Free Math and Reading Websites: Educational Online Games for Kids
Kids and Computers
Kids love to spend time on the computer. When used correctly, the computer can be an effective learning tool. But how do you know what websites are not only safe for children but are fun and educational as well? Even as a teacher it is hard sometimes to find the best ones out there. So use me! I have a list of incredible learning sites and the best news? They are FREE!!!! So take a minute and have a glance at these fantastic sites that will excite your child or student.
Free Math Websites for Kids
Coolmath and Coolmath4kids are two fantastic math websites for everyone. The first is for older kids and adults, 13+. It has a range of games, puzzles, brainteasers and more. The second link is geared for children ages 3-12. There are activities specific for fractions, multiplication, division and more. However one of the things that I like about this site is that there are tons of games for children and links to other very useful math activities such as finance. It is very user friendly and fun!
My students LOVE Sheppard Software. They always ask to go on this website. It is filled with arcade type games that of course involve learning. One of their favorites is the pacman game. It is an addition game that allows students to collect points as the chase the ghost with the sum. There are games for children who are just learning to identify numbers all the way up to multiplication. There is even a very cool math mah jong game.
Math Playground has an abundance of activities and learning tools to choose from. There are games, learning videos, flashcards, puzzles, word problems, and more. With some of the games, you are able to create a user name which allows you to make the game public or private. If you play a public game, it is possible for you to be able to play against a friend. Many of the games also show a rate at which you solve the problems to encourage fluency of facts. Most of all, the site is both educational and fun!
Free Reading Websites for Kids
Starfall is a great beginning reader site. They have letter and sound recognition along with an area that early readers can practice reading. You can drag the mouse along the words and it will read it to you after you have tried to read it yourself. It is animated, uses music and it is just plain fun. My own children absolutely love this site. Many of our younger students have a fantastic time on this website as well. Cost? FREE!
Into the Book is a great higher level thinking website. This website is one that I have recently discovered. It is a great tool for comprehension. This website is geared for children that are a little older, maybe 7 and up. It is a highly interactive site that allows you to develop critical thinking skills while reading. Some of the reading strategies that we use (activating prior knowledge, visualizing, making connections, etc.) are used here. You can drag the mouse to open a book and then read about each skill. When you are finished, you can apply what you have learned in a variety of ways. Like making a picture of what you visualized or underlining what you used to figure out the clue. It is a great way to further develop those higher level thinking skills. This website is FREE! You need to "register" to get a key code by entering your first name. After that you login each time with that code.
Storylineonline is just plain fun. It is a website that is sponsored by the Screen Actors Guild. This site allows children to listen to a story read by a "famous" actor. Some of the stories include, My Rotten Red Headed Brother, read by Melissa Gilbert; A Bad Case of the Stripes read by Sean Astin; and To Be a Drum read by James Earl Jones. There are too many stories to list here but it is a great site to check out. On those nights that you're just a little too tired to read to your child, set them up at the computer! Again this is a FREE site.
Free Science and Social Studies Websites for Kids
Science Monster is a great site that is still growing. Although it is not really very interactive and tends to be more informational, it does provide a great resource for information. It is nice because it is broken down into several science domains such as life science, earth science, and so on.It is often hard to find social studies websites that are interesting and interactive.
The week in Rap is a compilation of the week's news put into a rap. There is a video and a list of the lyrics. Although I watched several and thought they were really cool, be cautious of some of the content. There were no inappropriate words in the ones that I viewed however depending on the age level, the violent nature of some of it may keep you from showing it to young ones.
The Discovery Education website provides a wealth of information. It includes websites that fit both the science and social studies areas of learning. There are fantastic videos to share with children and once you register, you can save them in a folder so that you don't have to search each time you want to use them. There are tabs for parents, students, teachers, and administrators which give very specific resources for each group of users.
Other Websites for Kids
abcya.com is a great free website for math and language activities. It is divided into grade levels and subject areas. My students have a fantastic time exploring all that this site has to offer. Part of the attraction to this site is that is naturally differentiates the learning for each child. If a child needs to work on addition and subtraction, he can do that while another student challenges himself with mutliplication.
Spelling City is a great resource for engaging children in those spelling words each week. Ideally a teacher would input the list and have students do activities with the words. However, you can still use it at home even if your child's teacher is not registered with the site. You simply input the words and they can take a practice test on the computer. If you are a registered user, there are more options for playing games with the list words. There are also lists of words that you can practice and play games with. These games include matching, crossword puzzles, hangman , and more. There is also a section for practicing vocabulary words with the lists on the website.
From homophones to compound words to prefixes and suffixes, this vocabulary website has it all. There are games, videos, and learning puzzles to help children increase their knowledge of words and their meanings. The games will increase in difficulty as they are played, there are explanations of different skills, and there are even links for practicing vocabulary in other languages!
Pay Websites for Elementary Students
There are some other really fantastic sites out there that do have a fee. For some of them it is an annual fee and for others it is a classroom, building, or district site license. I am including these at the end because I have found them of great use in my own classroom but please know that these are not free. Some of these may also give a short trial period in which you can try it out for a week or so for free.
math, science, reading, language arts
$469 per subject area and grade level
as little as $9.95/mo for parents, annual, classroom, building and site licenses available for higher costs
reading (leveled books with quizes)
as low as $59.95
I personally subscribe to Raz Kids. My students LOVE it. It has a large collection of leveled books, creates reports for me, and has quizzes after most of the stories. Children are able to choose to read the book on their own or have it read to them. As they read and take quizzes, they collect stars. These stars are then able to be used in their Rocket Room which is a virtual space room in which they can "purchase" things with their stars. It is very motivational for them.
I have not personally used IXL but our district is looking into it. The nice thing about this site is that teachers are able to access reports and choose activities that align with state standards as well as the new common core standards.
My district has recently purchased Education City. It is a wonderful, interactive site that is divided by subject area and grade level. It naturally lends itself to differentiation for your students or children. It is on the pricier side so if you can have your school or district make the purchase, it is worth it.