Time to find some new learning resources? Look to your TV. Networks are putting a lot of energy into amplifying their programming to keep kids’ minds active. Whether they’re devoted to history, science, travel or the arts, many channels are expanding their offerings with specially designed programs, interactive activities, and learning guides for the little guys to high schoolers. Tune into these 5 favorites. 

History at Home

The History Channel’s History at Home provides free history content for middle and high school students.

Lessons and activities are designed to supplement classroom curriculum with educational shows that foster independent learning. Shows are curated around key themes and paired with study guides so teens can easily watch, read, and discuss history’s most important moments. History at Home’s content is best for kids in grades 6-12.

Highlights include:

  • Celebrity presenters share new lessons every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  • HISTORY This Week podcast episodes feature momentous events that may or may not have made it into history textbooks. Each episode shares how these historical moments have contributed to where we are today. 

PBS Learning Media

Free through your local PBS affiliate, PBS Learning Media features content for all ages that covers a variety of subject areas. 

Preschool through early elementary ages can navigate this site on their own thanks to buttons that feature images. The icon-based navigation helps non-readers find subject matter content like health, the arts, math, or science or ways to learn with favorite characters from Sesame Street, Wild Kratts, and more.

Middle and high school students can filter by grade level and type of content (video, audio, image, document, etc.) to find what interests them quickly. PBS Learning Media features content for all ages (K-12).

Highlights include:

  • The Teacher View allows teachers to search for free, standards-aligned videos, interactives, and lesson plans to support instruction.
  • Free teacher accounts provide educators with features that make it easy to integrate PBS Learning Media materials into instruction. By creating accounts, teachers can save and organize resources, see state standards, manage classes and assignments, sync with Google Classroom, create lessons, puzzles, and quizzes, and also create a customized dashboard.

Discovery Education

As a global leader in digital curriculum resources, Discovery Education features a wealth of content for parents of kids of all ages and K-12 educators.

Discovery Education offers free virtual field trips that don’t require permission slips. Video learning opportunities cover topics in sports, the environment, literacy, agriculture, financial literacy, STEM, tech and manufacturing, health and wellness, community engagement, and more. They’re a great way to connect classroom or online learning with real-world experiences. Discovery Education features content for all K-12 students. 

Highlights include:

  • Virtual field trips can be watched live or on demand and feature companion guides featuring hands-on learning experiences aligned to standards.
  • Teachers can browse sessions from VirtCon, a 2-day professional learning conference with an array of virtual sessions focused on creating a dynamic digital learning environment for students.

Smithsonian Channel

The Smithsonian Channel makes historical moments come alive. Content combines the storytelling prowess of Showtime Networks with the unmatched resources and rich traditions of the Smithsonian Institution.

Awe-inspiring stories, powerful documentaries and amazing entertainment can be accessed when signing in through your TV provider. Short videos covering different subject areas are perfect for younger elementary ages. Older kids and their parents can stream full episodes that make subjects come alive. Look for fascinating topics for middle and high schoolers include air and space, science, nature, history, and pop culture. The Smithsonian Channel features content best for those in grades 3-12.

Highlights include:

  • behind the scenes look at the National Zoo provides viewers of this web-based series with a chance to see rare creatures, their caretakers, and a look into the complex relationships between animals and humans who protect them.
  • A subscription to Smithsonian Channel Plus ($4.99/month) unlocks a library of Smithsonian Channel’s original series and documentaries.

Disney+

A subscription to Disney+  ($6.99/month) provides access to blockbuster films, family favorites, and educational content. Disney Nature features free educational materials for teachers and parents that extend the viewing experience into a learning one.

Lesson plans and activity guides inspire students in grades 2-6 through cross-curricular learning that will inspire them to protect the planet and think like global citizens. Disney Nature educational content is best for kids in grades 2-6.

Highlights include:

  • Disney Nature titles such as Elephant, Dolphin Reef, Penguins, Born in China, The Jungle Book, and Finding Dory teach through animal conservation.
  • Activity packets and educator’s guides for Moana introduce elementary ages to science topics like habitats, ecosystems, biodiversity, and Earth’s systems as well as make connections to culture and art by highlighting storytelling as a form of communication.

Learning doesn’t have to stop at the end of the school year, and can provide fun for the whole family, no matter what you’re interested in.