As a teacher, there’s always been a question that I wanted to have an answer to.
“I’m done. What do I do now?”
Early in my teaching career, my answer was, “If you’re done, you’re done.” That was my veiled answer for, “I don’t know what you should do next.”
If you’re ever stuck without a good answer — like I was at times — it’s nice to have something solid you can pull out of your back pocket, so to speak.
When my students have had free time on their hands, I have always loved to direct them somewhere online that is engaging or interesting as well as academic in some form. In my years as a high school Spanish teacher, I’ve been happy to direct them to places where they’d learn about other things than Spanish with that free time. Just as long as it was academic in nature.
(To be clear, that free time doesn’t have to be spent online. Although the suggestions I’ll make here are, great alternatives can include drawing, creating with Legos or Play-Doh, or more!)
Here are some of my favorite spots to direct students that will encourage and inspire them. I even shared some of these on TikTok in some of my most popular videos. Check them out below (and follow me on TikTok!)
Scroll down for 40 sites for students who finish early. File them away for a rainy day, and if you need something stimulating for your students, pull them out!
New interactive free time choice board!
We have created an interactive free time choice board for you to use right away with your students. You can try it out below and just share this link with your class to give them access to TONS of activities to try in their free time.
40 sites for students with free time on their hands
Please add to the list! If you have a favorite, please include it in a comment at the end of the post. Thanks!
1. Free Rice
Each time you answer a multiple choice vocabulary question correctly, you generate enough money for the United Nations World Food Programme to buy 10 grains of rice to help reach Zero Hunger. Click here!
BeanBeanBean works like Free Rice where you answer questions and each one that is correctly answered earns you virtual beans that are converted to money that is donated to charity. Quiz topics include times tables, ASL alphabet, world capitals, the periodic table and more. Click here!
If coloring sheets are part of your life — with your students or with your own children or grandchildren — you MUST know about Quiver. Print coloring sheets from the Quiver website and color them. The Quiver app (iTunes) (Andriod) uses your camera to scan the coloring sheet and bring its characters to vivid, 3D life!. Click here!
8. GMZ Podcast
GMZ Shows is a valuable resource for teachers looking for high-quality podcasts to incorporate into their classroom instruction. Teachers can browse the podcast library and access resources such as lesson plans and discussion guides.
Try one out:
TED-Ed is filled with tons of short video lessons on a variety of topics. Students can watch anything from “How Thor got his hammer” to “Can you solve the vampire hunter riddle?”. The goal of these videos is to spark the curiosity of learners. Each video offers students the opportunity to watch, think, dig deeper, and discuss. Click here!
14. Crash Course
Crash Course is a YouTube channel filled with educational videos for kids ages 12+ and adults. Videos offer content delivered by entertaining teachers combined with animated graphics. Each playlist contains a course focusing on a different content area. Topics include Engineering, Media Literacy, Psychology, World History and more. Click here!
If YouTube is blocked at your site, or if you want to avoid the “suggested videos” you can also view Crash Course videos on pbslearningmedia.org/collection/crash-course
15. Crash Course Kids
Made by the creators of Crash Course (I bet you had already figured that one out for yourself) Crash Course Kids combines the same engaging lecture-style content delivery with animated graphics that focus on grade school science. Topics include Earth Science, Physical Science, Biology, Geography, Engineering, and Astronomy. Click here!
This channel began with 5th-grade science but more videos have been added and all can be great additions to any science curriculum grades 3+.
16. SciShow Kids
Another creation by the same producers that bring you the Crash Course series, Sci Show Kids is a compilation of informational science videos for students of any age. These videos are hosted by Jessi and her robot rat “Squeaks” and answer questions that inquiring young minds really want to know. Students can watch playlists of videos dedicated to science on the playground, getting to know your emotions, simple machines, experiments, and many more fun topics. Click here!
17. Pixar in a Box
Pixar has partnered up with Khan Academy to bring your students Pixar in a Box. With video tutorials and interactive lessons, this course gives us a window into the jobs of Pixar animators. Topics include the art of storytelling, animation, rigging, color science and more. This course shows students that the subjects they learn in school — math, science, computer science, and humanities — are used every day to create the movies we love from Pixar. Click here!
18. Imagineering in a Box
Khan Academy has also teamed up with Disney to create Imagineering in a Box which allows you to explore different aspects of theme park design, from characters to ride development, as you design a theme park of your very own. Click here!
19. Google Arts and Culture
Discover exhibits and collections from museums and archives all around the world. Explore cultural treasures in extraordinary detail, from hidden gems to masterpieces. See super high-resolution images of some of the best works of art in the world. Walk world-famous museums. Examine historical happenings in detail. Click here!
20. Google Expeditions
Google Expeditions are not gone. They just now live in Google Arts and Culture. Take a virtual field trip to hundreds of places around the world and beyond. Search by subject, topic, location and more. Click here!
21. Dollar Street
Homes are sorted on Dollar Street by monthly income one end showing the poorest, the other the richest and everything in between. Click on any picture to view images and learn more about families around the world. Click here!
25. Art Hub for Kids
With Art Hub for Kids you’ll find all kinds of art lessons designed with kids in mind and for almost all of their lessons all you need is paper, pencil and coloring supplies. Click here!
27. Digital Escape Rooms
Digital escape rooms are fun and give students the opportunity to practice productive struggle as they work through the puzzles and solve the clues. Click here for a Digital Escape Room choice board!
MORE: Learn all about how to create a digital escape room for your students in this post.
Learn and practice Google Drawings skills with interactive tutorials from Tony Vincent. The first 4 shapegrams are FREE to download and use with your students. Thirty-five dollars gets you 365 days of membership privileges, which includes access to all Shapegrams and a license to distribute them to students. Two new Shapegrams are added per month (August through May).
35. Chrome Music Lab
Chrome Music Lab is a website that makes learning music more accessible through fun, hands-on experiments to explore music and its connections to science, math, art, and more. Click here!
36. Tinker Ball
Playing around with objects and ideas helps us see that there may be more than one solution. Tinker Ball provides students lots of puzzles to help them develop their thinking skills. Click here!
40. PBS Nova Cybersecurity Lab
In this Lab, you’ll defend a company that is the target of increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks. Your task is to strengthen your cyber defenses and thwart the attackers by completing a series of cybersecurity challenges. You’ll crack passwords, craft code, and defeat malicious hackers. Click here!
What are YOUR favorite sites for students with free time on their hands? What OTHER strategies/ideas/activities do you have for students with free time?
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