100+ Online Educational Activities For Students
Do you really know what your students are up to online? The social media landscape seems to change every day with new apps, security risks, and privacy concerns-- and it can be tough for parents to keep up.
Thankfully there are many great educational tools and tracking control software that can help give parents peace of mind. The Smart Social team has done the research for you. Here are some ideas of positive online activities for students of all ages:
Free Live Streaming (or Replay) Classes and Activities
NOTE: Many individuals and educators are hosting free live streams to keep students busy and entertained.
- Learn to draw, doodle and explore new ways of writing at the Kennedy Center. Just bring some paper and pencils, pens, or crayons to Lunch Doodles with Mo. Previously taped episodes are now available for replay.
- The Cincinnati Zoo is very active with their educational resources online. They have hosted ‘Home Safari Facebook Live’ to help kids learn all about animals. Join the Zoo’s Facebook page. Check out social media and the website of aquariums and zoos around the world, or in your backyard!
- The IMAG History & Science Center is keeping kids entertained with exciting lessons and experiments. Head to the IMAG Facebook page for replays of [email protected] and Meet the Keeper episodes!
- The Center for Puppetry Art is hosting live puppet shows and event for families. You can see their daily Facebook Live schedule here.
- Italian chef Massimo Bottura is inviting everyone into his kitchen as he prepares his nightly dinners. Watch replays of “Kitchen Quarantine” on Instagram.
- Join James Dean, author of Pete the Cat, as he reads his books and teaches student how to draw his lovable characters. Replays of Pete The Cat Club are now available on Instagram.
- Petersen’s Automotive Museum in Los Angeles is offering educational courses and at-home activities for kids ages 12 and under. You can watch replays of the courses here.
- Replays of #DrawTogether with New York Times bestselling illustrator and graphic journalist Wendy MacNaughton are now available on Instagram.
- Join the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy for Shark Story Hour. Read a shark themed book followed by a shark Q& A session.
- The education team at Kennedy Space Center has hosted videos about living in space, Mars, and rocketry. Tours of Space Shuttle Atlantis and the Astronaut Training Experience. Replays are now available.
- Learn to cook with Delish! Cooking classes for parents and students are now available for replay on Instagram.
- Go whale watching! Watch replays of Oceans Initiative’s marine biology camp.
Read Aloud Stories
- Audible.com Subscriptions – your students can learn from some of the world’s best books. Get a free book here with our partnership link.
- HarperKids – HarperCollins Children’s Books created the HarperKids YouTube Channel. Watch and listen to your kid’s favorite books, author interviews, and original content. All ages.
- Brightly Storytime, by Penguin Random House, features read-aloud and flip along videos, and more for kids. All ages.
- The Global Space Education Foundation presents Story Time From Space. Join astronauts aboard the International Space Station as they videotape themselves reading books to children on Earth. All ages.
- Join your favorite celebrities, including Oprah and Betty White, for storytime on Storyline Online by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation.
10 Audible Books for Listening and Learning (Parents- please preview these before giving to students)
- Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
- Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths by Bernard Evslin
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
- Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
- Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
- Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
- Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela by Nelson Mandela
- Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad by Ann Petry
- The Science Book by DKNOTE: Amazon’s audiobook service just launched Audible Stories, a free destination offering educational and entertaining children’s and family content.
Free Worksheets and Coloring Sheets
- Crayola offers free coloring pages to download and DIY craft ideas. Just search by category and start getting creative. All ages.
- GreatSchools is a nonprofit empowering parents to unlock educational opportunities for their child. The website has thousands of articles, tips, free worksheets, and interactive tools to help parents support their child’s learning. All ages.
- Have Fun Teaching has created free Coronavirus Relief Packs. Each download comes with worksheets, activities, songs, and videos for each subject. Free packs available for PreK to 5th grade.
- Print out hundreds of free Disney coloring pages here.
- Lakeshore Learning has free learning resources for kids including printable flashcards, lessons, and activities. All ages.
- Twinkl has teacher-favorite resources to support home learning. Download free printable learning packets for preschool to 5th grade students.
- Education.com is offering free Independent Study Packets for elementary students.
- WorksheetFun.com offers a large library of free PDF worksheet. They are sorted by subject.
Literacy and Writing Tools
- Scholastic has online stories to read and corresponding activities for students. All grade levels.
- There are many YouTube channels that focus on teaching kids literacy skills. Here’s a list of 17 great ones by GrowingBookbyBook.com. Recommendations for all ages.
- Apps can provide amazing literacy lessons to students. Click here for a list of great reading apps for 4 to 8 year-olds.
- PBS KIDS for Parents offers free resources created by expert educators and child development professionals. The site has books, games, kid cooking tutorials, and more. Ages 13 and under.
