Best free online sources for entertainment and education when you're stuck at home

Macbook (Image credit: @judmackrill/

While we are staying home, not only are many of us working from home, but we are also relying on our computers, tablets, and smartphones more than ever. We all seem to have a bit of extra time on our hands these days. Why not pass the time enjoyable and productively when we're not working? You don't even have to spend any extra money to do it. Here are some great places to find free entertainment and education online.

Online learning

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Woman Smartphone

Woman Smartphone (Image credit: edX)

Take free classes from top universities at edX or Coursera. If you want to earn a certificate or a degree, you'll need to pay for it. But if you're primarily interested in expanding your mind and learning for its own sake, you can do so for free.

Have you always wanted to learn about fine art, photography, writing, business, and much more? Check out Skillshare. Right now, you can get a premium membership for two months free.

My son, whose girlfriend is Canadian, mentioned to me that he thought this would be a great time to learn a bit of French. I suggested to him that he download Duolingo on his iPhone, which is a fun way to learn or brush up on another language. Duolingo offers over 30 languages for free.

Learn how to play the guitar is just 21 days with this free tutorial on Udemy.



Ebooks (Image credit: Karen S. Freeman / iMore)

If you're not already reading books and magazines for free on your iOS device, there's no time like the present! Libby by OverDrive and Flipster are two of my favorite free services offered by my local library. Of course, you'll need a library card to take advantage of. If you don't have one already, the app Libby will allow you to get one within the app in seconds. Hoopla lets you borrow books, music, and movies with your library card. Kanopy is a free movie streaming service you can access through your library. I encourage you to go to your own local library system's website to see what yours has to offer. Libraries don't tend to advertise much, but they are incredible digital resources.

You can also read older books on your device of choice with Project Gutenberg. Choose from over 60,000 free books that are out of copyright. This is a great time to pick up a classic tale by Austen, Dickens, Poe, Alcott, Melville, Doyle, Twain, Brontë, and many more.

CCS, which is actually a Vermont-based site for educational resources to benefit people with intellectual disabilities and autism, has put together an incredible list of virtual museums you can visit so take a look!

Watch free movies anytime with Crackle. No, you're not going to get the hot new titles that you get with the paid streaming services, but there are plenty of entertaining movies listed.

You've probably heard that several famous musicians are offering free streaming concerts and content. Here's a list of favorites.

For the kiddos

Khan Academy

Khan Academy (Image credit: Khan Academy)

Khan Academy is always a great free educational resource, but during COVID-19 shutdowns, they are offering special daily schedules for ages 2-18 as well as remote learning resources.

Audible, the audiobook company by Amazon, isn't usually a free service. However, they have pledged to stream stories for children totally free, for as long as schools are closed.

Disney has closed down their theme parks for a while, but you can take a virtual ride with your children. It's not quite the same, but put on your mouse ears, make some Dole whip, and give it a whirl.

Art for Kids Hub and Facedrawer on YouTube are fun art resources you can access for free. Let your children explore their creativity here.

Kennedy Center Education Artist-in-Residence Mo Willems offers free daily doodle lessons at 1:00 p.m. ET. The lessons are saved so you can do them later if you miss the live session.

Home gym


Peleton (Image credit: Peloton)

There are a number of fitness resources online that are not necessarily always free but are offering free exercise classes during the pandemic to help people stay in shape while stuck at home. Check out YouTube for fitness channels like 202strong, which are currently offering streaming and saved workouts for free.

Peleton is most definitely not ordinarily free but is currently offering a 90-day free trial. You don't need the fancy bike or any bike; Peleton provides a variety of fitness classes. Whether you have a stationary bike, a treadmill, or just your living room floor, take advantage of the opportunity to do Peleton workouts for free.

FitOn, on the other hand, is always free. Download on your laptop, tablet, phone, or TV and squeeze in cardio, yoga, HIIT, strength, or other kinds of workouts at your convenience.

Looking for more?

Thanks to this resource from Johns Hopkins, where I discovered many of the websites linked above. Take a look if you want even more websites to check out.

Karen S Freeman

Karen is a contributor to as a writer and co-host of the iMore Show. She’s been writing about Apple since 2010 with a year-long break to work at an Apple Store as a product specialist. She's also a contributor at CNET. Before joining iMore in 2018, Karen wrote for Macworld, AppAdvice, WatchAware. She’s an early adopter who used to wait in long lines on release days before pre-ordering made things much easier. Karen is also a part-time teacher and occasional movie extra. She loves to spend time with her family, travel the world, and is always looking for portable tech and accessories so she can work from anywhere.