Never miss an amazing deal ever again. Receive our weekly newsletter with the latest offers and deals directly to your inbox – subscribe now.
So the coronavirus pandemic has us all staying safe at home, and we’re starting to maybe go a little stir crazy.
But did you know that the internet is chock full of great free online courses for adults and kids alike? It’s true, but they can be a bit tricky to track down…until now.
- 8 sites with free online courses for adults
- 16 sites with free educational games for kids
- 5 sites with other free educational content and resources
8 sites with free online courses for adults
Want to continue your studies or brush up on a new skill? These 8 sites may have the answer for you.
- Best for: People who are interested in math, science, and computer programming, but there are some arts and humanities courses.
- Costs: Completely free.
Khan Academy is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.” It’s been around for years, and it’s one of the most popular sources of free online courses in the world.
Its course content is still evolving, of course, so while there’s lots of science, math, and computer programming content, the site is still a bit lacking in courses focused on the arts and humanities.
The arts collection is growing, however, and there’s also a growing collection of content focused on professional skills including personal finance and entrepreneurship.
There’s also some content for kids at Khan Academy. It’s a great site, a great organization, and well worth checking out.
- Best for: Everyone. Udemy has a huge variety of courses, from maths and science through marketing and design all the way to music and drawing.
- Costs: Some free content, but you have to purchase most courses.
Udemy bills itself as “the leading global marketplace for learning and instruction,” and it’s an extremely popular service boasting over 295 million course enrollments.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of Udemy courseware has a (sometimes hefty) price tag. Luckily, the free content is actually pretty easy to find.
Start by doing a search for whatever subject you’re interested in, for example, “guitar.”
Then, on the search results page, click the “All Filters” button, and tick the “Free” checkbox under “Price” and hit “Apply.”
Et voila, hundreds of hours of free guitar lessons (or other courses) that should keep you busy for ages.
They do have some free kids content, as well. To find that, do the same as above, but searching for “kids” instead. It seems like most of the kids content on Udemy helpfully has “kids” somewhere in the title.
- Best for: People interested in academic study or continuing education.
- Costs: Many courses are free to audit, but require payment if you want official support or credentials at the end.
Coursera is another courseware marketplace of sorts, with the difference being that courses are primarily taught by instructors from world-class universities and companies.
There’s quite a bit of free content available on Coursera, but much of it is only available for pay. And while you’re not going to get a Masters of Computer Science degree for free, you can audit many of the courses for no cost.
Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy way to search for free content, but if you can audit a course for no cost, it will have an “Enroll for Free” button prominently in the top banner. Clicking that will give you all the details you need to get started.
If you do want to earn official certificates or academic credits, Coursera may be a great option to explore, although some of the costs are university-grade steep.
- Best for: Creatives or professionals.
- Costs: 2 month free trial, after which you have to subscribe ($141 annually, or $20 monthly).
Skillshare wears a few different hats – it has a lot of courses focused on arts and creativity, a bunch of skill building courses for professionals, and then a somewhat random array of productivity and lifestyle courses.
If you’re looking for creative stuff, there are lots of courses that teach animation, creative writing, fine art, graphic design, music, photography, and more.
On the professional side, there are courses about freelancing and entrepreneurship, leadership and management, and marketing.
Lifestyle and productivity? The courses range from learning the American Sign Language alphabet to creating your own signature cocktail, and just a huge variety of other things like:
- how to make a perfect grilled cheese,
- writing effective Etsy listings,
- flower arranging,
- hip hop dance moves,
- silversmithing, and
- so much more.
Unfortunately, Skillshare does require that you give them a credit card or Paypal account before you can take advantage of their 2 month free trial.
Just remember to set a calendar reminder for yourself so you can cancel your account before they take your first payment if you don’t want to continue with a full subscription.
LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com)
- Best for: Professionals looking to upgrade their skills.
- Costs: 1 month free trial, after which you have to subscribe ($300 annually or $34.99 monthly).
Lynda.com was one of the great early online courseware sites where many people learned the fundamentals of web development and the like. It has long since been acquired by LinkedIn and rebranded as LinkedIn Learning.
As you might expect, LinkedIn Learning is primarily focused on helping professionals level up their skills, with most courses being related to business or technology.
There is a “Creative” category, however, but even that tends towards the professional side of things, with courses in creative thinking, the principles of design, problem solving, and so on.
Like many of these sites, you have to sign up with a credit card or PayPal account before you can take advantage of the free trial, and you have to have a LinkedIn account.
Again, just remember to set a reminder to cancel your LinkedIn Learning account before your free trial is up to avoid getting charged for a subscription if you decide you don’t want it.
- Best for: People interested in academic study or continuing education.
- Costs: Many courses are free to audit, but otherwise you have to pay course fees.
EdX is an educational platform started by Harvard and MIT that now hosts online courses from dozens of accredited colleges and universities. They currently boast over 2,800 courses and over 25 million registered students.