- ABCmouse Early Learning Academy has self guided lessons filled with books, games, songs, and art. Ages 8 and under.
- The Learning Network by The New York Times offers dozens of new writing prompts each week. The writing prompts are all based on articles, photographs, illustrations, and videos from The New York Times. Students must register for a free account to get the writing prompts. Ages 13+.
- Read and play games with the Cat in the Hat, the Grinch and more on Seussville. Ages 13 and under.
- Starfall is a great resource for young elementary students to practice reading and math skills through games and songs. Ages 9 and under
- Quill offers free writing and grammar activities for students including lessons for teachers to lead writing instruction as well as diagnostics. All ages.
- Many libraries offer digital book and audio book rentals for free online. Check your local library’s website.
- Reading Bear is a free online program to teach beginning readers vocabulary and English concepts using videos and interactive slide shows. Ages 8 and under.
- Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, offers young students free learning videos, games, and more. Ages 6 and under.
STEAM Online Activities
- ScratchJr, designed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Labkids, teaches kids ages 7 and under how to program their own interactive stories and games. There is a more advanced free tool called Scratch for students ages 8+.
- Mystery Science has at-home lessons like “Why do woodpeckers peck wood?” and “Why do we get hiccups?” All ages.
- Survival expert Bear Grylls introduces ‘The Great Indoors‘ – a collection of 100 activities designed to encourage kids to try new challenges and learn new skills at home.
- The Smithsonian Learning Lab offers free interactive learning experiences for students using millions of resources from Smithsonian museums and galleries. All ages.
- CoolMath4Kids is a free “online amusement park” filled with games that are designed to make learning math fun. Ages 12 and under.
- CoolMath.com teaches more advanced math with explanations that are easy to grasp on topics like algebra, pre-calculus and more. Ages 13+.
- Science Mom has a kid friendly video feed full of fun at-home science experiments. Ages 13 and under.
- Elementari teaches students to create code and turn their stories into illustrations. All ages. NOTE: The company is currently offering free premium access to teachers. Learn more here.
- HelloKids offers kids free step-by-step tutorials to draw dozens of animals, objects, characters, and more. All ages.
- Nat Geo for Kids helps students learn about animals, geography, science experiments and more. All ages.
- Imagineering in a Box, by Khan Academy, teaches students how Disney Imagineers use story development, math, physics and engineering to create amazing experiences for theme park guests.
- Go birdwatching in your yard or out the window. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has great free resources to help students properly identify and track all the birds they spot. All ages.
- It’s time to experiment with Bill Nye the Science Guy. His website has more than three dozen free science experiments for students and parents to try at home. Ages 5+.
- Students can create their own songs on the Chrome Music Lab. The website makes learning music more accessible through fun, hands-on experiments.
- Art for Kids Hub regularly uploads free new drawing lessons for students. Fun for all ages.
Take a Virtual Field Trip
- Discovery Education offers free virtual field trips around the world. Each location you click on comes with a companion guide and hands-on learning activities.
- At The Nature Conservancy, students can dive down to see a coral reef in the Caribbean and explore the rainforest in Borneo all in the same day – and all from the comfort of their homes.
- Check out our planet like you’ve never seen it before on Google Earth Virtual Reality.
- Your family will also love checking out 31 National Parks across the country on Google Earth.
- Yosemite National Park offers its own tour of its park, including popular spots like the Swinging Bridge and Nevada Fall.
- Take a virtual tour of the Boston Children’s Museum.
- Explore the surface of Mars as seen by NASA’s Curiosity Rover.
- Take a virtual tour of the world-famous Louvre Museum in Paris.
- Head to the San Diego Zoo and watch the animals LIVE in their habitats.
- Let’s head to the farm! The American Dairy Association is hosting virtual farm tours to teach students where food comes from.
Brain Breaks and Physical Education
- Lumosity offers free brain games to keep student minds actively engaged. All ages.
- The Learning Station has a video feed of 32 Brain Break Action Videos for Kids. All ages.
- Solitaired is a great way to take a break and refocus. On this solitaire site your family can play a game of the day to challenge yourself and see who can win.
- It can be challenging for students to unplug when school is out of session, but it’s important to take breaks. SmartSocial.com has lots of ideas for creating a fun family night without screens.
- 50+ Easy Indoor Activities for Kids by hellowonderful.co.
- EntertainKidsonaDime.com came up with this wonderful list of 100 activities to do at home with kids.
- SmartSocial.com created a list of safe, offline activity ideas for students to help regulate screen time. You can check them out here.
- GoNoodle helps teachers and parents get kids moving with short interactive activities. Ages 5 to 12.
