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Kids and Family Resources

Online Story Time

Story Time from Space  allows everyone to listen to a story read by an astronaut living on the International Space Station.

Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems  allows everyone to join children’s book author Mo Willems live every weekday at 12 p.m. central time with the recordings as he teaches us how to create. Grab some paper and pencils, pens, or crayons and join Mo to explore ways of writing and making together.

Storyline Online is a large variety of children’s picture books read aloud by numerous celebrities. Close Captioned.

Draw Every Day With Jarrett J. Krosoczka  Join New York Times-bestselling author and illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka everyday for a drawing lesson. Author of everything from the Punk Farm picture books to the Lunch Lady graphic novels.

Reading Lists

Read On Wisconsin is a literacy program, administered by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, promoting high-quality books for children and teens throughout our state.

Great Books for New Readers is a comprehensive, community-organized list from GoodReads.

Novelist K-8 enables kids to find read-alikes, award winners, books-to-movies and more! Check out Novelist K-8 for great kids’ book suggestions! Must sign in with your library card.

Best Books for Babies is a list of great read-alouds and picture books for little ones.

Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) publishes lists of recommended books from the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC).

Top 100 Chapter Books for Emerging Readers is a favorite post from School Library Journal.

Fun and Educational Websites

Multi-subject Sites

PBS has curated FREE, standards-aligned videos, interactives, lesson plans, and more for all grade levels!

Scholastic Learn at Home has day by day projects to keep kids reading, thinking and growing.

FunBrain is for kids ages preschool through grade 8 and offers more than 100 fun, interactive games that develop skills in math, reading, and literacy. Plus, kids can read a variety of popular books and comics on the site, including Diary of a Wimpy KidAmelia Writes Again, and Brewster Rocket.

Scholastic Place is the site to visit if one is looking for Geronimo Stilton, Goosebumps or the 39 Clues.  They’re all here!

Be A Dinosaur gives kids a fun, creative, age-appropriate place to learn and play. With a focus on reading, numbers, and simple skill games, these free educational games are fun for kids and a great way to learn new things.

ABCya! is a website that provides educational games and activities for school aged children.

Starfall is a great site for early learning and features math and language for kids up through grade 3. Some content requires you to join in order to access it fully.

Reading/Language Arts

Spelling City
 provides spelling resources such as worksheets, games, and Dolch word lists.

Children’s Book Council has resources from fiction to non-fiction, STEM books to graphic novels. Book publishers have created a wealth of content to support educators, librarians, booksellers, parents, and caregivers. Compiled here are links to various publishers websites where you can find these free resources.

Book Club for Kids is a free, 20-minute podcast devoted to middle grade books and readers. Each show features a trio of students discussing a favorite book, an interview with the author, and a celebrity reading.

KidLit TV is a winner of the Parents’ Choice Gold Award, the Norton Juster Award for Devotion to Literacy, and one of the American Library Association’s Great Websites For Kids. KLTV is available in over 600,000 schools worldwide via our website and video distribution partners. We’re a diverse group of parents, educators, librarians, kid lit creators, and award-winning filmmakers working together to create fun new ways to reinforce an appreciation of reading that children will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

Comic book making with Jarret Lerner blank Comic book pages, Finish This Comic! Comics, drawing/writing prompts and activity sheets .

Read-Write-Think: Student Material provides lots of lessons as well as printables and interactives for students.

Into the Book is a highly interactive reading comprehension resource for grades k-4 that focuses on eight strategies: using prior knowledge, making connections, questioning, visualizing, inferring, summarizing, evaluating and synthesizing.

Write with Jess is a ten video series that tackles  some of the most common writing questions I get from young readers. Each is classroom-friendly, quick, snappy, and includes a writing call to action.


Maker Maven has lots of free S.T.E.A.M. projects you can do at home without any special equipment.

HoodaMath is filled with addicting math games.

Tinkerlab YouTube Channel – Science experiments, engineering projects, crafts, and art projects for kids and little inventors, from TinkerLab®.

Social Science/Languages

Kidspeak is a fun, easy-to-use language-learning program for young learners.

National Geographic Kids has games, videos, science, and even “brain busters”. Filled with educational material that is both fun and trustworthy.

Encantos – Tiny Travelers uses the theme of travel to teach kids 8 and under about geography, language, history, culture, and more. Learn about the continents and countries, and what makes them special – from food and festivals, to animals and nature, to language, and culture. 

The Ways is a set of short and very accessible videos about Great Lakes Nations.

Arts, Music, Creativity

 Toymaker free paper toys that you can make yourself. Just print them out, cut, glue and enjoy. I’ve tried to keep them easy to figure out.

Chrome Music Lab makes learning music more accessible through fun, hands-on experiments.

Laurie Berkner is fun and educational. Watch this compilation of over 20 music videos that teach counting, the alphabet, telling time, emotions, and so much more!

