Every gifted child is unique, with individual interests. Here are 100 online resources for gifted kids sure to ignite their dreams and fuel their passions.
Would you like an adventure now, or shall we have our tea first?
-Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
For the past ten years, I’ve been digging them, shoring them, and, eventually, peering down them, hoping to catch a glimpse of three puffy cotton tails. My children tend to think of at least six impossible things before breakfast, then spend the day in pursuit of that holy grail.
While I love providing my kiddos with the means to pursue their passions, I have to admit it has the potential to become an exhausting and expensive adventure. Since my kids pretty much eat information for breakfast, our options have to be readily accessible – and cheap.
Curious minds thrive on information, and I know I’m not alone in this parenting quandary. That’s why I’ve scoured the net for free/low cost online resources in ten areas of common interest to gifted children, curating them here for your review.
100 Resources for Gifted Kids (from the Arts to the Sciences and Everything in Between)
Created by a father with a passion for helping his son, George, investigate all things aeronautical, Aviation for Kids is a clearinghouse of information on the mechanics and history of flight. Activities, philosophical discussion, videos, and more.
Since 1992, the Young Eagles program has dedicated itself to providing one free plane flight for any child who desires it. The Young Eagles is a national program with locations all over the country.
Four fun aviation activities for kids, including rocket races and a stable airplane mobile.
Create your own flight plan and aeronautical charts with Skyvector. It’s a little tricky at first, but there are plenty of tutorials for budding pilots.
Track weather conditions around the world.
The free, online flight simulator with visual imagery from around the world.
Build Your Own Plane
Four amazing from-scratch aircraft, plus tips on how to build your own.
A fun game from the National Museums of Scotland. Build a plane and fly it during a rescue operation in the jungles of Borneo.
A subsection of the FAA’s website, FAA Student Education provides an overview of aeronautical careers as well as links to videos, activities, and additional websites geared toward children interested in aviation.
A British YouTube series on the basics of aeronautics. Good for children just beginning to explore the mechanics of flight.
Coding and Programming
This global movement supports the organization of coding events across the world. Use the site to get one started, or check out the dozens of coding activities, all one hour in length.
Code.org is the non-profit organization behind the Hour of Code events. Create an account on Code.org to save your progress, or visit one of several third-party opportunities linked at the site.
“A complete visual learning system that teaches kids to code,” Tynker guides children through the coding process by creating games, apps, and projects. Initial accounts are free; family plans begin at $16 per quarter.
BitsBox is a coding subscription box for kids, delivering new projects once a month. Subscriptions begin at $30/mo.
A favorite in our household, MIT’s Scratch program is completely free and completely awesome. Scratch is a coding platform that allows users to create, share, and remix any number of projects.
Crunchzilla’s Code Monster is a gentle introduction to coding for kids. Actions reveal immediate results in the coding box.
Code Academy allows users to learn to code interactively, for free.
Code Combat’s mission is to “make coding accessible to every student on the planet.” Users learn coding skills through an adventure game format.
A downloadable software program, Stencyl allows users to create and publish a variety of games and apps.
Free courses in Java, iOS, Python, and more.
Fun, STEM-based activities for kids in class or camp settings. Locations across the United States.
Games, quizzes, videos, experiments, and more in one convenient location.
Help create the City of Tomorrow with Ford’s STEAM challenge contest. Open for entries until 11/28/17
Three STEAM activities from Ford STEAM. Videos cover potential and kinetic energy, chemical reactions, and magnetism.
Over two dozen engineering projects for kids, from bridges and cars to mechanical hands and towers.
One of our favorite video series, Crash Course Kids presents complex scientific theories in an easily accessible format.
From the makers of Crash Course Kids, a series of Physics videos for teens and adults (suitable for younger kids, too, depending on knowledge base).
Hands-on engineering, science, and technology activities from PBS. Watch videos, play games, and enter the engineering challenge.
The entry hub for a host of resources on engineering and STEM.
Free courses in mechanical engineering from MIT.
Environmental and Life Science
A fun, sometimes quirky look at what makes the planet – and what’s on it – tick.
Earth science and biology-based videos from around the web, curated by National Geographic Kids.
From weather and astronomy to biomes and landforms, Crash Course Kids covers just about any topic under the proverbial sun.
A crash course in biology, from the same folks behind Crash Course Kids
Peer reviewed articles on environmental science issues, curated just for kids.
An interactive look at cell biology and anatomy. Features games, activities, videos, and more.
Games, experiments, videos, and activities for kids from the American Chemical Society
Build an atom. Construct a molecule. Experiment with liquids, solids, and gasses through the PHET Interactive Simulator at UC Boulder.
Create a free account in Wonderville, then explore the scientific world through games, videos, experiments, and information on careers in the sciences.
Advance through the basics of the Periodic Table to the creation of chemical solutions in this interactive, online world from the Utah Education Network.
A gathering place for math aficionados, Mathforum hosts daily puzzles, an archive of scavenger hunts, math problems by grade level, and more.
The online home of the popular PBSKids show, featuring math activities, videos, and games.
Dozens of challenging math puzzles and problems to stump even the most seasoned mathematician.
Challenges in algebra, geometry, measurement, numbers, and probability from the Nationcal Council of Teachers of Math.
“A website devoted to original mathematical creations.” Have a stumper of your own? Submit it, and see if anyone can solve it.
Dozens of videos on mathematical concepts and quandaries, in the trademark style of TedEd.
Short biographical snippets of over two dozen famous mathematicians. A good place to find a mathematical role model.
