100 free at-home learning resources and activities for kids of all ages

By Tracey Gaughran

Time away from school doesn’t have to mean time away from learning with these fun, free online resources designed to spark kids’ creativity and engage their intellect.

EXPLORE WEB RESOURCES

Explore the color palettes of history from 2000 B.C. to the 1960s: https://colorleap.app/home

Interact with 14 billion years of history via this beautiful, web-based timeline: http://histography.io/

The key that helped us to decode Egyptian hieroglyphs, The Rosetta Stone, is now yours to explore virtually in 3D: https://sketchfab.com/3d-models/the-rosetta-stone-1e03509704a3490e99a173e53b93e282

An illustrated, interactive digital companion to Dante’s “Inferno”: https://www.alpacaprojects.com/inferno/en/

The Story Time from Space program promotes literacy with videos of astronauts on the ISS reading great children’s books: https://storytimefromspace.com/library/

Ultra hi-res scans of two Da Vinci codices reveal new inventions, scientific experiments, and engineering projects in incredible detail: https://www.vam.ac.uk/articles/explore-leonardo-da-vinci-codex-forster-i

Go deep with this detailed taxonomic map of philosophy: http://dailynous.com/2016/06/28/a-taxonomic-map-of-philosophy/

Learn about ocean life and the depths at which animals live with this interactive visualization: https://neal.fun/deep-sea/

The History of Pandemics: A fascinating visualization of history’s most deadly pandemics, from the Antonine Plague to COVID-19: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/history-of-pandemics-deadliest/

Experience the entire Apollo 11 mission to the moon as it happened in real time, from launch to reentry, through this stunning interactive site from the Lunar and Planetary Institute: https://apolloinrealtime.org/11/

Explore Harvard Law’s Caselaw Access Project site, containing more than 40 million digitized pages of U.S. state, federal, and territorial case law documents dating back to 1658: https://case.law/

Out-of-this-world free apps and software tools from NASA: https://software.nasa.gov/

Explore the largest intact medieval map in the world, the Hereford Mappa Mundi, through this fascinating interactive online exhibit: https://www.themappamundi.co.uk/mappa-mundi/

Music fans: Download your own free virtual modular synthesizer: https://vcvrack.com/

Listen to NASA’s famous Golden Record — now available in its entirety for free: https://soundcloud.com/nasa/sets/golden-record-greetings-to-the

Project Gutenberg, an online database of more than 57,000 free public domain ebooks, includes popular classic works from Homer’s “The Iliad” to Kafka’s “Metamorphosis”: https://www.gutenberg.org/

An interactive online map from Quanta Magazine that explores “the deepest mysteries at the frontier of fundamental physics, and the most promising ideas put forth to solve them”: https://www.quantamagazine.org/frontier-of-physics-interactive-map-20150803

Hidden for centuries, the Urbano Monte — one of the most extraordinary maps ever created — is now yours to download or explore on Google Earth: https://www.fastcompany.com/90155894/__trashed-3

Explore the floor plans of iconic fictional libraries, including the libraries at Hogwarts and Shermer High School (“The Breakfast Club”): https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/541785/floor-plans-famous-movie-tv-libraries-harry-potter-game-of-thrones

VISIT WITHOUT LEAVING HOME

Experience the National Aquarium with live cams of their Blacktip Reef, Jellies Invasion, and Pacific Coral Reef exhibits: https://www.aqua.org/Experience/live

Take kids on a virtual tour of museum exhibits from the British Museum in London, the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, and more: https://hyperallergic.com/547919/2500-virtual-museum-tours-google-arts-culture/

Explore The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks — a ranger-guided online tour of five incredible park destinations: https://artsandculture.withgoogle.com/en-us/national-parks-service/parks

Experience every MoMA art exhibit since 1929 online: https://www.moma.org/collection/

Live Bear Cam @ Katmai National Park, Alaska, USA: Watching these awe-inspiring animals via live video feed is a rare treat for students for animal behavior: https://explore.org/livecams/brown-bears/brown-bear-salmon-cam-brooks-falls

Explore over 1,000 exoplanets in virtual 3D with NASA’s Eyes web app: https://eyes.jpl.nasa.gov/launch2.html

Zoom out from Earth to explore the planets of our solar system from your desktop: https://earth.google.com/web/data=CiQSIhIgMjg4NWExZTg5ZTI3MTFlN2JjNGIzNTJlYjQ0YzU2ZDY

An interactive online exhibit and street view tour of Anne Frank’s family home in Amsterdam, Netherlands: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/anne-frank-house

Explore the National Museum of Scotland’s galleries: https://www.google.com/maps/@55.94715,-3.1888504,2a,90y,234h,74.31t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sgV9XMt0dD_GIQHZtXiwY3g!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Go inside the Large Hadron Collider with this incredible interactive 360 video tour: https://youtu.be/d_OeQxoKocU