Family Sing Alongs – Grammy-nominated Boston songwriter Alastair Moock hosts weekly music concerts for families that are available on his Facebook page and can be streamed at any time.

Jbrary has all the songs and finger plays your could ever want, arranged by theme on their youtube channel.

Red Ted Art – Easy to follow crafts and ideas for all age groups from RedTedArt.com. The crafts are designed to be made from every day items, so you can usually get crafting straight away!

Physical Activity

Cosmic Kids Yoga is youtube channel for yoga, mindfulness and relaxation that is designed specially for kids aged 3+, used in schools and homes all over the world.

Active Kids Do Better has tools to get primary school children moving through play.

Tinkergarten is a fun resource for outdoor, play based learning. 

GoNoodle engages 14 million kids every month with movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts. Available for free at school, home, and everywhere kids are!


Typing Club is a fun way to learn keyboarding.

ChessKid is a fun way to play chess with other kids or with a robot!

I’m a Puzzle lets you upload a photo to make an online jigsaw puzzle. Make it harder for adults or easier for kids.

How Stuff Works is an award-winning educational site that provides historical information about many age-appropriate topics (these topics include, but aren’t limited to, animals, culture, automobiles, politics, money, science, and entertainment). Articles use simple terms to be accessible to a wide age range. 

Gaming and Computer Science

Virtual Escape Rooms is a compilation of online escape rooms including Hogwarts, Marvel’s Avengers and Pete the Cat themes.

Library Journal Family Friendly Digital Escape Rooms is a compilation of family friendly online escape rooms including an Enchanted Forest, Inside the Opera House and Mystery Escapes.

Curiosity Machine supports students, parents and educators, and mentors to build, learn and teach using the engineering design process.

Tinker Cad is the easiest, fiercest 3D design tool around!

App Inventor is a free, cloud-based service that teaches the basics of programming apps for Android devices.

Code.org has made learning to code extremely fun and extremely easy! All ages. Free.

Scratch teaches programming language to create stories, games, and animation.  It is designed and maintained by the LifeLong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab.  Kids have an option to join or refrain from sharing creations online with others.

Language Learning

Included in Transparent Language Online for libraries, Kidspeak is a fun, easy-to-use language-learning program for young learners.

  • Available languages: Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.
  • Age-appropriate content: Designed for ages 6 and up, children will learn words and phrases suitable for their age, needs, and interests.
  • Engaging activities: Combining animations with over 40 interactive activities, puzzles, and songs, each language is hosted by a fun cartoon “friend” and his or her playful pet, using only the language being taught.
  • Important skill development: Using the successful immersion approach preferred for young children, they’ll learn the alphabet and word recognition, simple sentences, how to use plural and singular, how to distinguish between words that look and sound similar, simple addition and subtraction, how to tell time, number recognition (matching numbers to written words), and correct pronunciation.
  • Dozens of topics: No matter what they’re interested in (clothing, school supplies, sports, travel, weather, and more), your children will be on their way to learning a new language in no time.
  • Hundreds of words and phrases: Add to your children’s seemingly endless vocabulary (and energy!) with over 700 words and expressions per language and 3 levels of difficulty.

Animal Livestreams

Eagle Cam This eagle camera is brought to you by the Minnesota DNR Non-game Wildlife Program, which helps over 700 species of Minnesota wildlife thrive. (seasonal)

Explore.org – This site has multiple live streams covering everything from nature cameras to animal sanctuaries.

National Zoo has live camera feeds of elephants, lions, naked mole rats and pandas.

Atlanta Zoo has a live camera feed of pandas.

Houston Zoo has live camera feeds of chimps, elephants, giraffes, gorillas, leaf cutter ants and rhinos.

Kansas City Zoo has live camera feeds of giraffes, penguins and polar bears.

Maryland Zoo has live camera feeds of flamingos, giraffes, goats, lions and penguins.

San Diego Zoo has live camera feeds of apes, baboons, burrowing owls, condors, elephants, giraffes, koalas, penguins, polar bears and tigers.

Aquarium of the Pacific has live camera feeds of Jellyfish, penguins, sharks and large aquarium views.

Georgia Aquarium has live camera feeds of beluga whales, Jellyfish, penguins, piranhas, sea lions, sea otters and the Indo-Pacific Barrier Reef.

Monterrey Bay Aquarium has live camera feeds of aviary, coral reef, jellyfish, kelp forests, penguins, sea otters and sharks.

Virtual Fieldtrips

Discovery Education allows everyone to take a field trip with Polar Bear researchers, blast off into space at the Johnson Space Center, go behind the scenes with the NFL or any number of behind the scene tours with Discovery Education. Includes teaching guides and curriculum for interested parents and adults.

OK360  allows eveyone to go to Oklahoma and take a virtual hike. With 360 views and multiple videos of nature trails in OK, you can learn more about nature in the panhandle state.

