25 sites for students with free time on their hands

Ed Tech

Ed Tech | Wednesday, March 17, 2021

25 sites for students with free time on their hands

When students are done with an assignment or project, how can they spend extra time wisely? These sites give them something academic to chew on.

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 25 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!

I have curated all of these sites in a  Wakelet collection. Feel free to make a copy, edit as needed for your class, and assign through Google Classroom or just share the link or QR Code.

Please add to the list! If you have a favorite, please include it in a comment at the end of the post. Thanks!

25 sites for students with free time on their hands

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!

2. BeanBeanBean

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!

3. GeoGuessr

GeoGuessr uses Google Maps Street View to place you on the ground somewhere in the world. You must use context clues to guess your location and pin it on a map.  Click here!

4. City Guesser

City Guesser is a global guessing game where students watch videos, collect clues, and then try to guess on a map where they are. The closer they get the better they do!  Click here!

5. iCivics

This site puts a flashy twist on civics-related topics, puts a ton of resources in teachers’ hands and lets students play REALLY fun games. Click here!

6. Quiver

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!

7. Wonderopolis

Kids are curious. Wonderopolis is a site that asks and answers interesting questions about almost anything. Click here!

google logo

8. A Google A Day

Most of us search the internet daily, if not multiple times per day. But effectively searching for something is a skill. A Google a Day challenges users to put their searching skills to the test by asking them to answer a question using Google search. With Google’s search education lesson plans you can take this game even further and begin teaching search literacy in your classroom. Click here!

9. Code.org

With Code.org, students can find self-guided coding activities and tutorials. They’re leveled for all ages, from elementary school up. Click here! 

MORE: 20+ ways to celebrate Hour of Code in any class

10. Street View Treks

Street View Treks gives a first-person view to some of the most spectacular locations in the world, from Mount Fuji to the Grand Canyon to the Taj Mahal in India. Click here!

11. Duolingo

Duolingo works a lot like Rosetta Stone, guiding students methodically through language lessons. But it’s free! Click here!

12. 5 Clue Challenge

Students watch these short videos. They get 5 clues to guess the animal, location or person. Click here!

13. Ted-Ed

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!

MORE: 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.

18. 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!

19. 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!

20. Google Quick Draw!

Quick, Draw! tells you what to draw. Then, Google’s artificial intelligence tries to guess what you’re drawing. Click here!

21. Radio Garden

An interactive globe that has radio stations from all over the world. Students can tune in to hear talk radio, songs, or all sorts of other things from around the world. Click here!

22. Interland- Be Internet Awesome

Interland is an engaging and fun online site that makes digital citizenship and safety lessons into a game. Click here!

23. 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!

24. Storyline Online

Storyline Online give kids a virtual read aloud of fantastic storybooks featuring famous actors. Click here!

25. 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.

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?


For notifications of new Ditch That Textbook content and helpful links:

Are you looking for quality, meaningful professional learning that both equips and inspires teachers?

Matt provides in-person and virtual keynotes, workshops and breakout sessions that equip, inspire and encourage teachers to create change in their classrooms. Teachers leave with loads of resources. They participate. They laugh. They see tech use and teaching in a new light. Click the link below to contact us and learn how you can bring Matt to your school or district!

Is Matt presenting near you soon? Check out his upcoming live events!

Explore The DTT Blog

Ready to take your tech skills -- and student learning -- to another level?
Sign up for Tech to Learn online course! Just $49
Love this? Don’t forget to share
  • Melanie says:

    free rice.com-vocabualry builder-and you can change the language!

  • Robyn Embry says:

    I like http://www.zooniverse.org for citizen science. Volunteers look at photos to help scientists identify and analyze data. Students can identify photos of wild animals from the trail cams at Gorongosa National Park in Africa, identify photos of galaxies taken by the Hubble Space telescope, and lots of other options in science disciplines and humanities.

