Updated September 14, 2015! Technology is becoming more and more a part of education. There are so many great websites for children to play and learn on. I absolutely loved using a wide variety of websites in my classroom. Best thing about many of these websites is that children enjoy playing them and do not see them as working on "school stuff." The free resources listed here are amazing! Children will love playing, while parents will enjoy watching the learning and engagement that occurs.
Our original list was ten sites, and it has now grown to 22 great FREE educational sites.
ABCya.com: A ton of educational games and activities for grades K-5.
Ask Dr. Universe: This site is brand new from Washington State University, and it's super fun! Ask your own question, or read the questions already on the site. It's interactive and free!
BrainPop (free stuff): I know that the BrainPop website has a subscription service to get to their extended content. But have you checked out the free content that is available? Free educational BrainPop movies and games.
Clifford the Big Red Dog: Another great Scholastic website, this time featuring our favorite big red dog, Clifford. Plenty of games and printables to entertain your little ones. Maybe you can answer the question — how DID Clifford grow so big?
Cool Math 4 Kids: Lots of fun math games on a wide range of math concepts. My students have always loved playing games on this site. There is even a section for children ages 3-5. The games range in difficulty level throughout the site, and it is highly engaging for kids.
Disney Junior: Games and stories and projects all centered around your child's favorite Disney Junior characters. Whether they are playing with Jake and the Neverland Pirates or coloring with Sophia the First, your kids won't even realize that they are learning.
Dogo News: A great free site for upper elementary and beyond, with news articles and book and movie reviews! My kids love staying up on current events, and Dogo News is safe to let them browse on their own.
Duolingo: We love the Duolingo app here at Smart Apps For Kids, but did you know there's a website, too? Perfect for classrooms or at home! Get extra practice for a language class in school, or learn a new language for fun. Great for parents, too!
Fun Brain: So much fun stuff that the kids might not even realize you are sneaking some learning in.
Highlights Kids: I can remember, way back in the day when I was a child, reading the Highlights magazines in the waiting room at the pediatrician’s office. Now kids have access to the same kind of great content online.
Inkless Tales: This website was started by one lady who wanted to make a difference world-wide. She brings great educational games, stories, and projects to you for free. Plus you can ask her anything you want (within reason, I assume), and she will find out the answer for you.
The Magic School Bus: Games and activities based on the classic series of Magic School Bus books. There is a great parent/teacher section that can help you develop some more structured activities to keep your kiddo in the learning frame of mind.
Make Me Genius: A wide range of science videos sorted by grade level. Children can learn about plants, animals, seasons and much more.
National Geographic Kids: The kind of excellent offering you would expect from National Geographic. Videos, games, articles and more all designed to enrich your kids’ minds.
NGA Kids: Help introduce your children to art and art history. There are also interactive art projects you can make online.
PBS Kids: Almost limitless activities from all of your kids’ favorite PBS shows. It’s not just Sesame Street around here. Something for everybody.
Random House Kids: Lots of fabulous games and activities based on your favorite Random House books. The games and activities are free, and you can purchase books on their site also.
ReadWriteThink: Resources for the classroom and professional development, along with materials for parents and afterschool to help support and reinforce your child's learning plan.
Seussville: Another website with great games and activites based on books your kids probably already know. You can also purchase books on the site.
Scholastic: Scholastic provides the world with great books, and now they are providing wonderful student activities for free on their website. Check out the fun the site has to offer!
Scratch: Scratch Jr. is a free app for coding, but there's also a website designed for ages 7-adult! Learn coding from MIT in a fun, interactive way.
Spelling City: Need to take practice spelling tests? This site is a perfect option. The weekly spelling list can be entered for a child to practice on the site. There are more paid options on the site, but the free practice is wonderful.
Starfall: A reading website that takes your kids all the way from ABCs up to reading on their own.
Storyline Online: Presented by the Screen Actors' Guild, Storyline Online features actors reading stories out loud for kids to enjoy. There are dozens of books available. I think my favorite reader was Robert Guillaume.
Wonderopolis: This website has allowed us to answer questions we didn’t even know we had. “Can one bad apple spoil the whole bunch?” or “Why don’t spiders get caught in their own webs?” This website is lots of fun for curious minds.
Now, I know I said this whole list would be free websites, but I feel like I would be failing y'all if I didn't at least mention the truly excellent website, ABCmouse. This is the most comprehensive website I have found with a ton of entertaining educational content for my preschooler. I gave the app 4 ½ stars when I reviewed it. And the app is a portal to this incredible website. There is a 30-day free trial, and then afterward it is $7.95/month or $79.00/year. If there is one I would recommend paying for it is this one.
If you are looking for educational engaging ideas for your children, take a look at a few of these websites to help keep them on track and ready to learn.
Heather S. jumped in to add to Kelli's list. She is missing having an excuse to play on these sites in her elementary classroom, since she now teaches high school.