We’re living through a historical moment right now. Doctors all over the world are begging us to stay home. And now that schools are closing down and people are going remote, parents are scrambling to find ways to keep their kids entertained. But don’t sweat it! These 36 incredible apps, clever games, free classes, educational sites, and virtual museums will keep the little ones busy for hours. Best of all? Many of them are free!
Have Olaf from Frozen Read the Kiddies a Story
Storytime just got ten times cooler now that actor Josh Gad, aka Olaf from “Frozen” and “Frozen II” is reading books to kids on Twitter every night. And the Twitterverse is going bonkers over his kindness! Fred Rogers once said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers.'” In essence, this incredible actor is offering to virtually babysit your kids while we weather the storm.
Get an Astronaut to Read the Kids a Story from Outer Space
The Website Storytime From Space sends children’s books to the International Space Station where astronauts videotape themselves reading the stories for free. Just go onto the site and look under the heading “Story Time Videos” to pick from a handful of stories. Having an astronaut read you a bedtime story is cool.
But what about teaching your own monster to read? Head on to the next slide and get ready to get your mind blown!
Teach Your Monster to Read
Help the kids enhance their reading skills with the Teach Your Monster to Read app. It allows children to create a monster and take it on a journey across three games. Along the way, they’ll get to meet some interesting characters and improve their reading skills.
The app costs $5 but now it’s currently being offered for free. So don’t miss out!
Make, Bake, and Create With the #The100DayProject
Made With Lev was created by Emily Levenson and she came up with #The100DayProject. The project’s purpose is to provide fun project ideas that parents can do with their children, just like Levenson does with her daughter. Follower their Instagram page or go to their site to get ideas on some cool baking and/or creative projects.
Try Mindfulness With Your Kids
The adult mindfulness app Headspace now offers breathing exercises, visualizations, and meditation exercises for kids. The app seeks to help children “be healthy and happy, not just now but for the rest of their lives,” as stated in their site. The app costs $69.99 a year.
But guess what? They currently offer two free trial packages: one that lasts one week and another one that lasts two weeks. We couldn’t think of a more perfect time to give this one a shot!
Take a Virtual Tour of the Best Museums Around the World
Since we can’t go outside, how about taking a virtual tour of over 2,500 museums around the globe from the comfort of your couch? Head straight to Google Arts and Culture and get the kids to visit the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands. You can tour national parks like the Bryce Canyon National Park with just a click of a mouse.
Check Your Mental Health With the Joy Chatbot
Social isolation can take a toll on a child’s mental health, but they don’t always know how to express themselves and tell their parents how they feel. Fortunately, they have Joy, a chatbot that keeps a record of their mental health and gives them an overview of how they’re doing. Joy also offers techniques to help beat anxiety and stress.
Put the Kids in Charge of Conducting Their Own Orchestra
Check out Semi-Conductor, an AI experiment that turns kids into musical conductors for free. The computer’s camera reads the movements of the arms, so all the kiddies have to do is move their arms around at different speeds to conduct an AI orchestra like a pro.
Take the Kids to the Zoo or Aquarium Without Leaving the House
The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute has four live animal webcams, while the Houston Zoo has six webcams for kids to enjoy a live look at the animals currently living there. But those cams pale in comparison with the San Diego Zoo’s 11 animal webcams. Oh, as if that wasn’t enough, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has 10 live webcams, so there’s plenty of free virtual touring to do.
Improve Bedtime With the Sleep Meditations App
The app Sleep Meditations for Kids offers four bedtime stories that were turned into sleep meditations to get the kids to relax and sleep quickly and easily. But don’t worry. The app is free, but there are some in-app purchases for certain stories.
Scholastic Offers Kids Daily Learning Projects
Schools might be closed, but that doesn’t mean kids should take a break from learning. So, give Scholastic a try. Their website offers four separate learning experiences every day to stimulate kids’ reading and thinking skills.
The website adds, “Every day includes four separate learning experiences, each built around a thrilling, meaningful story or video. Kids can do them on their own, with their families, or with their teachers. Just find your grade level and let the learning begin!”
Check out Science Mom’s daily “QuaranTime” Live Stream
From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern standard time, YouTubers “Science Mom” and “Math Dad” live stream a show on their channel that’s full of educational math activities, science lessons, and a bunch of cool stories and interactive games.
Let an Actor Read a Children’s Book to the Kids
Good news! The SAG-AFTRA Foundation has a children’s literacy website that streams videos of celebrities reaching children’s books. Every video offers an activity guide with lessons intended for students from grades K through 5.
GoNoodle Games App Will Keep Kids Off the Couch
GoNoodle offers short interactive activities like dancing, jumping, and yoga and even has games that have motion-sensor movement features so the program can monitor what they’re doing. The app is available for i0S but the company is reportedly coming up with an Android version soon.
Don’t Have an Actual Sticker Book? Then Go Digital
Being cooked up in your house might make it impossible to go to the store to buy actual sticker books. If that’s the case, then try a digital alternative. Go to Lol Disney where kids can design their very one sticker book creations which they can later share with their friends and family.
Learn How to Do Shadow Art the Right Way
Go to the Shadow Art website, click play and then get the kids to try their hand, (literally!) at mastering the art of shadow puppetry. The AI will use the device’s camera to determine if they’re doing it right or if they need to be taught how to improve their shadow puppet techniques.
Visit Mars From the Comfort of Your Own Home
There’s no need to rocket the kids into space. They can visit Mars and explore the Martian surface with the help of a 360-degree high-resolution photo tour assembled from images taken by the Curiosity Rover. It’s literally an out of this world experience.
Hunt for Emojis in the Real World
The Emoji Scavenger Hunt app gives kids the chance to go on a wild treasure hunt for Emojis. The app displays an image of an object. The kids have to go looking for that object.
