Best Summer Learning Apps & Sites

summer learning
(Image credit: Image by congerdesign from Pixabay)
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This article was updated in May 2024.

Summer is a time for exploration, creativity, and fun -- and we’ve kept that firmly in mind with these summer learning apps and sites, many of which prioritize active learning and creativity through gamification and student-led inquiry.

Before the school year ends, it may be appropriate to remind your students of ways they can have fun and keep learning this summer. These learning apps and sites are digital tools that can help them do just that!

Coursera - Coursera is a massive open online course (MOOC) provider that partners with universities and businesses to offer a variety of self-paced online courses, certificates, and even degrees. Courses can be taken individually, and many feature a series of short, 5-10 minute lectures from the course instructor, often alongside readings and interactive quizzes. Many courses are offered for free in audit mode.

Catchy Words - Catchy Words is an engaging, free, augmented reality word game that works on smartphones and tablets. It brings digital letters virtually into the room, as if floating, that students then "catch" to help solve puzzles and learn spelling and grammar in the process.

StoryJumper - StoryJumper is a digital story creation tool that allows students to write, illustrate, and arrange stories into book format. These can be shared digitally or published in physical books that can be purchased through the platform's library. It's easy to use with a library of images, a selection of fonts, and colors that can easily be arranged by students of almost any age.

Outschool - Outschool is an online learning platform that offers classes for kids, including homeschoolers, microschoolers, and children enrolled in traditional schools who are looking for additional support or learning opportunities. Students can choose from more than 150,000 classes ranging from core academic classes to enrichment courses.

Tinkercad - Tinkercad is a free computer-aided drafting software platform that allows for the design and manipulation of 3D images using CAD, coding, and circuitry. It offers student the ability to work with virtual circuits and to learn code using blocks.

TinyTap - TinyTap is a website and app-based educational gaming platform that has more than 250,000 pre-built games, created by teachers across the world. It covers a range of subjects that include math, science, language arts, social skills, and reading.

Overdrive - Sora, the student version of this reading app, lets kids borrow ebooks, audiobooks, comics and more from their school or local library. It’s a wonderful tool for encouraging year-round reading as it lets students choose what they want to read or listen to and gives them access to a vast library anytime, anywhere.

Duolingo - Duolingo is a game-style language learning tool that's based online. It offers a digital way to learn a whole host of new languages for students of varying ages and abilities. Thanks to smart algorithms, this can even adapt to help specific students in areas they need.

Duolingo Math - Free to use and ad-free too, this is an app designed to help students learn and understand math and enjoy themselves in the process. All the usual fun animations you may have come to expect from Duolingo appear here to make everything light and engaging.

Book Creator - Book Creator is a fun-to-use learning tool designed to get students excited about creating their own books on the topics they are learning about. Students can upload images, choose from emojis, make recordings and videos, and create and then share a finished book they wrote.

Arcademics - Arcademics is a math and language learning tool that uses arcade-style games to engage and train students to progress, through enhancing their abilities in these varying subjects.

Wonderopolis - Users submit questions that may be answered in detail -- as an article -- by the editorial team. Wonderopolis posts a 'wonder' each day, meaning one of the questions is answered in article format with words, images, and videos as part of the explanation.

Nova Labs PBS - An online-based gamified resource center from PBS that teaches STEM and science-based subjects to kids using engaging video, questions, and answers, plus interactive content.

MIT App Inventor - Created in conjunction between MIT and Google, this offers a place that students, as young as six, can learn the basics of coding with drag-and-drop-style block coding. It offers plenty of tutorial guidance, which makes it ideal for self-paced learning.

Minecraft Education Edition - Minecraft: Education Edition is a learning-specific version of this very popular block-based game. So while students will be drawn to the game anyway, this also allows teacher controls to help educate them as they interact with this virtual world.

Roblox - Roblox is a block-based, multiplayer, open-world digital game that works in app format and via a browser. It's not primarily designed for education but thanks to it's openly creative environment, it can be used that way.

Khan Academy - Khan Academy is primarily a website chock full of useful content for learning, organized by grade level, making it an easy way to advance in line with the curriculum. The course materials cover math, science, art history, and more.

Best Free Virtual Escape Rooms - Virtual escape rooms feature gamified learning that incorporates riddles, puzzles, math, logic, and literacy skills to create an exciting adventure in education. Students can build problem-solving skills and critical thinking while having fun. Some escape rooms are one-page affairs, while others weave an intricate backstory to enthrall players.

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Ray Bendici is the Managing Editor of Tech & Learning and Tech & Learning University. He is an award-winning journalist/editor, with more than 20 years of experience, including a specific focus on education.