Free Online Activites for Children

by Kelly · 9 comments

in A Frugal Family

Happy kids

I have three young children, two boys ages 6, 4.5 years old and a 16 month old daughter. While my daughter’s only concern with the computer is how much time I spend on it instead of playing with her, my sons love to spend time on the computer.

My concern, above and beyond making sure that the time they spend playing computer games isn’t too excessive is always that what they are doing is interesting and informative. I don’t want them to just be driving a car around a race track, I want them to be learning something along the way.

Here are some sites that I have tested and they’ve approved. All these sites are free to use and offer a range of activities.

IXL Math has, you guessed it, math activities, divided into grade levels and targeted skills. This is more a site that reinforces knowledge taught at school or home, than teaches new things. I also have to really encourage my sons to go onto it, although they have a great time once they’re there.

Sesame is a site with all things Sesame Street. (Warning, there is a video that starts playing when you visit the site, so turn your sound down!) There are games, videos, things to print out, and even a section for adults. My oldest son particularly likes Grover’s game ‘In the Nick of Rhyme‘ and I like that they can learn to play these games and navigate the site by themselves.

Starfall is a site for preK through second graders who are learning to read and/or practicing their reading skills. It was recommended to us by my sons’ reading teacher, and has lots of activities, songs and printouts. There is even a store with materials and home school activities, although I’ve never bought anything through them.

PBS Kids is one of their favorite activity sites. It’s filled with games and things to do, and they beg to visit it. Of course everything is based on characters from TV shows, but I don’t find it to be too in your face. My youngest son loves Curious George and really enjoys visiting those games, while my oldest, who is learning to read, really likes SuperWhy, recommended to him by one of his best friends. There are games, videos, music and coloring sheets, and again, keep your computer volume on low if you’re in a library or at work!

CBeebies is the UK version of the American PBS kids, and it’s also the only TV they get to watch. It’s just like PBS kids, with favorite characters, games, printouts etc.

Jitterbug is tagged as ‘hip music for hip kids‘ and that’s just what it is- talk about fun! It’s not really a site for kids to play with, but I like to turn it on in the evenings, and let the good times (and music) roll.

What are your kids’ favorite online activities?


1 Shannon February 20, 2009

Here’s a pretty cool site kids may like It’s an online “doodle” and paint pad which loads quickly. More enjoyable with a tablet or touchpad but a mouse will do. You can also submit your own work and view paintings made by other users as well. I also liked the cute games at not really educational but just plain wholesome fun!

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2 Gabriel February 20, 2009
3 Lauren February 21, 2009

For the really young kids we love BabySmash. It lets your 18 month old "type" on the keyboard and use the mouse without doing horrible things to your computer.

4 Kiersten February 21, 2009

Thank you for the recommendations! I had never heard of “IXL” or “Jitterbug”. At , there are lots of links for games, online stories, and other activities to do with kids. I add to it as I come across things I think my children might enjoy. There are also many educational sites for older kids at

5 Amiyrah February 22, 2009 I let him watch a few of the shows from the tv station, so it’s great for him to go on there and practice is alphabet, shapes and numbers with characters that he already knows.

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6 Shevy February 23, 2009

My Dear Child (age 6, in Kindergarten) also goes on PBS Kids and CBeebies but she also likes Kids CBC and Treehouse. Her fave though is Webkinz. She likes decorating rooms for her pets and is very good at some of the arcade games, including Lunch Letters (teaches typing skills) and Bamboo Bash (a Tetris clone that's good for spatial relationships). She can get to level 3 in Lunch Letters and usually somewhere in level 2 or 3 of Bamboo Bash.

I laughed when I read Lauren's comment. The baby (2 next month) is very dangerous around the computer! I once left DC and her 4 yo niece playing on Webkinz and went to the bathroom for literally about 2 minutes. I came back to find that the baby had pushed them away from the computer and taken it over. As I came into the room she looked at me and bent over, redoubling her efforts. I pulled her away and discovered that she had gotten into my administrative password (I wasn't even logged in as Admin) and was *changing* it! I was just lucky that she hadn't been able to replicate the new password the second time in order to make it take effect.

7 Kristy @ Master Your Card February 24, 2009

My sister has been looking for some fun activities for her kids, 3 and 18 months. The kids have both gotten into the habit of sitting in her lap while she works, so it’s no something they both want to play with. She’s been doing the Disney TV website for the most part, but she said the games are a little advanced for their younger years. I’ll definitely pass these tips on to her! Thanks for sharing!

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8 nathan mcgee February 25, 2009

The library website is often a great resource too. Our local library website has resources for kids that include games and an entire list of animated stories. Sometimes for bed time we sit together with the lap top and pick a book from the list. While the stories have a narrator, often they ask me to turn the sound off and read the story :).

<abbr>nathan mcgee´s last blog post..Sorry Kids! We Can’t Afford It! Painless Ways to Teach Kids Good Purchasing Habits</abbr>

9 Gigi March 3, 2009

There are quite a lot of educational web sites for all ages. What we need is a quality directory indeed. A couple of sites I like,

A great math site to improve your skills

A great site to know about our government

A great site for Preschooler

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