Free online activities for adults & kids. Virtual tours of museums and parks. Animal cams (including panda!). Free online courses for adults. And tons of kid’s learning printables and activities.
Stuck at home? It doesn’t matter if it’s a rainy day, you’re sick, or if (perhaps) you’re quarantined by government order.
You’ve probably got a lot more times on your hand. With that in mind, I scoured the internet to find free online activities for both adults and kids. I also discarded a lot of stuff I found (such as the “virtual tour” of the Great Wall of China that included a total of three pictures you could rotate).
They’re categorized below. I will (ideally) be updating this post regularly as I find new stuff. If you find anything I don’t have, please comment below and let me know so I can add it!
Zoos, Aquariums, & Parks
• The Yosemite National Park virtual tour was the ONLY one of out of over a dozen national parks I checked that were really cool. Get sites and sounds from around the park, including from various peaks and sitting next to a running stream.
• The Vatican Museum has six AMAZING virtual tours. You toggle to look at what you want. So why not explore the Sistine Chapel today?
• Blarney Castle has some great views and multiple attractions for you to check out in 360°.
Related: Cliffs of Moher visitor experience also has some views of the ocean and some from the tops of the towers. I think they’re in real-time, though, so you can watch the sunset tonight! (well, on their local sunset time, of course…haha).
• Google has a feature called “Online Arts & Cultures” and includes a program called “The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks“. It includes AMAZING tours of five national parks, including “Kenai Fjords,” “Hawaii Volcanos,” “Carlsbad Caverns,” “Bryce Canyon,” and “Dry Tortugas.”
I started just a couple of them and will come back to them later when I have more time. They looked really interesting. If you have time to visit in person, the post “Bryce Canyon Hikes” has some great information.
• The Smithsonian Museum is doing virtual tours of some of their current exhibits. You navigate through them.
• Panda cams. Is it only me who love watching pandas? Apparently not, because there are multiple panda cams out there!
– China’s Wolong Panda Reserve has 12 cameras! With sound! This was by far my favorite. (Link goes to the baby pandas, my favorite, the other cameras are below it and you can scroll through them).
– Smithsonian has two cameras.
– Atlanta Zoo has one (though one of the pandas was sleeping when I was watching…which was fairly boring)
• Discover Hawaii. I think that link is correct. (It’s a really long one because it was by my specific view from above Hawaii). You need to use Chrome. Anyway, if it pops up correctly, it will show an overview of Hawaii with some red dots. Each dot is an area you can explore.
• Houston Zoo has some live webcams. Even cooler, YOU can adjust the camera. (Right now, there is a wait with so many people wanting to do it). But pretty active and cool.
• San Diego Zoo has live cams of its favorite exhibits. (Supposedly, though I didn’t take the time to find them, they also have archived video of some fabulous moments).
• Monterey Bay Aquarium also has some live webcams. While the fish aren’t as exciting to watch, you can check them out.
• Georgia Aquarium has some live webcams. No special events, but you can check out some of the animals. Again, not the most exciting watching fishy swim around via a camera.
While one of the free online activities is exploring museums, this look doesn’t look long. That’s because the two Google resources below cover dozens of different museums, temples, etc. So click on one of the links and start exploring the world!
• Google’s Art & Cultures webpage has TONS of museums with fabulous photos and descriptions. Explore by museum. Most museums have their exhibits divided into categories so you can wander through The Italian Renaissance, modern art, and more. There are photographs, sculptures, paintings, and more.
• Google Explore Museums pages allows you to “walk around” outside various temples and historic sites, including the Taj Mahal, multiple temples from around the world, a some churches. It also offers a look from the top of the Eiffel Tower!
Concerts, Music, & Plays
• Radio Garden. You can scroll the world globe and listen to radio stations from around the world!
• The Met (***this is a temporary service) is live-streaming operas! The link leads you to the current schedule. Every day for the duration of the Met’s closure due to the pandemic, a different encore presentation from the company’s Live in HD series will be made available for free streaming on the Met website, with each performance available for a period of 20 hours, from 7:30 p.m. EDT until 3:30 p.m. the following day.
• PBS has a small Broadway show collection (but it requires a $5 “donation”)
• Access Mars. I didn’t watch the whole video or play around a lot. But it’s kind of cool.
• Free Online Courses. <That link leads you to over 450 online courses by top universities and colleges. They range from computer programming to philosophy.
• San Diego Zoo has a special kid’s area with articles, games, craft activities, and more.
• Storytime Online. Actors and actresses read kids books to them. It’s just like story-time at the library, but from your own home.
• Preschool through Fifth Grade worksheet packets (for free) by Have Fun Teaching. ***Note: this MIGHT be a temporary freebie. I’ll delete in the future if they start charging money.
• Cincinnati Zoo (News article or Facebook page) is doing Facebook lives 3pm-5pm daily. The first one will feature the world’s most famous hippo, Fiona. To watch live, just visit the Zoo’s Facebook page at 3pm. The Zoo will also post the safaris on its website and on YouTube so everyone can view.” They also have “back episodes” of “Adventures with Fiona” on Facebook.
•123Homeschool4Me– over 1 MILLION free printable pages for kids of various ages. Along with category, there is a listing on the main page for various grades so you can easily access what you need for your child.
•Hello Kids– free coloring pages and activity sheets.
•All4Kids Network– again, a ton of free printable worksheets. I didn’t see a way to sort by age, though, only by category.
• TV News Station KIRO7 has an exhaustive list of over 30 different places online to find kid’s resources. Rather than copy their list, I simply linked them. Their article was written due to current health concerns, so I can’t promise all those resources will be free forever.
• ***Temporarily available. I can’t promise how long the subscriptions will last and whether you’ll be required to put in credit card information for the free trial.
Educational companies offering free subscriptions due to school closings.
Wrapping It Up
Wow! I had no idea there was so much to do online. I hope you enjoy these free online activities.
And if I ever get a break from blogging, I’m going to check out some of those. Especially “The Hidden World of National Parks”.
If you find a new option I don’t have listed, please comment below and let me know. And could you do me a favor? Could you share this with your friends?