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Prevent a learning slide when school is out with these free and low-cost ways to keep your kids learning all season long: incentive ideas, free online games, printable activities, and more!

How to Prevent a Learning Gap: Easy Ways to Keep Kids On Track at Home

Now more than ever, kids are struggling to keep up with learning. Whether it is a summer learning slide or falling behind due to COVID-19 learning gaps, parents are having to step up home learning and online education. Luckily, there are dozens of free resources to help if you know where to look.

The other key to a successful home learning plan is keeping kids motivated! It is important to bake in some fun and motivation to keep kids engaged. We’ve put together some ideas and products that we love to help with that as well. If you have other ideas that we have not included in our list, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section!


BrainPop is offering a two-week free trial full access for families. BrainPop offers learning games, animated movies, and other activities from Kindergarten up to middle school level in Science, Social Studies, English, Arts, and more. It is available in Spanish and French as well as English. It also offers an English proficiency track.

Education.com – Free/Paid Options

There are tons of free printable worksheets organized by grade and subject. The Summer Challenge and Summer Boost are both free too. These are great because you can print them out and take them with you when you travel. It won’t weigh you down and if you leave it somewhere, you can just jump online and print out a new sheet.

There are also free educational games (limited levels with free version) that are fun to play and allow kids to learn valuable reading, math, and coding skills.

We also love the Reading Stamina Chart. If you have competitive kids, this one is an awesome way to challenge them to keep increasing the number of minutes they read each night or each week as the summer progresses.

If you want even more worksheets, you can purchase a premium membership. It is only $8 for the first month and $15.99 thereafter or you can pay $5 per month if you sign up for an entire year. The Premium Membership gives you access to 30,000 printable and digital resources for your children including worksheets, games, activities, songs, stories, and more.

Khan Academy – Free

Khan Academy offers a comprehensive array of educational resources for all grades from Pre-Kindergarten all the way through high school to help with a home learning plan.

Whether you’re looking for extra help in core subjects such as math or reading, looking to enrich your child’s appreciation of the arts, or even strengthen interpersonal skills in social interactions or emotional intelligence, Khan Academy has you covered!

Getting ready for college? For high school students, Khan Academy offers free Praxis Core, LSAT, and SAT test prep courses. For older students, there are also life skills courses on preparing for college admissions, personal finance, and exploring career options.

Get a jump start on the school year with Camp Khan! There are 10 FREE Get Ready math courses geared to Grades 3-8 plus Algebra, Geometry, and everyone’s favorite…Pre-Calculus!

Prodigy – Free

Prodigy is a free educational platform that focuses on math games for 1st to 8th graders. It is available in desktop and app form. The curriculum was designed by certified educators in partnership with Johns Hopkins University.

Kids gain exposure to over 1,500 math skills that adapt as they play fun learning games. The more kids play, the more fun rewards they can unlock such as pets, gear, and accessories.

Scratch – Free

Scratch is a free, online program that teaches kids how to code. It was developed by MIT students. It is a great additional enrichment to a home learning program!

Time for Kids – Free

Time for Kids has an excellent collection of host of articles on all kinds of subjects. There are topics such as wild animals, science, and nature. Content is chunked into age-appropriate groups and is geared to Kindergarten through sixth grade level. It is offered in both English and Spanish language with an audio option.

Scholastic Parents Facebook Page – Free/Paid Options

Made by the same company that contributes to your child’s school book fairs. Scholastic Books Facebook page offers lots of great advice for motivating kids to read and free resources. Plus, age-appropriate reading suggestions!

Free Kids Learning Activities and ideas for summer learning.

Learning Games for Kids – Free

There are so many free desktop learning games available for children on this website. Some include practice typing and others are memory games or jigsaw puzzles.

CoolMath – Free

Cool Math offers lots of free desktop math games for kids for all ages. There are sections to help with math ranging from algebra through pre-calculus. Children can even play a virtual chess match!

The Stem Lab Math Printables– Free

The Stem Lab has a wonderful list of free math printables for elementary school students. Keep an eye on their blog because they are always adding new resources. Many of the free math printables are summer-themed.

The Stem Lab Lego Challenge Cards – Free

Another summer learning freebie that we absolutely love from The Stem Lab is the free set of LEGO challenge cards! These inspire your kids to take out their LEGOS and build their own creation while secretly working their strategic thinking skills and hand/eye coordination too!

Good Housekeeping Recycled Crafts for Kids – Free

You can have plenty of educational fun with cheap or free things! Challenge your kids to build something creative out of your recyclables. Paper towel and toilet paper rolls, cereal boxes, plastic bottles, and cartons make excellent building materials. Click the link above to get started or hop over to Pinterest where you can find a plethora of other upcycled craft tutorials!

Local Library

Most public libraries offer online access to special learning resources and tools. Through our public library, we can access a host of digital classes, online magazines, foreign language programs, and even online tutoring!

