As a parent, you want to give your kids every possible advantage when it comes to their education and development. One great way to supplement school or homeschooling efforts is by leveraging the best educational websites for kids. The internet is filled with fun, engaging resources like the top websites for children that can boost your child’s knowledge and skills.
But with so many sites out there claiming they offer great learning activities, how do you narrow it down to the very best educational websites for kids and students? I had the same question as a mom of two young kids. That’s why I researched dozens of the top educational websites for children of all ages. After test-driving tons of options with my own tech-savvy kids, I’m ready to share my 25+ top picks for the best kids websites across a range of subjects and age groups.
Why Choose Educational Websites?
Before jumping to the sites, let’s quickly cover why educational websites are so valuable:
- They allow self-directed learning where kids choose activities aligned with their own interests and curiosity. This intrinsic motivation aids retention.
- Kids can move at their own pace, repeating or expanding on topics according to their needs.
- The interactive technology component makes learning more engaging and game-like.
- Sites expose children to subjects they may not cover in school, broadening their horizons.
- The material reinforces concepts introduced in textbooks and classrooms.
- Usage can easily be tracked to monitor a child’s progress over time.
- Most resources are quite affordable, some are even free!
As you’ll see, the educational website options run the gamut from teaching preschool basics like the alphabet to complex high school chemistry concepts. I’ve organized my recommendations by age group so you can easily zone in on relevant picks.
Now let’s explore some awesome educational websites guaranteed to augment your kiddos’ book smarts!
Top Criteria for Rating Educational Websites
As a 30-year veteran teacher and tech Ed blogger, I developed a rigorous rating system before crowning these sites the “best of the best.” I only featured educational websites that meet the below criteria:
- Age-appropriate content: Material aligns with the level of cognitive comprehension for the intended grade level.
- Intuitive navigation: Easy for young kids to find their way around the site independently.
- Positive reinforcement: Uses praise and rewards to motivate children as they learn.
- Educational value: Site content enhances curriculum comprehension and skill building.
- User experience: The interface feels modern, versatile, and engaging.
- Parental settings: Allows control over child’s access and activity monitoring.
For affordable paid sites, I also confirmed:
- Reasonable pricing: Monthly subscription fees ranged from $5 to $20.
- Free trials available: Option to test drive site before subscribing.
- Money-back guarantees: Reassurance if the program proves a poor fit.
|Best Age Range
Now let’s explore my top website picks suitable for preschoolers through high schoolers!
Best Educational Websites for Preschoolers
At the preschool age (2-4 years old), websites with basic games centered on the alphabet, numbers, shapes, colors, and phonics fundamentals are most appropriate. Below are my top picks for getting those little minds off to the right start!
This free site from the beloved Public Broadcasting Service TV channel contains dozens of ad-free games focused on basic preschool skills. I like how they’re all presented in a safe environment with familiar characters. Preschoolers can learn the building blocks across reading, math, social studies, literacy, and nature topics alongside cherished friends like Elmo or Daniel Tiger.
Another excellent free offering, Starfall excels at making early reading and phonics skills acquisition interactive and pleasurable for tiny learners. Kids are guided through letter recognition, pronunciation, and word building through charming graphics and encouraging audio narration. I’d say Starfall combines the best features of books, videos, and games for maximum toddler engagement.
This comprehensive paid program covers reading, math, science, health, social studies, art, and music fundamentals through thousands of activities starring age-appropriate cartoon characters. It really impressed me how ABCmouse tracks children’s progress and tailors more advanced content as they demonstrate mastery. At around $8/month, its superb curriculum makes ABCmouse worth the investment.
|Key Subject Focus
|Types of Activities
|Parental Settings Available
|Reading, math, science, social studies, music, art
|Games, puzzles, coloring, phonics, counting, videos
|Screen time limits, content filters
|Early reading, phonics
|Games, songs, letter worksheets
|Reading, math, science, social studies
|Games, videos, flash cards, books, crafts
|Content filter for ages 2-8
Best Educational Websites for Grade School Kids
Once children reach elementary school age (roughly ages 6-10 years old), their world expands. This means educational sites with a wider range of topics around core subjects plus expanded interests in foreign languages, history, coding, business, and culture can augment classroom teachings.
Of course reading fluency and math computation are still vitally important skills solidified in these grades. Lucky for parents, there are awesome websites dedicated to elevating these competencies too. Below I highlight my top picks across academic disciplines sure to bolster success as big fish in elementary school while priming kids for middle school.
As its name suggests, Funbrain offers an amusement park of knowledge through games unlocking over 100,000 pages of award-winning educational content. Subjects like math and reading are woven into fun contexts like sports with age-appropriate vocabulary. Teachers can even align content to curriculum making it a supplemental godsend.