  • […] Great sites! -> 10 sites for students with free time on their hands #edchat #edtech @jmattmiller ditchthattextbook.com/2016/08/15/10-… […]

  • Deb Blaz says:

    freerice.com Learn and practice languages, science, history, etc. AND earn free rice for starving people. Level up as you improve. My students LOVE it.

  • Seeing you teach World Languages, this page of my site may be of special interest- http://techweb.apps.sparcc.org/world-language (notice that I have had Duolingo at top and center since creating the page).

    I support all content areas at our Educational Service Center, so I have created Content Area Specific pages for each- http://techweb.apps.sparcc.org/literacies

    I also have a number of resources pages that are not content area specific-
    Teacher Resources- http://techweb.apps.sparcc.org/resources
    Esotechteric- http://techweb.apps.sparcc.org/esotechteric
    News & Current Events- https://sites.google.com/a/apps.sparcc.org/resources/news
    etc.

    and then there is my “catch-all” page for students or anyone with time on their hands-
    Learn Something New Every Day- http://techweb.apps.sparcc.org/lsne or shortcut tiny.cc/lsned

  • Hi Matt, Thanks for the post!

    I’m just starting out but students can try http://book.giflingua.com 1.000s of gif books with quizzes/flashcards/games for each book – click STUDY. App out soon and will soon allow teachers to assign books and let students write Gif books. There is a Young Learners category. I’m just alpha testing the concept and appreciate the support of teachers.

    The last site I built, a google venture, EnglishCentral – http://www.englishcentral.com is worth mentioning. The best educational videos on the web come with activities and full lesson plan pdf for teachers.

  • Joy Kirr says:

    I always like freerice.com!! 😀

  • Sarah Wadsworth says:

    Thanks for this article! I have shown these to my students and have them available to play whenever they have free time. They seem to love them and got really excited when I showed them. I also add code.org (Hour of Code) to my list of free time games.

  • Max M. says:

    You absolutely have to include http://www.beanbeanbean.com! It’s my go-to.

    Kids love it –– It’s a lot like freerice.com, but much more modern and fun 🙂

  • Chris says:

    Do you have an awesome list of websites specifically for middle school math (6th grade). Tired of Cool Math-type sites. Looking for something different, more challenging, engaging, etc. Thanks

  • […] that needed it for that particular lesson. Matt Miller from Ditch That Textbook just released twenty activities for students to complete with time on their hands and I have listed a few below that I loved using in my […]

  • Amy says:

    My students like scratch. It’s another coding site and requires no login

  • […] When students are done with an assignment or project, how can they spend extra time wisely? These sites give them something academic to chew on.  Click here to view! […]

  • […] and friends-all for totally free. Signal up for your CollegeVine account nowadays to get a what should a writer plan to include in the end of a narrative essay& check all that apply. boost on your university journey. Want additional college or university admissions […]

  • […] and a new being familiar with of by yourself or other people. This is a closely revised model any more information with of a single of 2016’s prompts, which questioned pupils to describe a changeover from […]

  • […] dug deeper for his finding out working experience, and uncovered a way to differentiate his essay. how long does it take to write an essay Still Not Absolutely sure This is Your Topic? Here are Concerns You Can Ask Oneself:Did you have an […]

  • Jennifer Sweeney says:

    These sites will definitely come into good use! I have used Wonderopolis with the fun program Flipgrid.

  • siot says:

    This is very innovative and informative also useful Article. Very good article on latest trending topics. It was really good content. This is one of the most incredible blogs I’ve read in a very long time.

    best polytechnic colleges in navi mumbai

  • Litongmeng Kaing says:

    I’ve heard of Duolingo i LoVe it

  • Litongmeng Kaing says:

    i kinda like dollar street

  • Exam Form says:

    I was not Aware of these Sites. Thanks a Lot

  • Thank you Hubby… I will Come Again on this Page

  • KVS says:

    I will Make a Visit Again for some other thing

  • Valuable Information. That was Nice

  • >