With all the school closings due to the COVID-19 epidemic, thousands of parents have become home educators overnight. And while many school districts offer some sort of distance education, parents are still struggling to find lesson plans, educational activities, DIY projects, indoor activities, science experiments, and stimulating entertainment. the brain or the boredom of keeping kids entertained while everyone stays at home. This is especially true for young children because it is so difficult to find content suitable for their age and grade – and they easily lose interest if something doesn’t catch them right away.
Education Companies Offering Free Subscriptions
Educational companies to the rescue! Many apps, websites, and program planners have cut their payment walls and offered their services for free to families affected by the school closings. Others were still free, but seem all the more essential now. And even a few entertainment companies have launched home learning centers.
These 33 educational companies currently offer free subscriptions and activities for children. And, while many other apps and websites offer free services only to teachers and school districts, these go directly to parents – you don’t need an educator account to start using them. From scientific experiments to daily readings aloud to interactive video courses on cooking and music, they will fill the days with entertaining enrichment.
PBS Kids Daily Newsletter
While there is always child-friendly content on PBS Kids, the organization goes the extra mile during school closings: it creates a newsletter that gives parents ideas for learning activities at make at home. A new newsletter arrives every day of the week.
The Daily Splash
Litton Entertainment has combed through its family-friendly, Emmy-winning TV programming, and now offers a daily newsletter where a half-hour educational program is sent to your inbox every day of the week. Stars like Miranda Cosgrove, Dylan Dreyer, Jeff Corwin, Jack Hanna, Mo Rocca cover subjects such as nature, STEM, travel, well-being and history.
Tinkergarten at Home
If you subscribe to their mailing list, Tinkergarten will send you weekly activity plans designed to bring real kids outside. You can see a sample plan before deciding if it is right for your family.
The story at home
History offers a series of free videos that include a quick history lesson, as well as ideas for follow-up activities that parents and children can do at home. The first, and rightly so, concerns the history of handwashing. New videos are available every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 11 a.m.ET, and special guests include Laurence Fishburne, Padma Lakshmi, Billie Jean King and Max Brooks, among others.
Highlights @ Home
Highlights offers a twice-weekly collection of family-themed stories, puzzles, videos, craft ideas, and activities. Each edition has a theme, like finding your funny bone or staying connected with your loved ones.
NatGeo @ Home
National Geographic has launched its own home education center, which includes animal videos, DIY projects, live lectures from National Geographic Explorers and fun quizzes. It is definitely a destination for a child in love with nature.
Sesame Workshop “Caring for Each Other”
The Sesame Workshop “Caring for Each Other” portal offers resources to help families understand the COVID-19 epidemic. It also contains coloring pages with tips on how to stay healthy, videos on how to “breathe your stomach” if you are stressed, and learning activities you can do at home.
The Lion King experience
Broadway The Lion King has always offered drama lessons for children, but normally you would have to pay for them and do them in class. Now they have adapted their program so that families can do it at home for free – just download the PDF guides. There are two categories: one for children 8 to 11 years of age and one for children 12 to 15 years of age.
EduHam at home
If Hamilton sparked interest in the founding of our country, the show partnered with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History for a home version of its education program in Hamilton (EduHam). You get a diverse selection of primary sources, tips on how to help students create their own work, as well as interviews and videos with Lin-Manuel Miranda. Students are encouraged to submit their own raps and videos on the subject, some of which will be shared on social media.
The Moth Home Schooled
Famous literary organization The Moth will now publish a new history video with an educational guide twice a week. It is perfect for older students who are considering a future in creative writing.
Girl scouts at home
We know you can buy cookies at home, but Girl Scouts also offer a multitude of home activity ideas. You can browse by academic level or by the subject of interest, and the activities cover STEM, life skills, entrepreneurship and the outdoors, among others.
Cosmic Kids Yoga
Likewise, Cosmic Kids yoga videos are good for a few minutes for you to work on – we mean, a nice break from stretching and mindfulness in the midst of all academic learning. The app requires a subscription, but you can watch the videos on YouTube.
You can sort these always free math games by grade level or by the skill you want to work on. You can also print free spreadsheets.
Outschool offers live online courses for ages 3 to 18, and for a limited time due to a large donation, it enrolls families affected by school closings in $ 1 million of online courses (limit $ 50 per family). And if you’re not among the lucky ones, classes are still very affordable – some cost as little as $ 5 per class.
The always free app (which offers additional paid features) teaches foreign languages with small lessons. Users earn points for correct answers of a “higher level”, providing additional motivation to stay there.
Bamboo works with Alexa from Amazon to do free voice-based activities around math, music, social studies and stories. If you sign up on Bamboo Grove, it can track your child’s progress and give rewards.
Beanstalk, which offers interactive online courses for preschoolers, offers free subscriptions for the duration of the COVID-19 epidemic. Recently taught courses include “How Rainbows Work” and “Everything on Our Lips”.
With this always free application, children can have fun with coding and possibly program their own interactive stories and games. The application is intended for children from 5 to 7 years old, then they can switch to normal Scratch.
During school closings, Rosetta Stone will provide three months of free language learning to all elementary, middle and high school students. The program teaches the language by immersion, with instant feedback and progress reports.
Mystery Science has gone through its past lessons and drawn the ones that were easiest to reproduce at home. Activities range from five-minute mini-lessons (including one titled “How the hand sanitizer kills germs”, which seems appropriate right now), to full courses of 45 to 90 minutes with experiments practice.
This site offers 7,000 free videos for middle and high school students. You can browse playlists in any of the 13 areas, or you can browse by collection, such as NASA’s collection of science videos.
Bring the curious curiosity of TED Talks to school age with TED-Ed. There are free resources for students, and it also provides parents with a daily TED-Ed activity. That can be a practical and interactive lesson they can do with their children.
Audible has a freehub, Audible Stories, where children can listen to great literary works. The selections cover the age range, from Beatrix Potter and Winnie the Pooh to Moby dick and C.S. Lewis.
The people behind Good night stories for rebellious girls have gathered resources at home for families. Activities include how to write a business plan, how to write a computer program, how to plant a garden, etc.
RV App Studios
Learning apps from RV App Studios, launched by a parent as a passionate project, are always free and are downloaded by parents 3 million times a month. One app, ABC Kids Tracing, and Phonics won Google Play’s “Best Games of 2016” distinction.
Marco Polo World School
The educational application Marco Polo World School has extended its trial period from 7 to 30 days. So you can try it for a month without paying. The interactive activities focus on creativity, collaboration, and communication for children from 3 to 7 years old.
Camp Hello Bello
Kristen Bell and the Hello Bello company of Dax Shepard intervene to create a virtual summer camp. Every day there is a range of Livestream events (from songs to dance parties). Also craft ideas, coloring pages, and other activities.