Becoming a parent can be extremely overwhelming. There are so many questions and decisions to be made. New parents need all the help they can get, so we’ve put together a list of some of the best resources for parents. The best part is that they are all free. From the moment you get a positive result on your pregnancy test all the way through your child’s 18th birthday, we’ve got resources that can help you.
Parenting is the ultimate adventure!
That time of your life has arrived, and it’s so exciting! But also, kinda scary! Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Whether you’re a first-time parent to a newborn or a veteran parent of multiple teenagers, Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition will give your family the ultimate excuse for some quality bonding time and an opportunity for learning too. This stunning book of creative challenges was constructed with the goal of bringing families together. What are you waiting for? Buy the book now and start your next adventure!
The Best Free Online Resources for Parents
The internet is filled with incredible tools and information, but it can also be sometimes overwhelming and a little dark. By taking advantage of the tools on this list, you can trust that the information will be helpful and avoid some of the craziness that lives out on the web. From fact sheets to early learning ideas, these resources will be incredibly beneficial to your child’s well-being and your need for support services during this new phase of life.
One of the internet’s most extensive websites for pregnancy is The Bump. It covers each trimester in detail and then provides information and advice once the baby arrives. If you’re looking for answers to the many questions that pop up while you’re going through the different stages of pregnancy, you can start here because the odds are that you aren’t the first person with those questions.
In addition to the week-by-week guides for pregnancy, it also offers baby name lists, advice for baby shower registries, and community forums for discussions. You’ll be able to access support groups and parent resources on everything from child care to things to ask your healthcare provider. You can download an app that will show you the size of your baby and send reminders for things that you should check off your list as time goes by.
Local Facebook Groups
Communities often have local parenting groups on Facebook. In large cities, there might even be a neighborhood-specific group. These can be beneficial for meeting new parents in your area and setting up some playdates. It’s healthy to have people in your circle that are going through the stages of parenthood at the same time.
Facebook groups are also a great place to find clothing and toys that are gently used to avoid purchasing all new items for your kids. Children grow so quickly that all parents feel like they are constantly sizing up and buying new things. Secondhand shopping helps the environment and your wallet.
Raising the Future
Formally known as Parents Anonymous, Raising the Future is a family-strengthening organization. It was founded as a tool for families dealing with the public systems to get assistance and guidance to improve their situation. Families receive free emotional support and evidence-based programs that help empower parents and children. People can connect with someone 12 hours a day in English or Spanish using their helpline.
Once you’ve had a baby, there are a lot of things to remember and organize. One of the most important is the health checkups as your child starts to grow. Text4Baby is an app that helps you keep track of all the important appointments. It’s not just appointment reminders either, there is a ton of incredible information on the site and app as well for new parents to answer some of the frequently asked questions and give you support during this time.
Vroom is an organization started by the Bezos Family Foundation that helps give parents and caretakers education resources to help a child’s brain development during those first five formative years. This resource provides science-based tips and tools to inspire families to work together on fun development opportunities. It doesn’t require money or even much time, Vroom keeps it simple.
There are five basic principles: Look, Follow, Chat, Take Turns, and Stretch. It takes the things you’re already doing and changes how you think about the time you spend together and make the most of it. It’s a great way to challenge how you think about simple things and turn them into special moments. Boost your child’s learning from early on with Vroom.
There are many debates about screen time for kids, but if you are looking for some shorter clips that are educational to help fill some time—YouTube Kids is a great resource. It’s a separate app that keeps any adult content filtered out, so you don’t have to worry about inappropriate videos popping up.
Find classics like Sesame Street that kids can watch in five or ten-minute segments. There are tons of things to learn and incredible resources for singing and dancing. Exercise videos for kids can also help get some of their wiggles out. This can be a great tool for parents who are looking to finish cooking dinner and need a quick distraction for the kids.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is involved in many different areas for the federal government. One of the free resources they offer is a milestone tracker for young children. As a child grows from infancy to school age, there are certain development milestones they should be hitting. It also shares resources if you’re concerned that they aren’t hitting those milestones. There are helpful tips for all parents and a good and simple way to ensure your child is getting ready for Kindergarten with information from the U.S. Department of Education.
