and Grades 1,2,3. Each category has fun games, songs and activities meant to help children practice their Reading, Maths, Arts or Music. In addition to this, there is also a section for Seasonal games and activities like Halloween Fractions, Earth Day, Valentine’s Day and so on.
A lot of the games and activities are free, but if you want to gain full access you will have to become a member which will cost $35/year.
3. FunBrain & FunBrainJr
Funbrain is a fantastic site full of entertaining and educational games, videos and books. It is organised by grade, from PreK and Kindergarten, all the way up to Grade 8. In each level, kids are able to play educational games, read level appropriate books, watch videos or have fun in the Maths Zone.
The Playground section also has games but they’re not level specific. Basically anyone can have fun in The Playground.
What I really loved about Funbrain is the reading section. Kids have access to awesome books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, all for free. There is also an option to order the physical book if you want.
FunbrainJr is an extension of Funbrain that focuses on young children (Pre K and Kindergarten). It is a very visually appealing and user-friendly site. You will find a multitude of Games, Stories and printables. Kids will be able to earn cool stickers by playing the educational games available.
4. BBC Bitesize
BBC Bitesize is the perfect free learning website for kids, especially for homeschooling parents or educators in search of high-quality lessons. I was really impressed with the diversity and the polished materials and lesson plans.
Parents only have to choose their kid’s level (Year 1- Year 10) and they will find lessons in Maths, English, History, Science, Geography, Religious Education and Wellbeing.
From what I could gather BBCBitesize follows the Curriculums of England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.
Everything is free, you don’t even have to register. However, if you do register, you’ll be able to benefit from a more personalised experience.
Jumpstart has many free resources for kids, but if you want full access you have to become a member. The membership fee is not expensive, it’s $40/year, $8/month or $20/3 months. But, as I said, there are plenty of wonderful free worksheets, games, books and lesson plans.
Jumpstart targets parents as well as teachers. All the educational material found here was designed by experts. I was especially impressed by the variety of grade-based activities. They are innovative, fun and will help children learn while playing. There’s a lot to choose from like Maths, Art, Science Activities, Craft Activities, Baby, Toddler and Kids Activities and many many more. Just take a peek and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
But what really sets Jumpstart apart from others, in my view, are two things. In the Kids section, children are encouraged to submit their own work like articles, jokes, stories or screenshots. It’s a fantastic way of supporting kids’ creativity. The other thing is the Jumpstart Academy Coding where kids (K-12 grade) will develop computational thinking skills while practising other useful skills as well.
One of the popular free learning websites for kids is Oxford Owl. There are many resources for parents who want to support their children’s education from home. The website has many age-specific activities. You can explore the site either by age ( from 3 to 11-year olds), by topic (English, Reading, Maths) or by school year ( from Year 1 to year 6).
What I love about this site is that parents are given an overview by age of what their kids learn at school and tips on how to help them at home as well as activity ideas.
Most of the books presented on the site have to be purchased from Amazon, however, there are plenty of ebooks available for kids to read for free ( you just have to create an account).
Topmarks is a website that allows children from 3 to 14 years to consolidate what they’ve learned at school through fun games. There is a choice between two topics, Maths and English.
I can’t say that the site is visually great but it’s fairly easy to navigate. Also, some age groups seemed ‘poorer’ in games and activities than others. Having said this, Topmarks does have some great games that will help your little learner revise some of the topics learned in school.
Teachers might be happy to hear that Topmarks has a section, Whiteboard Resources, where they can find great educational resources for interactive Whiteboard in the classroom.
Learning Games for Kids is definitely worth a visit for the multitude of fun, educational games, songs and videos that it hosts.
The games are organised into categories like Literature games, Maths, Geography, Alphabet, Word games, Spelling games and many, many more. I will confess that, while browsing the site, I got sucked in by some awesome, fun vocabulary games. It’s a great way of learning for kids.
There is also a section with printable worksheets.
The guys at Funology claim to offer a ‘cure for boredom’ and I believe them. It’s one of the free learning websites for kids that exudes fun from the first peak. It is colourful, pleasing to the eye, easy to navigate and, most importantly, jam-packed with original resources for kids that make Funology stand out from the other educational sites.
The arts and crafts section invites parents and kids to get creative and try all the cool projects listed here. They are easy, fun and guaranteed to bring a lot of excitement.
Then, there is the Recipes section where you will find simple but mouth-watering recipes that kids will enjoy making.
The Science category has amazing experiments from the fields of Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Weather. They are easy to make and some are really spectacular. The London Fog in a jar for example.
Ah, my favourite category from Funology must be the Magic one. Here, kids will learn magic tricks to impress their friends. I won’t say more, I’ll just let you discover.
Other categories that are well worth exploring are Games, Jokes and Trivia. There is also a Blog section where you will find well-written articles on various themes.
All in all, as you can probably tell, I like what he guys at Funology have done with the site and what they have to offer. Head over and see for yourself.
10. PBS Kids
Children will surely recognize some of their beloved TV characters like Clifford The Big Red Dog, Wild Kratts, Peg + Cat, Molly of Denali and many more. The best part is that they will be able to play with them in cool games that will keep entertained until mamma shouts “Turn off that computer and read a book” (by the way here is a list of 11 free sites for kids who love reading).
PBS Kids has quite a few interesting games for kids and if you sign up, you will get their newsletter that contains daily activities and tips on how to help kids learn at home.
It is one of the most popular free learning websites for kids out there that offer fun educational games.
11. Sesame Street
Since we were talking about PBS, the next on the list had to be SesameStreet’s website. The longtime favourite show of children and adults has been making education fun since 1969.
The website contains many fun resources for kids as young as 2 years old. There are games to help you potty train your child or make teeth brushing a fun game. Kids can practice their numbers and letter while playing with the beloved characters.
The video section will teach kids about emotions, the importance of caring for themselves and others, how to wash their hands and many more fantastic videos. Also, check out the art section for cute ideas.
You might’ve heard of Beano before. It is the longest-running British children’s comic magazine. So, as you can expect, the website is full of fun resources for kids. There are loads of stuff to be discovered and enjoyed here from wacky quizzes, entertaining games to hilarious jokes and great videos. They also have a section where you can enter fun competitions and win awesome things.
Beano screams fun and I can see the appeal that it might have on kids (I lost track of time giggling at videos and doing ridiculous quizzes- I guess I never really grew up). I think that the site is best suited for children 10+.
FreeRice is not really a website with resources per se, but I think it’s an awesome idea for the whole family to practice their vocabulary in a friendly competition.
The game is simple. You get a word and you have to choose its meaning from four options. That’s it. Simple and fun. There are five difficulty levels and you can adjust it to the one that you think might challenge you.
One of the reasons why Free Rice has made it to our list is the very reason for the website’s existence. As you play and answer the questions correctly, advertisements will appear on the screen (the ads are not bothersome at all, you barely notice them really). Whenever you see one of these ads you trigger a financial payment to WFP. This money that you are generating is used to buy things like rice (hence the name of the site) and other necessities.
So, when you play Freerice, you not only improve your vocabulary but you also help make the world a better place.
I hope this list of free learning websites for kids is useful to you and your little one and will provide hours of joy and laughter.
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. Take care.
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Mom of two wonderful children, dedicated teacher and book lover.