For elementary school-age kids who are diving into a variety of topics and practicing new skills, websites are a great place for them to find engaging worlds where the learning often comes with a light touch and lots of fun. And unlike apps, which often focus on one skill or subject, websites can offer a wider selection of games and activities in a one-stop shop. Many websites are also at least free to try -- if not totally free -- which makes them a good bet for kids and parents. Check out our selections to find the right fit for your kid's interests and age.
On this educational games site, kids can learn everything from typing to math to spelling to matching. Starting out, kids select the right grade level and a game category, such as letters or numbers. There are lots of choices, and kids can even play with others. Though there are ads, the website is free, so it's easy to try without shelling out any cash.
BrainPop Jr., 5+
With videos, graphics, games, and printables, this fee-based site has a wide variety of educational resources in science, health, writing, reading, social studies, math, and more. Created by educators, the activities are aligned with state and national standards. If your kids' school has a subscription, you may be able to access the site with your kid's login.
Arcademic Skill Builders, 6+
More than 55 free games are grouped into more than 15 subject areas, ranging from shapes to algebra and geography. After kids play one of the games, they get immediate feedback so they can try to surpass their own achievements.
A zoo theme draws kids into a virtual learning playground offering math and language-arts activities, a personal zoo kids can decorate, and arcade games. The practice is solid, and the games and educational activities are separate (though some arcade games have embedded learning goals). There's a free version and a premium version.
PBS Kids Go!, 7+
Based on PBS's educational TV shows, this free site is jam-packed with games, videos, and quests featuring kids' favorite PBS TV show characters. If kids already love the shows, they'll probably love the learning games. With a safe social element, kids can connect with friends who also use the site.
TVO Kids, 7+
Though kids might not know the Canadian TV show that inspired this site, they can still have fun playing the dozens of free learning-based games and activities. Covering everything from the five senses to constellations, the content includes clever games, short videos, and contests that reward kids.
Curiosity Machine, 8+
Science and engineering are the stars on this free, project-based site where kids watch how-to videos and then complete a challenge. Kids can even connect with mentors to get more guidance.
Sponsored by the online education provider Family Education Network, FactMonster offers information on dozens of topics, including science, math, and U.S. history. Kids can take quizzes, play games, and use reference tools such as an atlas, a dictionary, and the periodic table -- all for free -- as they complete homework.
This fee-based, Indian math and science site encourages kids to think critically as they create equations or hypotheses to solve realistic problems such as preventing sheep from escaping a barn or saving a plant from pollution. Each activity or game targets a specific learning objective and provides immediate feedback and game scores to help kids know how they're progressing.
Code Monster from Crunchzilla, 11+