12 Best Educational Websites for Kids (and which ones are worth paying for)
Having kids in this technology driven culture I’m always trying to find ways to allow my kids use the internet but in a safe and hopefully educational way. Over the years there seems to more and more websites dedicated to kids and education. At school my kids get to use different websites to help with lessons. But with so many to choose from and some asking for our hard earned cash we decided to try out quite a few and find out what’s worth our money or time.
Our top favorite paid site was by far Abcya.com. They have everything seperated by grade and subject from pre-k up to grade 5. The games are fun and engaging with a strong focus on specific skills. The only thing I think its missing is a step by step lesson plan. It can be easy for my kids to just pick their favorite games, and not move on to subjects they need more help with. I started to make a list of a couple games they needed to play at least once before moving on to the ones they find easier. So they can work on skills they need help with and have fun with the ones they’ve already mastered.
There are several games you can play for free before you have to subscribe. The subscription only costs $6.99 a month for a family plan. This is actually cheaper than some other options. This also includes access to the ipad app.
Next up is ABCmouse.com. You’ve probably seen their commercials on tv. We did ABCmouse for a couple years. They are geared toward ages 2-7. I like that they have a lesson plan for each kid based on their age. They also include a reward system so the more your kids get through the lessons and activities they earn tickets they can use to create their own virtual world, with pets, toys,etc. My kids loved the rewards! The downside is they didnt find all the activities very engaging. Most of the books were pretty simple and the kids found them boring. They loved the coloring activities and the songs though.
They do offer a free 30 days trial before they charge $7.99 a month. This also has an ipad app to go with it.
Starfall.com is another site my kids schools have used often to help with lessons. They have very similar games to Abcya and its organized by grade/subject. My kids are big fans of starfalls holiday themed activities. This site caters to pre-k up to 2nd grade levels. A big plus is they also have curriculum plans as well. This can be so helpful if your planning on doing some homeschooling.
Membership for families is $35 a year which is cheaper than abcya and abc mouse.
The last paid website I would recommend is ixl.com. What I love about this site is it goes all the way up to 12th grade. They have everything organized by grade/subject and skills. So when my daughter was struggling with counting money I could pull up the specific activity and it showed her a group of coins she had to count and input the answer and if she got it wrong it shows an explanation on how to get the right answer. It has hundreds of skills in each subject and grade. They also have a awards and rewards for how many skills you practice and master. You fill out reward charts and earn virtual prizes. My kids love collecting all the different prizes. They would even compete to get different ones.
The membership for this site is $9.99 a month which is more expensive than the others but I do feel its worth it based on how extensive their available skills and activities for all ages to practice. It also includes in depth analytics so you can see in depth reports on how your child is progressing in the skills.
When looking at free websites there is lots to choose from. I find most of the free ones have good activities, but include alot of ads around the site (which I’m sure helps them pay for the operation of the site). But with my kids they like to click around so I usually pay close attention to what they are doing when going on these sites
Funbrain.com is free and full of fun! Its probably the best free game site I’ve found and easy for my kids to navigate. They have games for skills up to 8th grade including math and reading. They have created a fun safe gaming site for kids, I certainly feel comfortable with the games available for both girls to play.
Coolmath.com and coolmath-games.com is free and full of math games for all different levels of math. The games are pretty simple and easy to figure out and listed by types of math and can be for kids up to high school since it includes calculus and alegbra. coolmath is definetly more for older kids (middle school and up) where coolmath-games is for elementary kids. Its not as easily organized but still fun safe games for kids to play.
More fun websites that are also educational and kid friendly
To make it easy for my kids to access these on the computer, I created a profile just for them on the windows log in page, and have the links on the desktop so all they have to do is double click the icons to go straight to the website.
As always with the internet its important to be cautious and observant of what your kids are doing on a computer. Since my husband and I both work on computers from home, we want our kids to be comfortable and safe on computers. So we stress a lot about whats appropriate and what you shouldn’t be accessing online.
Another resource to check out is This guide to what the internet is from ATT Internet Service. The workbook can be downloaded and printed for kids to do the activities and learn all about using the internet. This is definetly geared toward a young age, probably for those just going in to kindergarten and just begun giving more access to the internet.
What are some other websites you find helpful with kids and what ways do you help keep your kids safe online?