Photo: Circle

The recent period of stay-at-home orders has caused screen use to skyrocket, with a 56.5% increase for kids and a 50.4% increase for teenagers from pre-pandemic use. As parents across the country are discovering their kids won’t go back to school this year, Katie Mills, VP of Product at Circle, a screen time management tool for parents, shared some great ideas of online activities for all ages. 

Online Classes 

Teens (13-18)

  • Khan Academy is a nonprofit program with free online classes, including SAT prep

  • Teens can learn from masters in photography, acting, and more in MasterClass

  • Universities like Cornell offer pre-college classes for high school students

Tweens (9-12)

  • America’s Test Kitchen has an online cooking school for kids and tweens 

  • Outschool offers mystery writing for middle schoolers, how to spend an allowance, and more

  • iDTech offers virtual tech camps for tweens and teens

Kids (up to 8) 

  • ABCmouse offers reading, math, science, and art for kids ages 2 to 8

  • Discovery Education Experience is offering free access through the rest of the school year


YouTube Channels 

Teens (13-18)

  • Smithsonian Channel has great storytelling about science, nature, history, and more

  • Big Think hosts bright minds to talk about topics from COVID-19 to climate change

Tweens (9-12)

  • Geek Gurl Diaries is for tweens who love to geek out on science and tech

  • React teaches kids how to view media critically in an entertaining way

  • The Brain Scoop shares the work of natural history museums around the world

Kids (up to 8) 

  • PBS Kids features read-alongs and shows to help kids cope with difficult feelings

  • National Geographic Kids takes kids around the world to learn about amazing adventures

Apps to Download

Teens (13-18)

Tweens (9-12)

Kids (up to 8) 

  • Marco World School emphasizes STEAM learning for little ones 4 and up

  • Kanopy has educational shows and videos for littles with a library card

The silver lining of sheltering in place? More time with the ones we love. Here are ways to make the time count (and cure your cabin fever) online. Katie suggests the following family-focused activities online and off:

Using screen time creatively can expose children to new places or perspectives and can even help them to build new skills. For a complete list of suggestions, including podcast recommendations for kids, teens and tweens, check out Circle’s guide to making your kids’ time online and off more creative and educational. And if you are wondering how to get kids off their devices, check out these creative and educational ideas


Your daily dose of joy and connection
Get the Tinybeans app