Preventing a learning slide is easier than you may have thought. Even with no money to spend on toys or gear, you can give your child a fun, safe and educational summer vacation by utilizing the free resources at your fingertips.


There is a lot of easy to digest mathematical videos for kids on this website and the best part is that they are ad free! They also have downloadable worksheet, lesson plans and games.

Homeschool Pop Learning Videos – Free

Homeschool Pop is another YouTube series that is great for kids! It offers first, second, and third-grade curriculum playlists that offer geography, history, science, math, and language arts lessons.

National Geographic Kids

Smithsonian’s National Zoo Animals

The Smithsonian National Zoo has some really great resources on their website for learning about all kinds of animals. Click on Animals A-Z for access to pictures, facts, and videos of over 200 different animal species. Click on Webcams for a live look at the zoo’s naked mole-rats, lions, giant pandas, and elephants!

You can make up your own activities for your kids to do. Write a report on an endangered species. Make a list of all of the reptiles. Find out what the pandas are doing right now. Compare how leopards and cheetahs are the same and different. The possibilities are endless!

National Geographic Kids Animals – Free/Paid Options

Bringing the education of National Geographic magazines to a virtual realm designed to be more kid-friendly. You can be sure your child will learn some random facts about animals after spending some time on here.

Learning facts won’t be the only thing, as they also have games and quizzes to occupy your child’s time and mind.

Click here for TOM & JERRY THE MOVIE activity printables!

NASA Kids Club

NASA Kids’ Club is a fun website that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration built to teach kids all about space. It includes free online games, downloads, and printables.

Channel your inner astronaut with free space learning activities and online games for kids.


Written by an experienced homeschooling mom, this website offers lots of great information! Get limited-time free content from homeschool service providers plus printables and downloads that you can use to develop your own lesson plans. There are also some great articles for preventing boredom at home and ideas and inspiration for family activities.

Simply Piano App

This iPhone app can teach you basic piano notes. The app shows short videos and has an interactive feature that listens to you play and coaches you. You have to pay for more advanced lessons, but the beginner features are enough to teach a new student the basics of how to read music and play melodies.

Little Tikes® Camp Play@Home

For younger kids, Little Tikes® has a great summer series that includes free downloadable activities, games, and videos. From time-to-time, they also have fantastic product giveaways too!


Traveling is an excellent way to open your kids up to learning about other cultures, immerse themselves into history, and experience new landscapes and culinary delights.

Travel Education

We have put together a list of 9 ways to educate your kids thru traveling. We hope that this inspires you to travel to new places this summer!

National Geographic Student Expeditions Videos

National Geographic Student Expeditions is a program that allows high school students to go on summer travel expeditions. There is a great series of YouTube videos about some of the trips that include Alaska, Peru, the Galapagos Islands, and many other fascinating locations. These short videos are an excellent way for kids to learn geography and experience culture without traveling.

Homeschool Pop Travel the 50 States Series

We know that gas prices are out of control lately. One way to experience travel without leaving home is to check out Homeschool Pop! They have an excellent YouTube playlist that provides an overview of each of the 50 U.S. States.

During the pandemic, we worked our way through visiting all the 50 United States virtually. We supplemented the Homeschool Pop videos with state tourism videos to round out our visual tour. We also bought our kids PHYSICAL EDUCATION

It is easy for kids to get attached to their digital devices and sucked into television during the summer, especially when parents are busy working! But, it is important for kids to stay active and get daily exercise. Here are a few ways to incorporate daily fitness activities into your kids summer routines.

Blooming Breath Yoga

Blooming Breath Yoga for Kids & Teens is a yoga studio based in Severna Park, Maryland. They offer free Facebook live classes from time to time. Plus, they have a great video library of free on-demand kids yoga classes on their Facebook page. For the more serious little yogis, they also offer summer camps and subscription-based class series!

Keep your little ones fit this summer with kids yoga on-demand and free kids fitness classes!


If your kids are hitting the screen time too hard, BOKS Kids is an excellent resource to check out! They have free downloadable workout packs available in English, Spanish, and French!

The downloads include a helpful calendar that has hyperlinks to their YouTube channel with workout videos. There are also mini activity bursts, downloadable games, and even BOKS Bursts for Seniors!


Before we jump into all our exciting ideas for preventing the summer slide, let’s take a minute to talk about motivation! We purchased the Star Wars Rewards Sticker Chart for our kids. It was only $5.49 and includes 36 charts. If your child is not a Star Wars fan, there are a ton of other inexpensive reward incentive chart options to choose from.

Here is how we use our charts to keep our kids engaged in learning activities. Each chart has 20 spots on it and there are four different colors. We made a legend for different subjects:

Stop the summer slide by keeping your kids motivated to learn all summer long with these easy tips and portable activities that you can take with you on your family vacation! #summerslide #summerlearning #familytraveltips #kidsactivities

Here is how we use our charts to keep our kids engaged in learning activities. Each chart has 20 spots on it and there are four different colors. We made a legend for different subjects:

  • Yellow is Physical Education “PE” and covers sports activities, karate practice, and any other fitness activity.
  • Green is an English Language Arts “ELA” including grammar and vocabulary practice.
  • Blue is for math activities.
  • Red is for reading.

