You may try to limit screen time for your kids, but sometimes you (and they) need the break it provides. Fortunately, there are plenty of enriching activities for kids online. Even better, lots of them are free.
We’ve found a few here so that you and your kids can do some Pokémon-inspired yoga, conduct science experiments, and more. You’re sure to find a perfect solution for filling a rainy day now that school’s no longer in session—or just for getting a little time to yourself.
1. America’s Test Kitchen
Are you serving as full-time chef for your household? Get your kids to help out without them even realizing it. Back in the early days of the pandemic, America’s Test Kitchen put together Kitchen Classroom(Opens in a new window), which has fun videos about food, activities, and, yes, easy-to-follow recipes(Opens in a new window). Kids can get into making their own bread(Opens in a new window), start their day with homemade granola(Opens in a new window), cook up their favorite chicken tenders(Opens in a new window), or make some arepas con queso(Opens in a new window) while they fire up Encanto again.
2. Cosmic Kids Yoga
Yoga and mindfulness have many benefits for kids, but they can be a bit boring to a younger crowd. Enter Jaime Amor, the most engaging yoga instructor you’ll find anywhere. She’s put thousands of hours of content on YouTube on the Cosmic Kids Yoga(Opens in a new window) channel. There are yoga sessions that tell classic and modern tales kids are familiar with (The Wizard of Oz, Frozen), ones that feature popular characters (Spider-Man, Pokémon), and new creations from Amor herself, as well as lots of seasonal and holiday stories. There are playlists for Zen Den and Peace Out features that turn mindfulness and relaxation into fun moments.
For educational games for all ages (well, three to 13), there’s Funbrain(Opens in a new window). The site is sorted by grade and kids can find games, videos, and books for their level.
Fit in some phys ed time with GoNoodle(Opens in a new window). The site has short videos that feature different styles of music with easy dances kids can follow. Videos are organized by channel and can get kids hyped up (NTV(Opens in a new window)) or calm them down (Flow(Opens in a new window)). Aside from the routines, there are plenty of projects to keep kids entertained and occupied. Everything on GoNoodle is the work of child-development specialists, educators, and researchers. You can also access GoNoodle on Roku(Opens in a new window), Apple TV, and mobile devices (Amazon(Opens in a new window), iOS(Opens in a new window), Android(Opens in a new window)).
5. Google Arts & Culture
You don’t have to pay admission fees for kids to walk through museums or burn through your airline miles for them to see the wonders of the world. Google Arts & Culture(Opens in a new window) is filled with a seemingly infinite number of places to “bring” them. Some places to start: meet a Jurassic giant face to face(Opens in a new window), project famous artworks right where you stand(Opens in a new window), or choreograph a dance with AI(Opens in a new window). Google Arts & Culture can be used on your computer(Opens in a new window) or on a phone or tablet (iOS(Opens in a new window), Android(Opens in a new window)).
6. Khan Academy Kids
Kids might not have friends around them during the day, but they will love learning and playing along with Kodi, Ollo, Reya, Sandy, and Peck in Khan Academy Kids(Opens in a new window). The five animal friends promote social and emotional development while kids learn language skills and math. They can also hear stories, play games, color, and draw.
7. Learn With Smithsonian
Learn With Smithsonian(Opens in a new window) has an exhaustive collection of art, history, and science learning experiences and projects. There are virtual zoo visits(Opens in a new window), STEM-friendly activities(Opens in a new window), and explorations into Ancient Egypt(Opens in a new window).
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8. SciShow Kids!
Science comes to life with the SciShow Kids!(Opens in a new window) YouTube channel. Jessi, Mister Brown, Squeaks the Robot Lab Rat, and friends answer questions, interview experts, and conduct some wild experiments, such as recreating an asteroid impact(Opens in a new window) and making your own watercolor paint(Opens in a new window).
9. Storyline Online
Hearing a story read aloud is a pleasure, but especially so when it’s being read by celebrated actors. Storyline Online(Opens in a new window) lets your kids (and you) finally hear Ernest Borgnine read The Rainbow Fish(Opens in a new window) or David Harbour read Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book)(Opens in a new window).
10. Time for Kids
News literacy is an important early lesson for kids, but the news is overwhelming enough for adults. Time for Kids(Opens in a new window) solves this with news stories that are filtered by grade as soon as you get to the site. You can choose from kindergarten to first grade, second grade, third to fourth grade, and fifth to sixth grade.
11. Tubi for Kids
Tubi, one of PCMag’s top picks for free streaming services, has a nice selection for kids(Opens in a new window), too. Though much of it might be more familiar to parents than kids (Inspector Gadget!), they can also watch cartoon versions of books that have been turned into cartoons; Madeline(Opens in a new window), Eloise(Opens in a new window), and Babar(Opens in a new window) are all delightful.
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