Published On: Wednesday, June 10, 2020|Categories: Learning Strategies, Parents|

With many schools recently adopting an online version of their classes, the internet has never before been such a perfect tool for educating young minds. Sometimes, though, children and teens can become tired of structured learning and long for some mindless screen time. If you’re wanting to give your child a little bit of a break, but are trying to avoid letting them spend hours watching funny cat videos on YouTube, try out one of the below secretly educational sites!

Online Story Times

How cool would it be to have Betty White read you a story? She and other famous personalities come together at Storyline Online to read their favorite books to kids around the country. All kinds of people are reading stories online now–from Astronauts on the International Space Station to your local librarians on Facebook.  You can even find authors like Mo Willems and Kwame Alexander adding a special twist to their storytimes.


You can find more than just storytimes on your library’s webpage for screen time. Houston Public Library has online resources for kidstweens, and teens. They have everything from contests and virtual programs to downloadable e-books and audiobooks.


If the library’s too similar to school work, how about a field trip to the zoo? The Houston Zoo is bringing their animals to your home everyday at 11 am through Facebook Live. You can also re-watch your favorite animal as well as any missed live videos on their YouTube channel.  Almost every other zoo is offering up something similar either through their social media or website, so you can experience a new facility without the hassle of travel. Some, like the famous San Diego Zoo, have kid-friendly pages that include animal crafts and games alongside their videos.

National Parks

If you want to get more wild, many parks have virtual tours you can go on, as well as great information about the sites you’ll see.  From volcanoes at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park to glaciers at Kenai Fjords National Park, there’s something for everyone. Plus, some parks–like Padre Island National Seashore and Big Thicket National Preserve–actually have virtual junior ranger programs you can participate in!

Access Mars

Parks and zoos aren’t the only places offering virtual experiences. Get out of this world by exploring Mars! You can drive the Curiosity Rover around to different mission sites on the red planet and see what NASA sees.

Google Earth

Bringing it back to our home planet, Google Earth lets you see every corner of the world while providing fun facts about the places you’re virtually visiting. Go on a Voyage or–if you like a little mystery–play Where on Google Earth is Carmen Sandiego.

Digital Escape Rooms

If you’re able to catch Carmen Sandiego while exploring Google Earth, you may be ready for a digital escape room! For fantasy fans, there’s the popular Hogwarts Digital Escape Room from the Peters Township Public Library. If you consider yourself more of a sci-fi person, there are actually two Star Wars-themed challenges–the Star Wars Digital Escape Room from  the Hillsdale Free Public Library or Escape from the Star Killer Base from the Richmond Hill Public Library. For a hodgepodge of other rooms, check out 30+ Digital Escape Rooms.

Find More Secretly Educational Uses of Screen Time

The internet is full of fun and amazing things for students that go beyond your classic online classroom. If you are in search of a good online school for your child, though, the Tenney School is happy to announce the launch of Tenney School Live. Like our physical school, Tenney School-Live practices one-to-one classrooms, allowing for a more flexible and personal education. Contact us today to find out more!

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