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Online activities for kids: 40 free & cheap ways to keep kids busy

Online activities for kids: 40 free & cheap ways to keep kids busy
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Image Credit: Dreamstime
Sarah Goodrum |

Schools nationwide going on spring break. Normally, around this time, families head to warmer climates to enjoy some fun in the sun. However, if you’re holding back on travel due to the pandemic, you may be wondering what you can do at home without breaking the bank. Luckily, there are organizations offering learning services and indoor activities for free or cheap right now. These activities range from virtual museum visits to STEM projects.

See the list below for the best activities for kids we’ve found today. As more companies announce programs, we’ll update this list. Check your local library’s website for even more free kids activity ideas.

12-Story Library: Check out 12-Story Library for free access to hundreds of eBooks and digital resources.

ABC Mouse: Save 49% on an annual subscription for a limited time. Also, get a free 30-day trial through this link!

Access Mars: Google in collaboration with NASA offers a free tour of a 3D replica of Mars recorded by the curiosity rover.

Adventure Academy: Enjoy a 30-day free trial of the Adventure Academy online learning program.

ArtsEdge: This site offers engaging resources for arts education.

BrainPOP: This site offers animated educational videos covering a range of subjects including English, math, science, tech and more.

California Science Center: Check out these easy to follow kids activities using household supplies.

The China Guide: Take a free virtual tour of the Great Wall of China.

Cincinnati Zoo: The Cincinnati Zoo is offering daily Home Safari Facebook Lives each weekday at 3pm ET.

CoolMath: Enjoy tons of fun math games for kids of all ages!

Curiosity Stream: Enjoy thousands of documentaries for $20 per year.

Exploratorium: Teach kids about science and art in new and exciting ways with this site.

Fun Brain: Kids can enjoy educational videos, games and online books on this site. Activities are available for kids in kindergarten through 8th grade.

Georgia Aquarium: The Georgia Aquarium is offering live webcam viewings of beluga whales, jellyfish, sea otters and more.

Google Arts and Culture: Google has partnered with over 2,500 museums and art galleries around the world to offer free virtual tours of their spaces.

Highlights for Kids: This kids magazine offers online ways to read, craft and have fun with your kids right at home.

How Stuff Works: Enjoy interesting articles that answer all kinds of questions like, “Why is the sky blue?” and “Do fish get thirsty?”

Khan Academy: Kahn Academy provides high-quality learning resources plus daily schedules for kids 4 through 18 for free.

Kanopy: Stream thousands of films for free through your local library! Check to see if your library participates here.

The Kidz Page: Kids can enjoy over 5,000 games and activities including puzzles, coloring pages, math games and more.

Kiwi Co: Take 30% off your first month when you sign up for the site’s email list.

Math Games: Visit math games for free math worksheets, practice quizzes and fun interactive content for kids.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art: MetKids offers a way for kids to engage in the world of art with tons of information and activities to enjoy.

Monterey Bay Aquarium: This aquarium as 9 live camera feeds to choose from so you can experience the ocean no matter where you are.

My Storybook: Kids who like to write will enjoy this service which allows kids to write and create their own online eBook.

National Geographic Kids: Learn interesting animal facts, watch animal videos and play animal games all for free on the National Geographic Kids site.

National Parks Service: Explore Yellowstone National Park with free virtual tours of some of the main attractions.

Nick Jr.: Find free printables, fun games and activities featuring your child’s favorite Nick Jr. characters.

OLogy: This site, from the Museum of Natural History, offers games and activities covering a range of science topics.

PBS Kids: This site has a collection of learning resources covering many topics for kids Pre-K to 6th grade.

ReadWriteThink: This site has tons of resources for parents with kids grades K-12 specifically focusing on language arts.

San Diego Zoo: Watch live feeds of baboons, penguins, polar bears, apes, koalas and more!

Scholastic: Scholastic is offering free educational activities for kids from Pre-K to grades 6+.

Scratch: This site gives kids 8 to 16 an introduction to coding with activities for programming interactive stories, games and animations.

Sesame Street: Kids can enjoy video clips and play games that help them learn numbers, colors and more.

Speed Racers: Speed Racers is a NASA funded, award-winning preschool TV show allowing kids to explore our solar system. Along with the show, parents can access online learning activities and lesson plans for their kids.

Starfall: This site offers learning games and activities for kids pre-K through 3rd grade covering math, reading, music and more.

Storybird: Improve your child’s writing skills with a 7-day free trial of Storybird. This site offers challenges to become a better writer with prompts, lessons, video tutorials, quizzes and more.

Time for Kids: Time is offering a digital library for kids for $19.99 a year.

Yosemite: Travel through the trails of Yosemite with this free virtual tour.

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