While kids look forward to summer vacation all year long, summer parents dread it. School is an important source of childcare for countless parents, and the summer months can drag on. On top of that, many parents are still waiting to find out if their child’s school district is actually going to resume in-person classes this year, or if they have another school year of online learning.
So how do you keep your kids entertained while we’re all stuck at home? Sure, you could prop them down in front of a screen, but most video games and TV shows are seriously lacking in the education department. Summer school may have been a popular option in the past, but with the invention of online learning, it’s easier than ever to find your kids fun and educational activities at home.
By making time for learning throughout summer vacation, you’ll prevent summer learning loss, which is the technical term for the two months of math and reading skills many students lose while not in school. Because of this, enrolling your child in online courses during the summer can lead to higher test scores and an easier transition into the next grade. That’s especially important after all of the disruptions kids have faced already because of COVID-19.
The good news is that there are thousands of online courses available for kids (and adults) of all ages. These include subscription-based services, multi-week courses and one-off lessons on a diverse range of subjects, such as:
- Foreign Language
- Computer Skills
The best online courses for kids are a great option in lieu of or in addition to enrolling them in a full-time summer camp and can help enhance their skills in a number of areas without the need of a specialized tutor. The beauty of online courses is that kids can learn at their own pace while you can be there to help, encourage and watch them enjoy learning in a comfortable environment. We’ve highlighted 15 unique and popular courses below that cover loads of valuable topics.
1. Udemy: Drawing and Painting Online Courses for Young Children
Udemy is best known for its adult courses, but the platform also has some of the best online courses for kids. A great fun summer course option is Drawing and Painting for Young Children. This course is designed with beginners in mind and gives you a total of 8 unique drawing and painting projects to complete. The course involves organizing shapes and lines together until a recognizable outcome is achieved. This course will give your kids the tools they need to begin their artistic journey into self-expression, reflection and creative thinking. And might just give you some time to yourself as well.
Udemy has tons of great online courses for kids, and you can find the full lineup on the Udemy website.
2. Learn at Home by Scholastic
You likely remember Scholastic books or even the Scholastic magazine from when you were in elementary school. Did you know the company now has an online learning portal to keep kids learning even when they aren’t in school? That’s right, the book fair has officially gone digital. For $5.99 a month, you’ll get access to the service which is full of engaging activities, stories and games tailored to your child’s age and abilities. One of the most unique parts of Learn at Home by Scholastic is that it also offers guided activities for parents to do with their children. This is a great way to learn throughout the summer or boost classroom learning when school starts again.
3. ABC Mouse
BEST FOR YOUNG LEARNERS
ABC Mouse makes learning fun for kids as young as two years old. The subscription service features over 850 lessons across 10 levels targeted to children ages two to eight. Furthermore, the service covers a wide variety of subjects, from mathematics and reading to art and science. Animations, games, puzzles, songs and printables keep the lessons interesting to young minds. ABC Mouse is available for your laptop, tablet or smartphone, and the service is free for the first month, allowing your kids to try it without making a commitment. After that, it’s just $9.95 per month.
4. Photography for Kids: Project-Based Beginner Photography
You’ve probably noticed by now that many of the best online courses for children are on the Udemy online learning platform. However, this class is by far one of the most popular and relevant to kid’s lives.
The invention of the camera phone gave nearly every adult in America a camera in their pocket, making photography a huge part of our lives. Your kids are likely used to you pulling out your phone to snap photos of them on a regular basis. So, why not give your kids the skills to properly use a camera to create stunning photographs? The Photography for Kids course on Udemy requires only a phone camera or a digital camera and teaches kids the history of photography as well as techniques to use with any camera. After each of the 12 weeks, your child will need to complete a fun photography project, ranging from “What’s in Your House?” to “Be a Photojournalist for a Day.”
5. Kids Yoga
Get your kids moving during the Summer break with the Kids Yoga class. This yoga-based exercise program combines yoga, hula hooping and relaxation techniques in every class. Help build their self-confidence while keeping them active and healthy in a non-competitive atmosphere with this 30-minute class. By the end of the class, your child might be able to teach you a thing or two about yoga, some imaginative poses and even how to use the hula hoop!
6. Beginner Coding for Kids
Its never too late to start thinking about their future. The Beginner Coding for Kids class might help turn your child into the next internet mogul. Coding is now a leading career that pays twice the national average of other jobs and one that might be too valuable and obvious to ignore as there will always be a need for coders. This beginner course will show kids how to code by adapting the material to their learning styles via animated lectures, informative screencasts and tests.