EdX courses run the full range of what’s generally available at top universities, including architecture, art and culture, chemistry, engineering, history, law, math, and all the rest.
EdX is a great way to augment your existing coursework if you’re currently a student, to earn new credentials, or to refresh your skills if your degree is a little dusty after all this time. Either way, it’s a fantastic resource and well worth exploring.
Google Digital Garage
- Best for: People looking to learn new or polish existing professional skills.
- Costs: Most courses are free.
Google Digital Garage is a one-stop shop for free or paid courses offered by a variety of providers, including Google, FutureLearn, Grasshopper, Skillshop, the Open University and more.
Courses are primarily about data and technology, digital marketing, and career development, so this is a great place to learn new professional or technical skills that can look great on a resume.
The number of courses available is still relatively limited, but it’s worth poking around to see if there’s something of interest to you.
- Best for: People who want to learn new computer programming skills or languages.
- Costs: Very limited free content, with a free 7 day “Pro” trial after which you’ll have to subscribe ($240 US annually or $40 US per month).
As you may expect, Codecademy is for people who are interested in learning new programming skills.
The course catalogue is organized by subject or language, so you can dive in and learn web development, data science, or game development, or focus more specifically on languages like HTML or Python.
The actual free content is limited and difficult to find, but there is a free 7 day trial so you can get a taste for what the courses are like before committing to a full subscription. You do have to sign up with a credit card or PayPal in order to do this, however.
16 sites with free educational games for kids
Luckily in this new age of homeschooling, there’s no shortage of great free educational content for kids on the internet. The trick is that it can take a bit of time to track it all down.
But we’re here to help. Here are some of our top picks that will help keep your kids learning and entertained while staying safe at home during the pandemic.
TED Ed is brought to you by the TED organization, best known for its conferences and, of course, the TED Talks series of lectures. This is their youth and education initiative, whose mission is to support teachers and students around the world.
All of the content on TED Ed is completely free, and the majority of it is in the form of short videos and animations, generally between 5 and 15 minutes long.
These are accompanied by a short quiz to get students thinking about the topic, links to learn more, and occasionally a forum where you can discuss the topic with others.
In response to the current global coronavirus pandemic, TED Ed has also launched “[email protected],” where they’re working with educators and TED speakers to create and share daily lesson plans for a variety of age levels.
National Geographic Kids
As you may expect, National Geographic for Kids is not only gorgeous, but chock full of interesting and accessible scientific information. Here kids can explore topics related to space, science, animals, and more. There are lots of videos and fun quizzes as well.
NASA Kids Club
Part of the larger National Aeronautics and Space Administration website, the NASA Kids Club is a fantastic resource for kids to learn about space and science. There’s lots to explore here, including making your own papercraft Apollo Moon Capsule, loads of colouring pages about space and astronauts, and lots of games and puzzles to keep kids busy for hours.
And, if you’re interested in NASA’s missions and other programs, the website has lots of great stuff for adults, too.
Canadian Space Agency
Like NASA, the Canadian Space Agency has a website for kids, featuring experiments, games, fun activities, podcasts, quizzes, and more. Here you can learn how to launch your first homemade rocket, join the Explorers Club, listen to podcasts with real astronauts, and test your knowledge about the International Space Station. It’s a really great resource for the whole family.
The CBC has its own educational site for kids called simply CBC Kids. There’s lots of great content here, including games and videos about animals, history, nature, Canada, geography, arts, food and more. There’s even a daily “Top 3” post that points you at fun and interesting stuff to do, read, and play every day.
Education.com isn’t normally a free site, but they are currently offering some of their best premium content for free while the coronavirus pandemic has schools closed around the world.
There are loads of great worksheets you can print out, lots of well designed free online educational games to play, and other more structured things like guided lessons and lesson plans.
This is a valuable resource put together by professional educators that is focused on younger kids ranging from preschool to 5th grade. Well worth a look if you have kids that age.
PBS Kids and PBS Parents
PBS Kids has educational videos and games for kids, of course, and lots of them. But there’s also PBS Parents, where parents can find lots of different activity ideas for kids and access to a daily newsletter to help you navigate the challenges of homeschooling during the coronavirus crisis. Super fun for kids and incredibly useful for parents.
Arcademics has an enormous amount of free educational games for kids up to grade 6. Subject matter runs the gamut from counting and addition through language arts and spelling. These are all designed to be skill building games to help kids improve their math, language, vocabulary, and cognitive skills.
Games can be played directly on the web in a browser, but Arcademics also has apps for iPad and Android.
Primarily for preschoolers, Sesame Street’s website is full of videos, learning activities, and ways for families to stay healthy during these difficult times. They even have all the Muppets staying safe at home to help reduce the spread of the virus, and every week there are new videos posted from Elmo, Cookie Monster, and the rest of the gang.
Scholastic Learn at Home
Parents will fondly remember Scholastic Book Fairs growing up, and Scholastic continues to be an incredible educational resource for kids today. The Scholastic Learn at Home website has learning content ranging from Kindergarten up through grade 9. There’s also additional resources specifically for teachers and parents. It’s well worth a look.