Explore the Library of Godmersham Park in this interactive site that meticulously reproduces its collection just as Jane Austen knew it: https://www.readingwithausten.com/south-wall.html

An interactive online guide to all of the major moons in our solar system from National Geographic: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/07/the-atlas-of-moons/

Explore the night sky through this interactive, 3-D visualization constructed from the European Space Agency’s immense star catalog: https://sci.esa.int/star_mapper/

Go on a 360 tour of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and view 120 artworks from its collection: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/solomon-r-guggenheim-museum

An awesome interactive tour of the International Space Station: https://www.google.com/maps/@29.5602853,-95.0853914,2a,75y,215.32h,90.96t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1szChzPIAn4RIAAAQvxgbyEg!2e0!7i10000!8i5000

WATCH AND LEARN ONLINE

Make learning something new easier by watching this animated introduction to physicist Richard Feynman’s learning technique: https://youtu.be/tkm0TNFzIeg

A fantastic series of animations exploring important mathematical concepts: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZHQObOWTQDN52m7Y21ePrTbvXkPaWVSg

Learn computer animation from the experts at Pixar: http://www.openculture.com/2017/02/a-short-course-on-how-pixar-uses-physics-to-make-its-effects.html

Watch the American Museum of Natural History’s animated history of seven million years of human evolution: https://www.amnh.org/explore/videos/exhibits/seven-million-years-human-evolution

Learn how to moonwalk in five simple steps: https://imgur.com/RqYHJ2S

Enter the Library of Congress National Screening Room and peruse their film collection spanning more than 100 years of cinema history: https://www.loc.gov/collections/national-screening-room/

Take Google’s free crash course on artificial intelligence: https://developers.google.com/machine-learning/crash-course/

Learn DIY creative puppet-making from the master, Jim Henson: https://youtu.be/AC440k6iByA

Step inside the world of Hayao Miyazaki, the creative genius behind animated classics such as “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Spirited Away,” with this four part documentary: https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/ondemand/program/video/10yearshayaomiyazaki/

Memorize Pi to one hundred digits in under four minutes: https://youtu.be/mWMD0AC2u9M

Kurzgesagt–In a Nutshell: Terrific explainers on a wide variety of science-related topics: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsXVk37bltHxD1rDPwtNM8Q

Familiarize yourself with what many consider to be America’s only true original art form, jazz: http://www.openculture.com/2017/06/langston-hughes-creates-a-list-of-his-100-favorite-jazz-recordings.html

Learn how to solve a Rubik’s Cube: https://www.dailyinfographic.com/the-ultimate-party-trick-learn-how-to-solve-a-rubiks-cube

INTERACTIVE WEB TOOLS & APPS

A fun web-based tool that pairs machine learning with drawings created by professional artists to help you learn to draw: https://www.autodraw.com/

Explore this interactive virtual Enigma machine and learn the process of encryption as it encodes your top secret messages: https://observablehq.com/@tmcw/enigma-machine

Microbiology fans: A fantastic interactive web tool that explores the deadliness and infectiousness of major communicable diseases: https://informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/the-microbescope-infectious-diseases-in-context/

Explore the ancient metropolis of Athens online through 3D reconstructions spanning seven historical periods: http://www.ancientathens3d.com/

A free online game that teaches quantum mechanics: https://quantumgame.io/

Chrome Music Lab: Simple sound experiments that you can play with: https://musiclab.chromeexperiments.com/Experiments

A fun vector field generator on the web: https://anvaka.github.io/fieldplay/

Build your dream city with this free web tool that creates custom maps of cities with castles, plazas, rivers, city walls, and more: https://watabou.itch.io/medieval-fantasy-city-generator

Chess fans: Take your game to unexpected and experimental places with this collection of challenging, fun, and just plain weird chess variations: https://pippinbarr.github.io/chesses/

Explore over 1,500 genres of music in a sprawling, algorithmically-generated interactive graph based on data for over 35 million songs: http://everynoise.com/engenremap.html

A gorgeous fractal generator with editable code: https://anvaka.github.io/pplay/?tx=0&ty=0&scale=1

A fully interactive web-based periodic table: https://ptable.com/

Cartography fans: Make your own free custom maps of the World, Europe, the Americas, United States, UK and more: https://mapchart.net/

This neat virtual reality demo allows users to explore cat anatomy with their own two hands (literally!): https://gallery.leapmotion.com/cat-explorer/

Spin up an endless number of your own unique designs with this interactive web spirograph — no paper required: https://nathanfriend.io/inspirograph/

Architecture fans: Build the metropolis of your dreams online with this fun isometric city builder: https://victorribeiro.com/isocity/

AT-HOME LEARNING EXPERIMENTS AND ACTIVITIES

Achieve maximum time aloft with these step-by-step instructions on building a paper airplanes ranging in difficulty from easy to expert: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/561836/learn-how-make-40-different-paper-airplanes-instructional-website

Bring the periodic table to life with this free downloadable coloring book: https://www.chemistryviews.org/details/ezine/11200989/Periodic_Table_of_the_Elements_Coloring_Book.html