The most famous female mathematicians in history.
How to create and run your own math scavenger hunt. Broken down with age and level appropriate suggestions.
A clearinghouse of solved and unsolved mathematical problems.
Click, drag, and create your own beatbox mix, then share your creation with the world.
A variety of performance and practice apps available for download.
Explore instruments, compositions, composers and more with a backstage pass to the New York Philharmonic.
Discover, listen, compose, and create – even conduct your own symphony orchestra!
Learn the building blocks of music, watch educational videos, build your own instrument, and more alongside the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
Create fun, innovative, compositions on these five generative music sites.
Intimate, behind the scenes interviews with artists and musicians from a variety of genres.
Free, downloadable tool to create, edit and produce music – right in your browser.
This is the most soothing thing I’ve listened to in a long time. Every time someone makes an edit to a wikipedia entry, this website creates a corresponding tone. The deeper the note, the more extensive the edit.
From the website, because I can’t really explain: “This is an ongoing attempt at an algorithmically-generated, readability-adjusted scatter-plot of the musical genre-space, based on data tracked and analyzed for 1537 genres by Spotify. The calibration is fuzzy, but in general down is more organic, up is more mechanical and electric; left is denser and more atmospheric, right is spikier and bouncier.” Click anywhere to hear what each genre sounds like.
MIT’s free courses for music and theater arts. Courses include playwright workshops, costume design, script analysis, and more.
An online clearinghouse for actor education and information.
Fun, creative drama games to break the ice and build acting/improve skills.
A series of radio productions featuring musical theater.
Have a play to share with the world? Submit it here. Open for submissions through March, 2018.
Celebrity hosts discuss and analyze iconic Shakespeare plays.
Read the history of costume design, learn how to design your own, and find resources for affordable costuming options.
A TedEd lesson on the origins of modern theater – the tragedies of Ancient Greece.
Monologues, activities, lessons, and resources, all 100% free.
In-depth articles, tips and tricks, videos, and course offerings for the aspiring actor.
Interactive games and resources for aspiring artists from the National Gallery of Art.
Designed for teachers, The BMA “Art to Go” lesson plans provide a glimpse of important works of art along with corresponding commentary. Lessons are suitable for individual work and are perfect for budding artists.
We love Sparketh, an online collection of video art lessons across a variety of media. You can see my full review here.
This simple, playful site encourages experimentation a la Jackson Pollock.
Play with lines, shapes, textures, and colors in this free flowing, interactive digital art site.
Create, print, and assemble your own origami-like paper creatures.
Another interactive digital art site. Play with shading, viscosity, and more.
Learn design rules, upload your own creations, and connect with creative professionals in graphic design.
Curious how design shapes our world and changes it for the better? Visit Make Shape Change, and delve into the purpose of good design.
Artist Samantha Bell posts a weekly round up of art contests specifically for kids.
Photography and Videography
This online course platform has a variety of photography courses for children. Linked above is Photography for Kids: Project-Based Beginner Photography.
Photography activities for kids, ages three to 10.
View exquisite photography, improve your own photography with tips from professionals, and enter National Geographic’s photography contest.
A review of six online hosting options for digital photography.
Photoshop is powerful, but it helps to know what you’re doing. Vandelay Design has curated 45 editing tutorials for photoshop. Some material more suitable for older teens.
Four reputable photography contests for young photographers.
A phenomenal free resource from the Casey brothers. Everything you ever wanted to know about making a movie, from casting to final production and everything in between.
A collection of youth filmmaking programs and camps across the United States.
A quick, informational video from Indy Mogul.
Video editing software specifically for kids. You can download a free trial before purchasing.
A variety of interviews with children’s book authors, courtesy of Reading Rockets.
At Guys Read, author John Sczieska encourages guys to, well, read. The site features reading lists, author interviews, activities, and more.
Book reviews for kids, by kids.
Digital library for kids. First month free; $7.99/mo thereafter.
Book lists, activities, and more for avid readers of all ages.
Bookopolis is a community for young readers, almost a GoodReads for kids. Children can set up an account, create book lists, review books, and interact with other readers.
A fantastic list from my friend Erin at Nourishing My Scholar.
Another great list from Erin.
“The free podcast where kids talk about books!”
Read aloud reviews, author interviews, and more, all from homeschooling mom and blogger Sarah Mackenzie.
NaNoWriMo The official site of National Novel Writing Month, which takes place each November. Includes writing tips, motivation, and a variety of calendars to help writers stay on task.
This I Believe NPR’s storied radio program was discontinued in 2005, but the essays remain in archive format for reading, reflection, and analysis. While submissions are no longer accepted, the site offers parents and young writers tips for writing their own personal statements.
A literary magazine for teens, by teens.
NewPages Young Authors Guide A collection of publications accepting submissions from young authors.
Journal Buddies Get your creative juices flowing with journal prompts, story starters, and other inspiration.
A collection of writing contests for kids from Imagination Soup.
NobelPrize.org Visit the online home of the Nobel Prize and read the acceptance speeches of Nobel laureates. Among my favorites are those of Elie Wiesel, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malala Yousafzai.
Create, share, and read books by other young authors, all free of charge. Hardcover publishing options begin at $24.95.
A visually stunning interactive dictionary. Budding lexicographers can delve the depths of word origins, meanings, and families to their heart’s content.
You may be following your kiddo down rabbit holes, but you don’t have to do it in the dark.
There are plenty of affordable, online resources for gifted children. May you find something here to ignite that creative spark.
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