11 engaging learning tools & online options for kids

boy learning online with laptop computer

With every door that closes, another opens... 

It’s an optimistic way of viewing things, but the saying often rings true. 

Today, these “closing doors” are sealing off entry to schools and education centers worldwide, accelerating the annual battle formally only known as “summer brain drain” or the “summer slide” and presenting us parents with the challenge of keeping our students sharp for the next few weeks and potentially months. 

But the door that’s opening?

It’s the opportunity for kids to try something that is only becoming more and more popular by the day. Something that you’ve probably heard about but haven’t tried, or have tried but in a limited capacity—online learning!

Online learning tools for kids

So, here is a list of different learning tools for kids; opportunities bucketed by type and format. We will be adding to the list as we hear and become aware of more, so be sure to check back often. 

  • BrainPop
  • iD Tech Online Private Lessons
  • Virtual Tech Camps
  • Code.org
  • Semesters After School
  • YouTube Kids
  • Time for Kids
  • e-Learning for Kids
  • Duolingo
  • PBS Kids
  • National Geographic
  • Scholastic Learn at Home

1. BrainPop

First up, BrainPop, where you can “make any room a classroom” thanks to online lessons in science, engineering and tech, arts, math, and much more. The cool thing about BrainPop is the all-encompassing experience that is offered within any subject. 

For instance, not only are there more than enough lessons to keep kids busy, but each module presents a structured palette of tools, including an explainer video and related reading pieces, worksheets, and vocabulary flash cards for kids to research and complete on their own. And, of course, a quiz to test knowledge when all is said and done. 

2. Online Private Lessons from iD Tech

But, with something like iD Tech’s Online Private Lessons, kids learn through tailored 1-on-1 lessons from iD certified instructors. Yes, 1-on-1, "live" learning from real people. These are tech rockstars and top talent from elite universities who are equipped to help transform your child's interests into a potential tech career. 

Whether you want your child to try coding classes held online or a private coding tutor, or dive into game design, 3D modeling, and more, sessions are available year-round and can be booked according to your schedule.

3. Virtual Tech Camps

If you're unfamiliar with the concept of a tech summer camp, it can be described as summer camp fun blended with courses and opportunities for kids and teens to learn coding, game design, robotics, and more.

So, then, a virtual tech camp is all of that, but now the collaborative spirit of the in-person program is moved online, with campers now experiencing structured tech courses alongside others, all from the comfort of home. 

Specifically, Virtual Tech Camp from iD Tech is the perfect online learning option for those on spring break or enduring a school closure who want to continue learning right now. Sessions are available throughout the week, in multiple timezones, with curriculum rooted in Python, Minecraft, AI, and more.

Now kids and teens can advance their tech skills, engage with other students (5 max per instructor), and learn through a combination of live instruction and self-paced project development.

4. After School

Given what you just read above, imagine being able to take the virtual summer camp experience and have something similar available during the school year.

And, in addition to kids being able to learn in small groups, what if they can actually build their skills over a 12-week period and get "tech-certified" by rockstar instructors?

And, what if in addition to building skills in coding, game development, and more, they could build an impressive project for their portfolio?

Well, all of that together describes our 12-Week Semesters, an online after-school program, perfect for kids and teens who want to build confidence, have fun, and advance fast. 

5. Code.org

You've undoubtedly heard the statement more than once—all kids should learn to code. And if you've taken it upon yourself to do related opportunity digging, you’ve probably also heard of code.org, which is a nonprofit dedicated to “expanding access to computer science in schools…”

One of the ways this learning platform goes about that is through an online course catalog that offers kids the chance to learn how to make their own apps, or dive deep into coding languages like JavaScript.

And again, progression and advancement is the name of the game. Students ages 5-8 can start with "an introduction to computer science for pre-readers" before moving on to a course crafted for ages 7-11 which teaches algorithms, nested loops, and more.  

6. YouTube Kids

So why not turn to YouTube, the hub of all things video? It has more content than any family could ever need, right?

True, and while that’s a very good thing, when it comes to the positive and negative aspects of YouTube, it can also be a challenge as you never know where one kid's click might lead. 

To help, YouTube Kids was created to provide young minds a “more contained” environment, allowing children to explore on their own. And while such exploration can still lead a user down a variety of non-learning rabbit holes - like cartoons, shows, and more - the educational content can be easily isolated thanks to search options and the presented parental controls. 

7. Time for Kids

A site like Time for Kids might be a fun learning stop. Touting the headline “Engage. Empower. Inspire. Authentic journalism to motivate curious minds,” Time for Kids does just that!

Spanning explanations on thousands of topics, the site offers write-ups on things like “how to stay safe in school” and "financial literacy for kids," and so. Much. More.

8. e-Learning for Kids

For self-pacers, e-Learning for Kids has rolled out a mini learning search engine of sorts, allowing users to seek desired lessons by keyword or by category, and even filter by grade level, popularity, and more. The lessons themselves begin with a cartoon video introduction, and are followed by a series of interactive challenges. 

For instance, at the 6th grade level, kids are introduced to math and angles with Teresa and her family’s pizza restaurant. From there, learners are challenged to estimate angle size and type of different pizza portions, and more.

9. Duolingo

How about some language learning? With over 700K ratings on the Apple App Store, Duolingo provides app-based lessons in French, Spanish, and 30 other languages. Through a clean and fun interface, Duolingo gamifies language learning to the point of creating an engaging and motivating experience for young learners. 

10. PBS Kids

For example with PBS Kids, young learners can work with Arthur, Daniel Tiger, and the characters from Sesame Street through fun games and activities focused on teaching things like teamwork, feelings, measurement, shapes, and more. The PBS Kids portal skews a bit younger, but offers a ton of valuable content in this regard.

11. National Geographic Kids

An obvious choice for the animal lover—Nat Geo Kids offers a wide range of “brain boosters”—from animals, yes, to science, history, and much more. 

12. Scholastic Learn at Home

Scholastic is now offering “day-by-day projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing” through their Learn at Home portal.

For example, Day 1’s activities encourage learners to get familiar with a teen who is changing how the world views disabilities, while Day 4 introduces kids to insects that can be eaten as protein-packed snacks. 

Opportunity awaits!

The doors are now open for students to dive into subjects with which they've never had an experience, but have always had an interest, and in formats that you might find are perfect for their personality and unique needs. 

A photo of Ryan

Ryan manages blog content at iD Tech, starting with the company in 2008. He earned his MBA from Santa Clara University after obtaining his Bachelor’s degree from Arizona State. Connect on LinkedIn!