Using a few common household objects, kids can trap, observe, and identify a bevy of fascinating creatures found right in their own backyard: https://youtu.be/PKyxbndZ6Ns

Learn through play with these fun board games that focus on STEM, strategy, and executive functions:

Part 1: https://bigthink.com/personal-growth/board-games-for-kids

Part 2: https://bigthink.com/personal-growth/board-games-for-kids-2643189514

Build a secret, hidden security box out of old LEGO bricks and a magnet: https://youtu.be/WpIgzDlSqlw

Build a DIY replica of Galileo’s telescope for under $30: https://www.popsci.com/build-diy-replica-galileos-telescope

How to make pies even more delicious by adding geometry: https://thekidshouldseethis.com/post/how-lokokitchen-makes-her-geometric-pie-designs

Channel your inner Doc Brown and build your own DIY capacitor: https://youtu.be/rG7N_Zv6_gQ

Download the printable worksheet from NASA and follow the step-by-step instructions to make your own moon calendar and calculator: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/edu/learn/project/make-a-moon-phases-calendar-and-calculator/

D&D and Geometry lovers: How to construct a 20-sided modular pecan pie: https://laughingsquid.com/20-sided-modular-pecan-pie/

A 178-page free math coloring book that illustrates group theory concepts to benefit math educators and students alike: http://www.coloring-book.co/

MacGyver a microscope on the fly, using a few common household items: https://thekidshouldseethis.com/post/see-microbes-with-this-diy-phone-microscope

Make DIY stackable LEGO gummy candy you can build with (or just eat): https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2015/05/edible-and-stackable-diy-lego-gummy-candy/

How to make magnetic goo at home: https://imgur.com/qDM04va

Build your own seismograph and learn how scientists predict and measure the strength of earthquakes: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/shaky-science-build-a-seismograph/

One Paper Airplane to Rule Them All: How to make a giant 122 inch flying paper airplane: https://youtu.be/mam9Yd1Ke3g

An easy guide to building a vortex cannon from a handful of common household items: https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-Vortex-Cannons/

How to make a realistic red velvet brain cake: https://www.boredpanda.com/walking-dead-red-velvet-brain-cake-yolanda-gampp-how-to-cake-it/

Build your own Red Squadron with these step by step instructions on how to make origami X-wing fighters: https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Fold-an-Origami-Star-Wars-X-wing-Starfighte/

A fun membrane experiment you can try at home: https://thekidshouldseethis.com/post/inverted-bubble-diy-science

Make a super-sized robotic hand using cardboard, cardboard tubes, paper straws, string, tape, scissors, and hot glue: https://youtu.be/izk49jK5c_I

Make ye olde ice cream using a 350-year-old British recipe: https://youtu.be/quxmqtLbRjY

Build a tiny robot friend with a few common household items in minutes: https://youtu.be/TFkUan5Uujs

Cotton balls AWAAAAAY! How to make a cotton ball launcher: https://youtu.be/ZWJfIdZOpP4

Build a working solar oven using recycled boxes, black tape, aluminum foil, newspaper, pipe cleaners, and glass from a frame: https://youtu.be/sYM0NwuqgcM

A great backyard experiment during the warmer months: use cricket chirp frequency to calculate the current temperature in Celsius: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/bring-science-home-cricket-temperature/

How to use chemistry to make the perfect dyed egg: https://www.sciencefriday.com/educational-resources/eggs-to-dye-for/

Download hundreds of coloring sheets from libraries worldwide from the Color Our Collections project: http://library.nyam.org/colorourcollections/

CTY AND JHU LEARNING RESOURCES

A CTY Reading List: Good Books for Bright Kids: https://cty.jhu.edu/resources/cty-reading-list.html

How to Make a Lemon Battery: An electrifyingly fun science experiment that kids can do at home with just a few common household items: https://youtu.be/WNx-bwlTATI

CTY’s Bright Now blog and podcast about parenting and educating bright and curious kids: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/bright-now/id1435807749 (podcast), https://medium.com/brightnow (blog)

CTY Science Project I: How to Make a Hand Blender: https://johnshopkinscty.org/cty-science-project-how-to-make-a-hand-blender

CTY Science Project II: How to Make a Toy Motor Boat: https://cty.jhu.edu/resources/docs/toy-boat.pdf

CTYers and Talent Search participants: Join the CTY Explorers Research Network and participate in online games, experiments, and surveys designed to explore what makes children successful at learning: https://cty.jhu.edu/research/explorers-research-network.html

Solve for S: A very Hopkins crossword puzzle: https://thankyou.jhu.edu/

JHU’s ‘Hop At Home’ activity book offers creative fun for young kids at home: https://hub.jhu.edu/2020/03/27/hop-at-home-activity-book/

Have a resource we should add to our list? Share it with us via our contact form!

Bright Now

A blog about parenting and educating bright and curious…

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