Once they have it, they’ll hold the object in front of the the camera so the AI can determine if they got it right or not.
Looking for Education Shows and Videos? Give PBS Kids a Try
PBS Kids has a channel that offers educational series 24/7. Looking for some educational videos? They have a video app for that, as well as 200 games on their games app to keep the kiddies entertained for hours. They also have a daily newsletter with tips and activity ideas that allow kids to keep learning at home.
Have a Full-Blown Coloring Party!
The Color Our Collections website has tons of coloring pages made from art displayed at institutions like the RISD Museum, the North Carolina Museum of Art, The New York Academy of Medicine Library, and more. Just click and download the coloring pages in PDF format for free and watch how the stress melts away!
Skype a Scientist Who’ll Answer Your Kids’ Science Questions
Have the kiddies click here to sign up to Skype a Scientist. In a few days, they’ll get an e-mail with their scientist match. Then they can arrange a date and time to chat via e-mail about anything science related.
The program is supported through donation, so feel free to donate via PayPal or Patreon if you can afford it.
Visit Seussville and Explore, Learn, and Play
Seussville allows kids to explore the adorable characters from Dr. Seuss, watch videos, and play some fun educational games. While they’re there, they can also visit Dr.
Seuss’s Word Challenge to expand their vocabulary.
Sing Along to the Most Epic Disney Songs
This Girl Can and Disney Dance-Alongs have teamed up to create fun dance routine videos inspired by some of the coolest Disney characters. What kid could turn down the chance to dance to Kim and Brooke’s “Under the Sea” from “The Little Mermaid” or Emma and Lara’s “Good to be Bad” from “Descendants 3”?
Take a Virtual Trip to the Houston Zoo
The Houston Zoo is closed for the time being, but kids can still take a virtual trip thanks to the six webcams strategically placed there. It might not be the same as being there but it’s definitely the next best thing.
The GOG is Giving 27 Downloadable Games for Free!
GOG, formerly known as Good Old Games, is a digital distribution platform for PC games that allows gamers to download games for free. And now that kids all over the world are stuck at home, GOG is giving away 27 PC games for free. All you have to do is create an account and the kids can play cool classic games like Stargunner and Treasure Adventure Game.
Help the Kids Embrace Their Inner Mad Scientist
You can make tons of science experiments that are safe for kids from the comfort of your own home, like making your own alien monster eggs, rock candy, or slime. Try The Kitchen Pantry Scientist or MommyPoppins.com to get some great ideas for experiments and have a mad-tastic time!
Let Joe Wos Teach the Kids How to Toon
Check out the How to Toon YouTube channel where Joe Wos, a professional cartoonist from Pittsburgh, teaches cartooning classes to kids. The classes take place three days a week, (from Tuesday to Thursday) at 1 p.m. Each class lasts about 30 minutes and teaches kids everything they need to create a cartoon character.
Learn About Animals and Geography at National Geographic Kids
At National Geographic Kids, children can play games, learn about animals, Native Americans, Science, and even Space. If they want to unwind and relax with videos of cute puppies, then check out the Barnyard Babies with Dr. Pol segment, “Lots of Little Labs.”
Get Fit with Sworkit Kid Workouts
Sworkit Kid Workouts is an initiative designed to give kids the chance to stay fit through various workout videos. There are tons of workouts designed to teach kids how to warm-up before exercising and properly cooldown afterwards. The videos keep the little ones active and healthy, all while improving their flexibility and strength.
Learn How to Make Your Own Musical Instruments
Kids can get their music on with a little help from learningliftoff.com. The site offers tons of resources on how to make musical instruments like drums out of tin cans or banjos out of paper plates. Kids can also get free music lessons by going to ArtistWorks.com.
Learn How to Code With Free Classes at Khan Academy
For anyone with kids ages 4 through 18, Khan Academy is a great way to brush up on skills or learn new things. The Academy offers computing, arts and humanities, economics, finance, and math and science classes. It’s free of charge, too.
What more could a parent ask for?
Calm the Kids Down With Yoga
Are the kids getting antsy? Do they need a chill pill? Then have a look at the many videos on the YouTube channel, Yoga with Adrien. The channel has a couple of videos that introduces kids to yoga, and it’s perfect for kids of all ages who desperately need to get their Om on.
Give the Older Kids an Ivy League Education That Won’t Cost a Dime
ClassCentral.com offers over 400 online classes from Ivy League schools like Cornell, Dartmouth and Harvard. Yale has some great courses on Roman architecture, anatomy, and classical music. Best of all, the kids don’t need to apply for college loans because the classes are free.
Challenge Your Mind With Some Brain Games
Lumosity offers games that challenge the mind’s cognitive abilities. The Fit Test is the first step and it challenges a child’s abilities with three games and gives them a score that they can improve upon. They won’t be alone either.
They’ll be part of a global community of about 85 million brain trainers dedicated to bettering themselves.
Binge-Watch Educational Netflix Documentaries for Kids
Some Netflix documentaries are definitely not meant for kids, but there are 44 of them that are family-friendly and highly educational like “72 Cutest Animals.” Kids can also explore the wonders of the ocean in “Blue Planet II” or learn more about Africa’s ecosystems and animals in “Africa.” Here’s a list of the coolest documentaries the whole fam will enjoy.
Learn How to Throw the Ultimate Puppet Performance
Visit the micheleepuppets.org website. They have a vast collection of videos that teach parents and kids how to make puppets out of gloves, socks, or even shadows. Encourage the kiddies to get creative and throw the ultimate puppet show for the rest of the family.
If they really enjoy it, they could live-stream their very own puppet show for the rest of the family.