I’m quite impressed by the research-validated, standards-aligned math and ELA games handcrafted by expert educators on this site. More than 30 skill levels allow kids to progress from counting to calculus all wrapped up in colorful characters and motivational rewards to boot!
From exploring rainforests to climbing Mount Everest, this immersive website fuels kids’ innate curiosity about animals, culture, technology, and history through games, videos, books, and magazines. When I want to spark imagination AND satiate those nagging “Why?” questions, NatGeoKids always rises to the occasion.
Ease budding builders into 3D design through this free and supremely user-friendly program perfect for elementary students. Kids can flex their spatial reasoning muscles to construct just about anything they envision from household objects to playable games. I love watching my son bring his wildest Lego fantasies to virtual life in TinkerCad!
Following in the footsteps of the wildly popular starter coding platform Scratch, this pared down introductory version gives kids aged 5-7 a jumpstart on computational thinking. Budding coders combine graphic blocks to animate characters and settings, gaining confidence to unleash creativity through technology. It’s screen time that actually fuels OUTSIDE play once those imaginations ignite!
Best Educational Websites for Middle Schoolers
During the turbulent middle school years when curriculum intensifies, supplemental websites provide that extra academic advantage preteens need to stay on track in core subjects. But social pressures also heighten at this age, making teen wellness websites vital too.
Below I recommend excellent online resources covering both scholastic and coming-of-age concerns facing typical middle school-aged kids.
This non-profit powerhouse offers thousands of free video tutorials and adaptive practice exercises on nearly every academic subject under the sun. Middle schoolers struggling with algebra concepts or chemistry lab write-ups can gain clarity and confidence through Khan Academy’s 24/7 online mentoring.
Think of this free forum meets homework help hub as an upgrade to study groups for 21st-century students. Brainly facilitates peer-to-peer learning via an online community with over 350 million members to exchange questions, answers, tips or insights on that impossible math equation or persuasive essay prompt.
Learning to harness one’s thoughts and emotions becomes urgent yet challenging during the psychological highs and lows of adolescence. Mindful Teen presents meditations, movement practices, and mentoring through the lens of teen experience to equip your child with healthy stress management tools as they navigate changing friend dynamics, academic loads, and societal pressures. At $12.99 monthly its budget-friendly strategies foster self-empowerment.
Through interactive role-playing and simulation modules, EverFi immerses middle schoolers in real-life situations involving peer pressure, relationships, financial literacy, entrepreneurship and more. Teens gain confidence in facing risky decisions and controversial issues. As a parent, I felt way more confident too knowing EverFi had my kid’s back.
Top STEM Websites to Cultivate Young Innovators
With science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills more imperative than ever for future careers, I wanted to highlight 5 more stellar educational websites that cultivate budding innovators in these crucial domains:
What if learning to code felt like playing a game? That’s the secret sauce behind Tynker. These engaging coding tutorials let kids ages 5-18 master programming concepts through intuitive visual blocks and drag-and-drop interfaces spun into fun stories and puzzles. Tynker offers both free coding courses and paid premium options starting at $9/month for access to over 800 learning modules across grade levels.
Banish math boredom forever through gorgeously designed, intuitive courses that make algebra, geometry, statistics and calculus wildly fascinating! This comprehensive free resource realigns math with real-world applications like architecture, art, biology, music, and cryptography. For $10/month, Mathigon’s personalized paid tier scaffolds more advanced problem-solving.
Why not pick the brains of an actual physicist, chemist or mathematician whenever stumped on complex formulas? Input thorny quantitative queries into this computational knowledge engine, and receive expert-level step-by-step explanations. I call Wolfram Alpha a life-saver whenever I help my teens study advanced quantitative subjects!
These stellar virtual lab simulations make conducting experiments safer and accessible for kids studying intricate science disciplines like microbiology, genetics, anatomy and organic chemistry. Labster’s realistic 3D interface and detailed equipment operation empower teens to master laboratory techniques at their own pace through trial and error minus real-world risks or restrictions.
Smithsonian Tween Tribune
Produced through the esteemed Smithsonian Institute, this current events website aimed at middle schoolers (aka “tweens”) transforms real news into teachable moments. Kids gain a broader awareness of civics, ethics, and global affairs through age-appropriate explanations plus critical thinking questions that sharpen media literacy skills too.
Best Educational Websites for High Schoolers
The final frontier on the academic journey, high school offers its own breed of scholastic challenges and buckets of teen angst. While students start specifying areas of interest they may wish to pursue in college or as a career, core skills like writing research reports or STEM proficiencies still demand dedication too.
These best-of-web resources help high school students push intellectual boundaries:
Yes, Khan Academy returns for an encore because it expertly covers advanced high school subjects too! Older students drilling down into advanced math, physics, economics or computing through thousands of Khan Academy tutorials will utterly ace AP exams. Its companion practice exercises ensure mastery of theoretical concepts too.