CoolMath.com and CoolMath4Kids.com
These two completely free math learning resources are targeted at different skill levels, but there’s definitely something here for everyone.
CoolMath covers higher skill level topics including pre-algebra, algebra, pre-calculus, lines, factors and primes, and decimals.
CoolMath4Kids is for kids who are just learning the basics, including addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and fractions.
Both sites have lots of great math-focused games, however, so they really make math fun for kids of all ages.
Time for Kids
Brought to you by Time Magazine, Time for Kids is usually a subscription-only site, but they have made their Kids Digital Library free for the rest of this school year. Content ranges from Kindergarten through grade 6.
How Stuff Works
Honestly, How Stuff Works is as much for adults as it is for kids. There’s a ton of super interesting bite-sized educational content on the site, covering subjects like science, health, home and garden, tech, culture, money, entertainment, and more.
It’s easy to lose hours over there learning about how bacteria work, who Alexander Hamilton was, what Khipu is (the Inca Knot language), and more.
They even have a whole slew of stuff focused on getting through the coronavirus outbreak, including ways to stay fit at home, how to safely unpack your groceries, and how telemedicine can help both now and in the future.
Funbrain was created for kids from pre-Kindergarten through grade 8, and has been offering free educational games online since 1997. The site boasts a huge pile of amazing content, including videos, games, and books for a range of age groups.
The Exploratorium is an educational science centre in San Francisco, California. And while the facility itself is currently closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, they have a large collection of learning resources online that everyone can use.
The Explore section of the site includes online activities, apps, blogs, exhibits, videos and websites covering a huge variety of topics. These include astronomy, biology, earth science, history, mathematics, perception, and physics, among others.
There’s also the collection of bite-sized Exploratorium Science Snacks that will keep kids busy for hours, all while learning interesting science facts.
James Dyson Foundation
The James Dyson Foundation has created a huge collection of engineering and science activities for kids to try at home while waiting out the coronavirus pandemic.
Activities include making a bridge out of spaghetti, creating a cardboard boat, and building your own periscope, along with dozens more.
5 sites with other free educational content and resources
There are also lots of websites that have been creating and collecting free educational content and learning resources for years. Here’s a quick list of our favourites.
Open Culture is a phenomenal source of free online content and educational resources. Their site generally links to other sites’ content, but it’s a fantastic way to find free content about almost any topic you can think of.
Here’s a quick list of some of the free online courses they’ve curated from all over the web:
- 1,500 Free Online Courses from Top Universities
- Massive Open Online Courses from Great Universities
- 200 Free Textbooks
- Learn 48 Languages Online for Free
- 100 Free Online Business Courses
Brought to you by the Wikimedia Foundation, best known for the Wikipedia project, Wikiversity is devoted to creating learning resources, projects, and research for all levels and types of education.
The site includes content for education levels from pre-school to university, as well as content for professional training and informal continuing education. Most academic subjects have a dedicated portal within Wikiversity, including portals for:
- computer programming,
- and dozens more.
The main page of the site includes new content every day, including a featured project and an educational picture of the day, so it’s worth checking back often to see what’s new.
Like Wikiversity, Wikibooks is a Wikimedia Foundation project, dedicated to creating free open-content textbooks that anyone can use.
Wikibooks cover topics related to computing, humanities, science, mathematics, social sciences, languages, engineering, and more. For example, you can find textbooks covering:
- Japanese history,
- Parallel spectral numerical methods,
- Engineering acoustics,
- Methods and concepts in life sciences,
- Muggles’ Guide to Harry Potter,
- and literally hundreds more.
As these are open-textbooks that anyone can use (and edit), they’re not all considered “complete,” but there is just a vast amount of high quality content there for you to use.
Encyclopedia Mythica was first established in 1995 and has since gone on to become an incredibly comprehensive site of world mythology, folklore, and religion. It’s a very specific sort of resource, but if you’re at all interested in mythology, you’re going to love this place.
You can explore the content by geographic origin, with sections for the Americas, Asia, Europe, Middle East, and Oceania, plus more general sections for folklore and “miscellaneous.” Alternatively you can dive into different subject matter areas, such as Greek mythology and Arthurian legend.
Project Gutenberg is one of the most ambitious online volunteer community projects in the world, digitizing and hosting over 60,000 public domain books so far.
Much of the content on the site is older, of course, but there are thousands of classic works of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and stage plays available for free.
They’ve also launched Librivox, another volunteer community project that is working to produce audio books of many of the works available on Project Gutenberg.
And there you have it…hundreds and hundreds of hours worth of free courses and free educational kids games on the web. It’s a great time to learn a new skill, uplevel your resume, pick up a new hobby, or help your kids excel in their studies.
We hope this list can help!
Do you have a favourite source for free online courses or training that we’ve missed?
Are there any great free educational games for kids that should be on the list?
Let us know in the comments and we’ll add them here!