When our kids complete an entire chart, they can choose a prize from a grab bag. We are not big on cheap toys, so our prizes are experiences such as going out to the movies, attending an indoor play center, or dinner at one of their favorite restaurants.

Prevent summer slide with these free and low-cost ways to keep your kids learning all season long: incentive ideas, free online games, printable activities, and more! #summerlearning #kidsactivities #summerkidsactivities


If you have an Amazon Prime Membership, you have access to many watchable learning options. Here are a few of our favorites:

Odd Squad – STEM focused lessons featuring a team of inquisitive kids

Wild Kratts – Cartoon/live action animal documentary series

Design Squad – PBS Kids designing reality series

Little Pim – Foreign language learning series


It can be difficult to keep up with learning over the summer while traveling and letting your kids enjoy the long summer nights of swimming and outdoor play. To make it easier, we’ve put together some affordable and exciting ways to keep your kids engaged in advancing their curriculum while they enjoy their school break.


Keeping workbooks handy is a great way to help kids not only fight the moments of boredom this summer but also help to keep them learning. They can do everything from math to writing and English. Perfect for keeping their brains engaged and giving them a headstart for the new school year.

Here are some great bundle workbooks divided by grade level:

1st Grade

2nd Grade

3rd Grade

4th Grade


STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. STEM toys help children build problem-solving, innovation, creativity, concentration, and direction following skills. As an alternative to traditional education, STEM toys are hands-on kids activities. Kids feel confident and proud when they know they’ve created something all by themselves.

Constructive engineering toys are a great STEM toy for kids. They usually allow kids to have so much fun building that they don’t even realize that they are learning too!

Building a movable machine gives your kids all the fun of building something amazing, while still letting them play with it afterward. Constructing a tower is nice, but you can’t roll it around a race track.

STEM kits for girls and boys are an inexpensive alternative to summer camp and can provide hours of play plus a great learning experience too!

Prevent Summer Slide

There are tons of ways to prevent summer slide! From educational toys and creative downloadables to learning video games and YouTube series, your kids will have so much fun, they won’t even know they are learning! Plus, they will be on top of their game once back-to-school season hits!

Print out this under-the-sea themed crossword and take it along on your way to the beach! For more reading and writing activities for your kids, visit Education.com.

Prevent summer slide with free printables that you can take with you! Visit our site for the answer key and over a dozen other ideas for summer learning! #summerlearning #kidsactivities #freekidsprintables
Answer key for the free Kids Summer Learning Crossword Printable. Head to our site for more free learning ideas! #summerlearning #printablesforkids
Prevent summer slide with free printables, online games, and other activities to keep your kids learning while they are away from school! #summerlearning #summerslide #kidstravelactivities #summerkidsactivities
Free resource guide with free and low-cost ways to keep your kids learning all summer long and prevent the summer slide! #freeguide #summerlearning #kidssummeractivities
Free resource guide with free and low-cost ways to keep your kids learning while school is out. #homeschool #parenting #kidslearningactivities #onlinelearninggames #freelearningapps


We are a travel and adventure obsessed family of four. We love to experience everything from local festivals and events in our ever-growing suburb of Columbia, Maryland in Howard County and neighboring cities of Baltimore, Annapolis, and D.C. to international extravaganzas, Caribbean guest fitness instructor vacations, ocean voyages, dream grants, city visits, and offbeat destinations.

MISSION: To inspire happy, healthy, active families by sharing local experiences and travel adventures, fitness tips, and wellness resources.


  1. Bookmarking this! The resources in this giant list which I’ve used have been great, so it makes me curious to check out the other ones you put here which I haven’t used yet with our kids. Thanks for compiling this!

  2. I love the idea of a reward incentive program to encourage learning. I am going to have to get that Star Wars chart! Although this is a great list for summer, I find it very useful now as well as we have some unexpected time off. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Great resource list for STEM, and love the video links! As an English teacher, one thing I would recommend is to focus more on the reading stamina chart and less on any type of worksheets – the vocabulary will come with lots of choice-based reading time – trust me!:) They can even read while sitting on a Bosu or Swiss/yoga ball. Turn the Bosu ball upside down and it becomes a balancing activity:)

  4. Lots of great ideas you’ve included here, I especially like the idea for the STEM toys. I don’t have kids, but I remember feeling like I forgot a lot of what I had learned over the summer when I was younger and in school. I wish I’d had some of these resources myself!

    1. Try your local library. Many of them have free online classes. I just discovered our library, Howard County, has a new brain training program to help improve memory retention and faster brain processing. I am definitely going to take advantage of the program.

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