41 Open Ed Resources Kids Love

One of the best things the Internet blessed us with (besides Maru the box-loving cat) involves increased educational opportunities for children and adults alike. Although some progress still needs to be made when it comes to accessibility opening lessons up to special needs learners, there are plenty of resources for engaging a wide variety of absorption styles. Whether you're a teacher looking to incorporate new media into a classroom setting, a homeschooling family, or a parent hoping to supplement the day's formal coursework, the following resources offer some particularly great examples of using digital technology to get kids exploring the universe. They're fun. They're free. And they feature a diverse selection of topics and strategies, meaning almost every user will find something of interest.

  1. Tux Paint:

    Art and technology collide in a super fun (and super free!) program devoted to helping kids build the computer and creative literacy needed to succeed.
  2. Python4Kids:

    Suitable for ages 8 and up, Python4Kids offers quick, simple tutorials getting curious, young computer scientists into the bare basics of the eponymous programming language.

  3. Platinum Arts Sandbox 3D Game Maker:

    This is another great melding of "left-brained" and "right-brained" stimulation challenging both kids and parents to develop their very own computer games right at home.

  4. GettyGames:

    Explore the Getty Museum's world-famous holdings through a few different games as well as instructions on whipping up lush works of art right at home.

  5. Internet Archive:

    The biggest library in the world overflows with videos, images, articles, and other educational resources suitable for all ages and learning styles.

  6. Robert Krampf: The Happy Scientist:

    Not everything available through this gentle, bearded scientist's website is free, but he still posts some highly informative photos, videos, and other resources completely gratis!

  7. SnagFilms:

    When desiring some edifying viewing, send the kidlets over to SnagFilms to watch documentaries both obscure and Oscar-winning.

  8. Canorus:

    Encourage musically-inclined children to compose their own suites in multiple formats — including MIDI — and understand the core components of the auditory arts.

  9. Project Gutenberg:

    Bibliophiliacs adore Project Gutenberg for its devotion to bringing the world public domain classics (and not-so-classics) in multiple digital formats; perfect for kids who want to explore the world of reading.

  10. Federal Resources for Educational Excellence:

    Browse the U.S. government's holdings of educational resources promoting a wide range of subjects through almost any media imaginable.
  11. Smithsonian Kids:

    One of the nation's foremost educational institutions provides curious kids with numerous reads, games, wikis, videos, and other stimulating conduits pertaining to pretty much every academic area imaginable.

  12. The Kids Open Dictionary Builder:

    Nurture budding wordsmiths with this project meant to cobble together a highly informative, convenient dictionary for students; encourage kids to participate by formulating their own definitions and sharing them with other participants.

  13. Open Culture:

    No matter the subject or skill level, chances are Open Culture links up to something of academic value; along with the expected cache of multimedia, it also points users in the direction of free online classes.

  14. Discovery Kids:

    The Discovery Channel piques the interest of young visitors through educational games, quizzes, puzzles, projects, and fact sheets about the sciences — and yes, they involve more than just sharks!

  15. TED:

    Tune in to a dazzling array of video lectures and musical performances featuring highly accessible glimpses into almost every subjects kids would find riveting.

  16. PBS Kids:

    Suitable for very young children, PBS Kids' offerings — like games and videos — teach them basic life skills, literacy, and simple math and science lessons.

  17. Stellarium:

    Stargaze from the comforts of the computer with this three-dimensional planetarium mapping out all the astronomical wonders the night sky offers.

  18. Young Explorers:

    The British Museum, an extensive (and obviously quite controversial) repository of archaeological and cultural marvels, pulls from its diverse holdings to offer lessons in history and culture.

  19. SchoolForge.net:

    With so many free games and educational resources covering almost every basic school subject imaginable, students are likely to find something appealing to download and explore.

  20. MetMedia Kid Zone:

    Through podcasts and other audio, as well as interactive activities, the Metropolitan Museum of Art educates kids (and adults) about the wondrous world of creative expression.
  21. YouTube EDU:

    Multiple educational institutions from the primary to the college level contribute videos of lectures and lessons about the most common academic fields — and maybe a few not-so-common ones as well.

  22. Dyscover:

    Very few open source educational resources explicitly address the special needs of learning disabled children, meaning Dyscover stands out for making learning more accessible. It boasts numerous teaching strategies for learning letters, numbers, vocabulary, and more to suit different styles.

  23. Kids.net.au:

    Parents and teachers breathe a sigh of relief when children explore the Internet's myriad offerings (as well as dictionaries, thesauri, and language translators) without worrying about harmful content.

  24. FunBrain.com:

    Kids can easily lose hours of their time on one of the most popular websites hosting educational games, interactive books, and plenty more resources featuring their favorite characters and subjects.

  25. ToonDo:

    This fun, easy-to-use storytelling tool uses the comic strip format to get users creating their very own narratives, honing both their literary and artistic acumen.

  26. Scratch:

    MIT developers drew up an entire programming language specifically for children with the hopes of getting their computer literacy started early.

  27. San Diego Zoo Kids:

    For the animal lovers out there, one of the country's most popular zoos hosts a seriously amazing portal for kids to learn all about their favorites, with games, webcams, career information, videos, activities both online and off, and more.

  28. Free Rice:

    Free Rice donates food to impoverished nations for every right answer; it shouldn't be the only giving one does, but the site educates about different subjects while teaching users how to act as responsible global citizens.

  29. Kids@Random:

    Favorite children's characters like the Berenstein Bears, Thomas the Tank Engine, and the crews from Disney, Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, Shining Time Station, and more come alive through Random House's online cache of games, activities, contests, videos, and other media.

  30. KidsKnowIt.com:

    Music, movies, games and more dominate one of the Internet's leading portals for engaging educational resources that don't cost a penny.
  31. Languagegames.org:

    Build vocabulary in five different languages (English, Spanish, French, German, and Italian) through word searches, crosswords, and hangman.

  32. Khan Academy:

    Khan Academy's popularity has swelled to include well over 3,200 video lessons in pretty much every topic, reaching out toward pretty much every ability level.

  33. founding dreams:

    Here's another great site swimming in games regarding multiple academic areas (especially math) and catering to kindergartners through sixth graders.

  34. Fisher-Price Online Games & Activities:

    Parents and their infants, toddlers, and preschoolers gather here for gentle games about creativity and the basics of problem-solving, letters, numbers, music, healthy choices and more.

  35. Bill Nye the Science Guy:

    Worksheets about science and math, videos, and instructions for some seriously cool DIY experiments sit right on the main Internet hub for the beloved popular science buff.

  36. Piano Lessons 4 Children:

    Maria Miller posts videos and song sheets for kids hoping to get started on the most basic musical concepts.

  37. ChessKIDS Academy:

    Let kids pick up all the core components of this ancient strategy game, which nurtures critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

  38. Family Playground and The Stacks:

    Hosted by Scholastic, Family Playground (for ages 3 through 7) and The Stacks (for ages 8 through 12) use their most famous characters and titles to present engaging educational activities promoting literacy — among other subjects, too, of course.

  39. National Geographic Kids:

    From animals and ecosystems to ancient and contemporary cultures, the National Geographic Team brings eager, young minds some excellent lessons via the usual media outposts.

  40. Documentary Heaven:

    Another excellent site hosting thousands of educational documentaries about nearly everything kids want to explore.