360 Cities  is a large collection of panoramic interactive photographs that allow you to virtually travel around the world.

Star Atlas is an online planetarium that will show the stars from any location in the world and where the constellations are in the night sky. The site tells you how far the stars are away from earth. For information on the constellations head here.

Nature Works Everywhere allows everyone to take a field trip into nature. Nature Works Everywhere has 11 virtual field trips for multiple age ranges, alongside videos and lesson plans for parents and teachers.

Yellowstone National Park allows you to virtually tour some of the main attractions around the park. Included with each tour is additional information about visiting in person.

Mount Vernon is the most popular historic estate in America. Come and visit George Washington’s home virtually.

Buckingham Palace allows everyone to take a virtual tour of some of the rooms in the Buckingham Palace and learn more about the history surrounding the British Monarchy.

Virtual Museum Tours

 allows all to visit the museum’s exhibition rooms and galleries thanks to the sponsorship of Shiseido.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art presents over 5,000 years of art from around the world for everyone to experience and enjoy.

National Museum of Natural History is one of the Smithsonian Museums and allows visitors to take self-guided, room-by-room tours of select exhibits and areas within the museum from their desktop or mobile device.

Boston’s Children’s Museum is the second oldest, and one of the most influential children’s museums in the world.

Google Arts and Culture partnered with over 2,500 museums and galleries around the world to offer virtual tours of their spaces.

Free Coloring Pages

Coloring Nature focuses mainly on animals and natural scenes.

Just Color will provide multiple themed coloring pages for you to print off.

Top Coloring Pages has more than 2000 great quality, printable and completely free coloring pages for children and their parents.

Super Coloring will provide multiple themed free coloring pages for you to print off. Does contain ads.

Crayola provides free coloring pages for adults and kids.

Digital Libraries and Collections

NASA has an e-book collection available to the public for free. Their website also contains multiple educational resources to explore.

International Children’s Digital Library houses an online library with over 4,000 children’s books from around the world in a multitude of languages. If you are looking for tales from around the world or if you are learning a new language this is a place to stop by.

Notable Children’s Digital Media is a list that includes real-time, dynamic, and interactive media content for children 14 years of age and younger that enables and encourages active engagement and social interaction while informing, educating, and entertaining in exemplary ways.

The Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.  Access old radio shows, early computer games, T.V. shows and over 23 million books.

Smithsonian Learning Lab  is a major rethinking of how the digital resources from across the Smithsonian’s 19 museums, 9 major research centers, the National Zoo, and more, can be used together, for learning.

Library of Congress Digital Collections has multiple collections available online, consisting of over 2 million scans of historic books, photos and other materials. This includes a large selection of historic children’s books, Abraham Lincoln’s Papers and a collection of Folk songs from Michigan and Wisconsin.

University of Wisconsin-Madison Digital Collections contains millions of images, books, maps, recordings, documents, and more from across the UW, Wisconsin and the world. Enjoy learning more about our state’s past by browsing this collection.

Homework and Reference

Britannica School Elementary can be accessed using a Wisconsin Public Library card.

50 States.com provides information on the states, including capitals, geography, people, attractions, history and more.

Accelerated Reader BookFinder identifies a book’s AR level and points.

Ellsworth Community Schools’ Card Catalogs can be accessed from here to search your school’s media center’s catalog.

Khan Academy has tons of lessons in a variety of subjects and covers early learners all the way up to college and adult learners. Even includes some test-prep lessons.

Cool Math can answer questions about how to do math homework and offers some fun math games, too.

Calculators allows the user to pick any type of online calculator needed to do your work, from basic to science to trigonometry!

Merriam-Webster Online Search is four standard resources in one place! It includes an online dictionary, thesaurus, Spanish-English dictionary and a new medical dictionary.

B.J. Pinchbeck’s Homework Helper is a free education and homework resource for students, parents and teachers.

Peekapack is a site that has collected resources for learning at home. It is filled with links to other sites that have free resources. It seems to cover K-12 in various ways.


Family Centered Educational Resources

Growing Wisconsin Readers is a state-wide initiative that was created to help parents support early literacy habits (like talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing) at home!

Apps and Early Literacy helps parents navigate the world of new technology.  Check out this amazing resource from Carissa Christner at the Madison Public Library. Use the site to find free and paid apps that are appropriate, fun, and safe for young children, and discover new ways to play and to share stories together! Remember: apps are always best used by both parents and children playing together!

Common Sense Media helps families make smart media choices.

No Time for Flash Cards is an early education and creative play site.  No Time for Flash Cards features educational crafts, learning activities, and super-creative ideas for things to do with your child.

jbrary was created by two librarians who have recorded hundreds of videos so that you can sing and chant with your child at any time of day on nearly any topic imaginable. Want to learn new songs and rhymes? Take a look.