- Jack Hartmann has created more than 1,000 songs for children on his albums and popular YouTube channel. His educational videos help students learn math, reading and language skills, nursery rhymes, science, physical fitness, and dance. Ages 12 and under.
- Cosmic Kids Yoga is used at schools around the world. Your students can learn yoga, mindfulness and relaxation on this popular YouTube channel for kids. Ages 3+.
- The whole family can exercise together on Beachbody Kids. Check out more than a dozen free workouts by celebrity trainers.
- Listen to a podcast! There are many podcasts made just for students, including But Why? by NPR which answers questions submitted by real kids.
Start Learning a New Language
- Salsa by Georgia Public Broadcasting is a Spanish language series for young learners that uses puppets, digital graphics, and animation to teach the language. Ages 5 to 9.
- The CASLS Games2Teach website has free downloadable classroom activities in over 17 languages for novice, intermediate, and advanced learners. Designed for students in grades K-12.
- Duolingo is a free game-based language-learning website for 30+ languages. Students ages 13 and up.
- Canticos has fun, engaging bilingual preschool resources for little ones to learn both English and Spanish. Ages 6 and under.
- Rosetta Stone immerses students in a new language. The program is designed by professional linguists to help students with long-term retention and correct pronunciation — without memorization or drills. Check out your local library's online resources to see if they have membership options with your library card!
- Learn Dutch, Spanish, Turkish, or Polish with short, 10 to 15 minutes on Babbel.
Resources for Educators to Use in the Classroom or at Home
- OK Go Sandbox is an online resource for educators, developed by the University of St. Thomas. It uses music videos and guided challenges to teach students STEAM concepts.
- Flipgrid is a social learning platform that allows educators to ask a question, and students to respond in a video. Students can also respond to one another to create a virtual class discussion.
- In collaboration with K-12 STEM teachers and CDC subject matter experts, the CDC Science Ambassador Fellowship program has designed a series of various educational activities, collectively entitled: Teaching Tomorrow’s Disease Detectives: Science skills for the problem-based world.
- ReadWriteThink has free materials for reading and language arts lesson plans.
- PhET offers free interactive math and science simulations.
- The Space Foundation and Peanuts partnered up to create free lesson plans for teachers or parents. You can download them here on DiscoverSpace.org. Grades PreK to 12.
- Scholastic has free resources for students and teachers, too.
- Statistics In Schools brings school subjects to life using real-world Census Bureau statistics to create materials for use year after year at all grade levels.
- EPIC! has free educational books, quizzes, and learning videos.
- EDSITEment offers free lesson plans and teacher guides.
- National Geographic offers teachers free lessons and activities.
- Arts Edge has arts-centered, standards-based resources for grades K-12.
- Common Lit offers reading passages and text-based questions.
- Library of Congress is a great classroom resource full of materials to use in the classroom.
- Newsela keeps up with current events and stories tailor-made for classroom use.
- Share My Lesson is a database of early childhood through high school tailored lesson plans.
- ClassDojo offers free communication tool for schools and classrooms and is a great way to stay in touch when a campus is closed.
- EdModo is a collaborative space for students and teachers to turn in assignments and track progress.
SmartSocial.com Resources for Parents and Educators
The online resources on this page are wonderful tools for parents and educators to help keep their students educated and entertained. But with access to the internet comes concerns about excessive screen time, talking to strangers, social media addiction, and more.
Take a look at some of SmartSocial.com’s best advice for using social media and the internet responsibly.
How to be a good digital citizen
- 5 Cyber Safety Tips For Parenting In A Digital World
- Get Educated, Supervise Your Kids & Play Games: 3 Cyber Safety Tips For Parents
- 3 Tips to be Safe and Smart on the Web
Social Media app guides and other tips
- Our Comprehensive Parent and Educator Guides for 100+ Most Popular Apps for Students
- The Positive Impact of Using Social Media Together as a Family
- Teen Social Media Safety Tips for Parents
- Best Practices for Students Who Share Photos Online
- 5 Social Media Safety Tips for Parents
Establishing guidelines and rules for social media and smartphones
- Is It Too Late to Establish Smartphone and Social Media Guidelines?
- Why Every Family Needs a Social Media Agreement
- How to Set Social Media Guidelines for Your Family
- 20 Easy Tips for Using Social Media Responsibly
- 11 Safety Experts Share Teen Cell Phone Best Practices
Managing screen time as a family
- How to Use Screen Time Productively
- 5+ Screen Time Management Tips to Prevent Addiction
- How to Handle and Prevent Excessive Screen Time
- Screen Time for Kids: 6 Experts Share Tips
- 7 Ways Parents Can Teach Teens to Have Productive Screen Time
- 5 Screen Time Recommendations for Younger Kids