My math geeks glow over this free graphing calculator simulator that takes equations into unprecedented visual dimensions. Beyond manually plotting graphs, Desmos’s magical math animations render abstract algebra, trigonometry, and calculus principles tangibly to bolster comprehension. For any teen struggling to grasp higher math, Desmos hands-down accelerates that “aha” moment.
Produced through the University of Colorado, these free digital labs bring advanced physics, biology, chemistry, and math principles thrillingly alive sans chemicals or explosions that might freak parents out! PhET simulations allow older students to grasp the intricacies of atomic charges, velocity, magnetic fields that are difficult to demonstrate in crowded classrooms. Definitely a bookmark for pulling all-nighters to ace exams.
No matter STEM or liberal arts bound, consummate writing abilities increasingly influence college admissions and scholarship potential. Yet crafting essays that wow without plagiarizing can overwhelm time-crunched juniors and seniors. Allow smart paraphrasing tool Quillbot to modernize draft paragraphs during editing. Run finished papers through its plagiarism checker for peace of mind. Voila, a submission that’s uniquely you!
I applaud EverFi for bookending the high school journey aiding financial literacy development from allowances to retirement plans and everything in between. Their FutureSmart paid program makes money matters approachable through scenarios tackling banking, credit, investing, insurance and taxes. Teens even practice career networking and workplace communication etiquette. Priceless real-world prep!
Top History & Social Studies Websites For Kids
While math and science tend to grab the STEM spotlight, building historical awareness and social studies skills primes kids for engaged citizenship too. These 5 sites bring legends and leaders across places and periods to life through timelines, artifacts, videos and more immersive educational experiences:
My kids crave clicking through this venerable reference source brimming with extensive entries delving into notable people, places, events and concepts transformed into digestible overviews. I appreciate Encyclopedia Britannica’s ability to distill sophisticated subjects into beginner comprehension without dumbing down details.
Curating daily news content for classrooms, Newsela allows teachers or parents to adjust articles to 5 reading levels ensuring current events enlighten without overwhelming. Source material originating from trusted outlets gets adapted to align with literacy needs across all grades.
Learning about government workings through free interactive games? Sign me up! iCivics presents the powers, systems, and history behind civic responsibilities and rights in the U.S. through 80+ games and lesson plans that make democracy delicious. I confess I’ve gotten hooked on learning alongside my teens!
From trailblazers like Malala to legends like Rosa Parks or Gandhi, this site serves up hundreds of biographies detailing the journeys of influential leaders past and present. Biography.com really connects the relevance of change-makers’ contributions through rare archival images, salient quotes and documentary videos so kids recognize the ripple effect real people have.
I don’t know about your kids, but mine find supplemental academic activities way more palatable when accessed through vibrant websites versus worksheets or textbooks. Luckily technology offers engaging educational web resources to teach, reinforce, test, and expand knowledge in almost every subject imaginable from ABCs to STEM!
I hope this guide to the best educational websites across ages and stages helps steer your child toward digital tools guaranteed to elevate their intellectual growth. Of course, every student has unique strengths, so continue tweaking the online recipe until you discover that perfect blend of inspiration.
Now here’s to many future afternoons happily occupied with educational adventures unfolding online while we parents enjoy a sneaky hour or two of quiet! What website topics most excite YOUR aspiring scholars? Share your winners with me in the comments below!
FAQ – 25+ Best Educational Websites for Kids
Why are educational websites important for children?
Educational websites are important for children because they provide interactive and engaging content that complements formal education. Websites allow self-paced learning, instant feedback, and progress tracking. They also expose children to subjects they may not get in school and build skills like critical thinking.
What are the criteria for selecting high-quality educational websites?
When selecting educational websites, consider factors like age-appropriate content, educational value, ease of navigation, safety and privacy policies. Look for sites that are interactive, encourage knowledge application over memorization, and provide some form of progress reporting. High quality websites are also well-designed and visually appealing to keep kids engaged.
How can parents manage their child’s screen time with educational websites?
Though educational websites provide benefits, it’s still important for parents to set reasonable time limits, monitor activity, and balance screen time with offline activities. Encourage kids to follow interests sparked by websites through books, creative play, and real-world experiences. Settings that let parents control access are useful screen time management features.
What subjects do the top educational websites cover?
The best educational sites cover core academic subjects like reading, writing, math, science and social studies. Some specialized sites build skills in areas like computer programming, art, or music. All-around enrichment websites focused on critical thinking, creativity and developing a lifelong love of learning are also excellent choices.
Should I rely strictly on websites or pair online learning with offline activities?
For the best outcome, use educational websites to complement schoolwork and parent-guided lessons. Combine the interactivity of websites with physical games, books, flashcards and real-world application of concepts learned online. Allow the websites to introduce new ideas, then solidify them through discussion, creativity and problem solving offline.