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12 Free Learning Apps and Websites for Kids at Home This Summer

Share high-quality resources with families for interest-driven independent learning.

Erin Wilkey Oh | May 18, 2021

After a school year dominated by technology, parents and caregivers may be ready for their kids to take a long break from devices. However, students may be eager to flex their tech skills with some interest-driven independent play and exploration. Help guide students' online time this summer by sharing a few well-chosen, high-quality apps and websites with parents and caregivers. Families can download or bookmark these on kids' devices to ensure any screen time kids do have is time well spent.

The apps and websites listed here offer a nice mix of absorbing gameplay and first-rate learning -- sure to please kids and adults alike. Plus, they're all free!

Interest-driven reading

Dotopedia

Good for: Reading, writing, creativity
Grades: 1-5
Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android

Based on the character from the Dot. TV show and book, Dotopedia is a collaboration app kids can use to read about everything from butterflies to grandparents, or to create articles of their own.

Global Oneness Project

Good for: Reading, cultural awareness, empathy
Grades: 9-12
Platforms: Website

The stories on this website range from short videos and films to photo essays, articles, and virtual reality experiences. Each offers culturally diverse, inspiring content that helps build knowledge and empathy.

Libby, by Overdrive

Good for: Reading
Grades: K-12
Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android

This app allows students to browse and borrow ebooks and audiobooks from public libraries for free. Families can set the audience preference to juvenile or young adult to put some limits on the content kids can access.

Math games

ChessKid

Good for: Critical thinking, math
Grades: K-12
Platforms: Website

ChessKid teaches the game of chess with lessons and videos that cover topics including an introduction of each chess piece, opening offensive and defensive strategies, and common attacking patterns.

Khan Academy Kids

Good for: Math, literacy, social and emotional learning
Grades: Pre-K-2
Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

This collection of videos, songs, and activities covers a lot of ground in a creative, highly accessible format.

Math Snacks

Good for: Math, critical thinking
Grades: 3-8
Platforms: Website

This fun site offers older elementary and middle schooler students online math games and animations that will keep them engaged with action-packed graphics, witty storylines, and upbeat music.

Pet Bingo by Duck Duck Moose

Good for: Math
Grades: K-4
Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android

Pet Bingo by Duck Duck Moose covers a broad range of math skills, from adding one-digit numbers to dividing double digits.

Mental health and emotional well-being

Smiling Mind

Good for: Social and emotional learning
Grades: 8-12
Platforms: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android

Teens can learn to focus on their breathing, body signals, and senses with hundreds of meditations for a wide variety of situations.

YouHue

Good for: Social and emotional learning
Grades: 1-8
Platforms: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Mac Apps

YouHue is an easy way for kids to check in with their emotions and learn to better identify and communicate their feelings.

 

STEM and coding

Made with Code

Good for: Coding, creativity, STEM
Grades: 4-12
Platforms: Website

Google's Made with Code introduces students to the world of coding through resources including tutorials, videos, partner projects, and community connections.

Peep Ciencias: Colores

Good for: Science, Spanish
Grades: Pre-K-2
Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android

Part of a series of free bilingual learning apps, Peep Ciencias: Colores engages young kids with animated videos about colors. Plus, grown-ups get guidance on how to explore key concepts with kids through questions, conversations, exploration, and activities.

Scratch

Good for: Coding, STEM
Grades: 1-12
Platforms: Website

This free, downloadable application gives students a taste of programming as they combine graphics, photos, music, and sound to create simple, interactive animations and games.