The 12 Best Free Learning Websites for Kids in 2020

Unique and engaging sites that will spark a love of learning in your child

Online learning is here to stay but it can get expensive if you're not careful. We've compiled a list of websites that offer completely free learning options to help your kids study the subjects you feel they need.

Whether you're new to homeschooling or have been doing it for years, it's always helpful to have new options on hand to engage kids.

This list offers suggestions for pre-k, elementary, middle, and high school students. We've left out the most obvious sites, such as Khan Academy, in favor of offering you other unique, engaging options that include basics like reading, science and math but run the gamut from art history to music.

01
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Best for History and Art Fans: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The #metforkids Time Machine.
What We Like
  • Extremely easy to navigate.

  • Turns art history into fun, simple lessons.

  • Multiple ways to engage kids of all ages.

What We Don't Like
  • We can't find one thing we don't like.

The Met is famous for fashion but a well-kept secret is its website for kids, #metkids. The site offers three different ways to engage kids in historical art facts: A clickable map that lets kids explore 5,000 years of art from around the world; a time machine lets them select different eras to explore; and a video section offers lessons on everything from making a stained glass window (kid-style) to learning about children who live in other parts of the world.

02
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Best Site for Elementary Ages: National Geographic Kids

Nat Geo for Kids Countries page
What We Like
  • A wide variety of learning formats.

  • Factual information presented in entertaining ways.

What We Don't Like
  • It can be a bit difficult to find a desired subject in a specific format.

National Geographic is known for its factual information and its site for kids is no different. What's great about this site is that it offers lessons in gaming, video, and photo formats. Kids of all ages appreciate the short written lessons that accompany the visuals and even the quizzes on the site are designed to engage minds with short attention spans.

03
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Best for High Schoolers: Open Culture

Open Culture home page
What We Like
  • Thousands of available courses.

  • Easy to use alphabetical list of topics.

What We Don't Like
  • Ads. Ads. Ads.

  • You're not always sure where you'll end up online.

Open Culture compiles free upper level classes from universities all over the world and offers the links to users. Study archaeology from the University of Reading, public speaking from Missouri State, or psychiatry and mental health from the University of Sydney plus thousands of other topics. Classes are offered in both written and online formats (including audio books).

04
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Best for Finding Topics by Grade Level: Funbrain

Funbrain home page
What We Like
  • Offers fun ways to problem-solve.

  • Is gated by grade level.

What We Don't Like
  • It's a little tricky to find certain subjects sometimes.

  • Lots of ads.

If you're looking for a site that offers math and reading options, plus offers games, videos and a general online playground, you've come to the right place. Funbrain is for kids from Pre-K through 8th grade and offers hundreds of free interactive games, books, videos, and printables.

05
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Best for Learning about Communities: Whyville

Screenshot of the Whyville website.
What We Like
  • Lots of unique activities to engage young minds.

  • It's sponsored to avoid ads.

  • You can explore the site on a limited guest account.

What We Don't Like
  • It's fairly juvenile for most teens.

Created by scientists, Whyville is a site for kds from 3rd to 8th grades. It offers an online community that engages kids by letting them explore, create and solve problems. They can learn to protect coral reefs, use a Whyville currency, participate in the Whyville Senate, and more.

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Best for Pre-K & Early Elementary Ages: Toy Theater

Toy Theater home page
What We Like
  • Unique approach to educational games.

  • Works on computer, laptops, and mobile devices.

What We Don't Like
  • You can't search by age or grade.

  • Ads. (But they aren't terribly distracting.)

If you're looking for a site that has games that are out-of-the-box, try Toy Theater. These aren't racing games; they focus on teaching children about different topics such as learning time, the alphabet, measurement, numbers, and much more. The games are very easy to play and cover math, reading, art, and music using online manipulatives and other interactive options.

07
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Best for Learning about the World: The Old Farmer's Almanac for Kids

Screenshot of the Old Farmer's Almanac website for kids.
What We Like
  • Lessons offered are hard to find elsewhere.

  • Uses history, earth, and animals to engage young minds.

What We Don't Like
  • It's hard to search for specific topics.

  • Kids should be able to read if parents can't assist.

This site is just as you'd imagine but updated for the 21st century. It has a daily calendar to help kids learn what happened in history on every day of the year, teaches them about the night sky, clouds, and daily weather, and uses history and animals to teach a variety of lessons. The site is visually friendly and offers information in short chunks, which is great for elementary ages.

08
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Best for Storytime: Storyline Online

Storyline Online home page
What We Like
  • You can search stories by author, reader, title or run time.

  • The videos and storytellers are excellent quality.

What We Don't Like
  • The selection is limited.

  • The filter option doesn't always return great results.

This site from the SAG-AFTRA Foundation features actors reading stories aloud. It's a great option to use when parents need a break; just turn up the volume or give your child headphones and let the storyteller take over in a short video. Captions are provided, which are great for helping younger kids start to read and for reinforcing reading for older children. The videos are well-illustrated and the audio is well-done, so it engages children for the entirety of the video.

09
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Best for Music Lovers: Chrome Music Lab

Chrome Music Lab home page
What We Like
  • Encourages creativity.

  • Offers multiple, unique musical options.

  • No registration required.

What We Don't Like
  • It's a bit difficult to understand and use if you're not a music aficionado.

This site is all about tunes. Making them, practicing them, writing songs, and more. What's unique about this site is that it encourages kids to move, to make and practice patterns, compose their own music, and even pull in math and science at times. This Twitter feed gives you an idea of the many ways the lab is used by teachers.

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Best for Online Quizzes & Assessing Development: TurtleDiary

TurtleDiary home page
What We Like
  • Online quizzes.

  • Online assessments to help parents gauge progress.

  • Includes games, videos, printables and teaching tools.

What We Don't Like
  • It only goes to fifth grade level.

If you have a tough time getting your child to practice math, language arts, or science or if you struggle assessing their skill level, check out this site. It offers a lot of learning options but the online quizzes remove the need for printing out a ton of worksheets and the online assessments help parents better gauge where a child's strengths and weaknesses are. The site is simple and easy to use, so kids enjoy hanging out on it.

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Best for Middle School Math: DeltaMath

DeltaMath Assignments page
What We Like
  • Searchable by modules or common core standards.

  • Assignments teach children as they go along.

  • Hundreds of math topics provided.

What We Don't Like
  • It's free but you do need to set up an account to get in and see how the site works.

  • Only for sixth grade and up.

If you're a parent whose strong suit is anything other than math, this is the site you need to teach math to your kids. Simple create a teacher account, create assignments for your kids, and let the site do all the work. If the child answers a question incorrectly, the site will give them prompts or answers to help them see where the error was so they can correct it.

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Best for Activity & Movement: GoNoodle

GoNoodle home page
What We Like
  • It's designed to get kids moving.

  • Combines activities kids enjoy to encourage physical movement.

  • Focuses on positive health and happiness.

What We Don't Like
  • The site is difficult to navigate.

  • Activities are limited (although they are creative!)

Since kids love to play games and watch videos, why not combine both into an educational opportunity that encourages physical movement? That's the premise behind GoNoodle, a site that also offers activities involving healthy tips and uses movement to help with subjects like math, too.