7. Learn to Read
BEST HEAD START ON READING
Start your kids early with the journey of learning how to read. The Learn to Read course will provide 2 videos teaching your child the alphabet letters and sounds, 8 video books that will teach your child to read simple words and sight word flashcards for them to read and practice. This class will give your little one an incredible advantage when school starts again in the Fall.
8. Art Projects for Children
BEST FOR THE ARTISTICALLY INCLINED
Another art-based course for kids is the Kids Collage Workshop: Art Projects for Children & Beginners. Your kids will learn basic collage techniques and apply them to complete each of the 8 fun and unique art projects. These collage projects are fun, easy and will keep your kids entertained for hours while giving them the skills to create masterpieces of their own. Along with the fun of painting, your kids will cultivate critical thinking skills, develop hand-eye coordination and learn about self-expression.
9. Make it Mandarin by Third Haus
Learning a second language is great for kids. Not only does it give them an extra skill later in life, it also improves critical thinking skills, listening skills and multitasking abilities. And, if you really want to give your child a leg up, enroll them in Mandarin classes. After all, Mandarin is the most spoken language in the world. Make it Mandarin by Third Haus makes it easy to start your kid down the path to Mandarin proficiency. This one-on-one class meets regularly for 60-minute sessions. Plus, if you have more than one child at the same level, you can enroll the second or third kid in the same class at a discounted rate.
10. The Dynamite Dinner Club
BEST FOR BUDDING CHEFS
Americans have been cooking and baking at home more than they have in years lately, and if that’s inspired your kid to cook up some kitchen creations, it may be time to enroll them in The Dynamite Dinner Club. This online cooking program started as an after-school program in New York City. However, when COVID-19 struck, the course was forced to move online. While that might not be great news for the original students, it’s wonderful news for you. Through the 10-week Zoom program, The Dynamite Dinner Club teaches children ages seven to 15 how to cook up delectable meals, like gumbo with cornbread muffins and gazpacho with tapas. Lessons are $30 on a one-off basis or $25 if you purchase the full 10 weeks. Weekend workshops and week-long classes are also on offer this summer.
11. Entrepreneurship For Kids – Business Ideas, Skills and Tips
BEST COURSE ABOUT MONEY
As the parent of a budding entrepreneur, you know how important it is to foster business skills in your young one. Yet, if you don’t know how to encourage their ideas, this course is for you. Through one and a half hours of online video as well as downloadable content and articles, Chris Benjamin teaches business tips and skills for young ones. He also provides several business ideas for children or for parents and children to start together with little to no upfront costs. Perhaps this summer is the perfect time to allow your child’s entrepreneurship to run while with the help of this informative Udemy course.
12. Creative Writing for Kids
BEST FOR BUDDING AUTHORS
Your budding author may spend all summer creating stories anyways, so why not give him or her the tools to write a powerful spy thriller? The Creative Writing for Kids course for ages 10 to 14 is taught by a published author and elementary school teacher. It reviews all the ingredients for a good spy story, including character development, plot, mystery and perspective. The course also teaches kids how to edit their own work to arrive at a story that everyone enjoys. In addition to two hours of on-demand video, you’ll also get access to a downloadable workbook when you buy this popular Udemy course.
13. Origami with Jacob by Smarten Up
BEST ONE OFF
If you’re looking for a one-off class to keep your elementary or middle school-aged children occupied for an hour, consider Origami with Jacob by Smarten Up. Priced at just $15, this 45-minute tutorial teaches kids the basics of paper folding art based on the ancient Japanese tradition. In each session, Jacob teaches children how to fold several models step by step through a live online class. Not only do the children get to create a work of art, they’re also learning geometrical theories and spatial reasoning at the same time.
14. An Introduction to the World of Blogging for Kids
BEST FOR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENTS
Your kids are entering a world that’s far different from the one you grew up in. One of the major differences is the ability to post their thoughts and life stories online through social media or even a blog. An Introduction to the World of Blogging for Kids enables children in third, fourth or fifth grade to start a blog of their own using the Blogger website. Through the five-module course, kids learn about what blogging is, how to write a basic blog post, how to format a blog post and how to add outside content to the blog. In the end, your child will have a functioning blog as well as improved reading and writing skills.
15. Beginning Multiplication Facts Made Easy
BEST MATHEMATICS COURSE
Outschool is a unique learning platform which offers multi-week courses taught through live video chats. The classes, which the website offers in a variety of subject matters, meet at scheduled times and feature classroom forum discussions as well as interactive projects. This particular course, called “Beginning Multiplication Facts Made Easy,” is taught by a licensed elementary school teacher with 17 years of classroom experience. It converse multiplication tables for 0 through 12 as well as mathematical rules, patterns and mnemonic devices. This is the ideal course for children who want to get ahead in math class or for those who need to do a little reviewing before moving up a grade next year.