Early Childhood Collective
The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign put together the Early Childhood Collective, which offers a few different collections to address specific concerns and needs of young children. It covers topics like Family Engagement and provides tools parents can use to improve their relationships with their kids and other family members.
Two very successful bloggers became moms in the last five years and wanted a place to share all the fun, creative projects they have done with their kids. Childhood Magic is their passion project, and it shows. You’ll find tons of great resources and ideas for things to do at home with your kids.
From printables to holiday and seasonal crafts, you’ll find no shortage of unique, high-quality projects that will keep your kids busy and keep your refrigerator covered in colorful artwork every day. Everything is organized by theme, season, or holiday, so you can find something that is relevant and timely.
Adventures From Scratch Blog
The Connect Blog from Adventures from Scratch is filled with free resources that parents can benefit from. You’ll find articles about planning family weekend getaways and fun family fall activities. Some topics are a bit heavier, like putting parenting advice into perspective. The focus is all on exploring together and building stronger relationships. The advice shared covers family, parenting, and relationships, so browse the articles and check back for fun seasonal ideas.
PBS is a great all-in-one stop for parents with young kids. Its TV shows have become classics with characters like Curious George and Daniel Tiger. In addition to the shows, there are tons of free online resources for parents to take advantage of. Use their website to answer a few questions and get a list of recommendations in return for ways to keep the little ones entertained and engaged. There are constant updates for seasonal fun, so you won’t ever run out of options for the whole family to have some fun. Bring some early childhood education into your home.
Child Development Institute
If you are curious about different development challenges or looking for some information about what to do if you have concerns about your child, check out the Child Development Institute. A large collection of expert articles covers topics like ADHD, Child Media Safety, Teen Mental Health, learning disabilities, and more.
The mission of the institute is to be the “go-to” site for parents on all things related to child developmental milestones, psychology, health, learning, media, professional expert organizations, and more. You’ll find articles about helping get your kids to sleep, the importance of sharing meals, and how to help your kids get more exercise. There are so many great articles all in one place.
Social media isn’t always the best option, but if you’re looking for activities for kids, Pinterest has thousands of ideas. You can make your search as specific as possible, and there will probably be results. The platform makes it easy to save articles or ideas that you find until you’re ready so they can be organized into one spot.
This can also be a great resource for recipes, decorating ideas for a kids’ room, organizing tips, and art projects. Just be careful when it comes to anything more serious because articles and information can be pinned from any source, and there might be some unverified or inaccurate information.
Greater Good Science Center
The Greater Good Science Center works to bring science-based tips to as many people as possible using articles, calendars, videos, podcasts, and quizzes. This center has been working at the University of California, Berkeley, since 2001. While their resources can benefit people at any time in life, there is a parenting initiative project that helps parents raise caring and courageous kids.
The resources cover a wide variety of topics that parents can benefit from. For example, there is a course about encouraging kids toward honesty that helps parents promote honest behavior. There are also helpful courses on teaching kids forgiveness, covering emotions, and helping kids practice skills to achieve their goals.
National Geographic Kids
National Geographic has been a learning institution for decades, and a specific section of the website is dedicated to children. Kids can browse different articles that interest them, like the Discovery of King Tut’s Tomb. There are also weekly and monthly features, like the Wacky Weekend photos, which can be a fun recurring activity for your kids.
Nat Geo works to make education fun. From state breakdowns to explanations of holidays from cultures around the world, it breaks down information in a fun and interactive way that can help your conversations around the dinner table become way more interesting. The free games, videos, and articles are a great way to keep kids entertained for a while.
Learning a new language is easiest for the brain in kids 18 years old or younger. To become fluent in a language, experts recommend starting before age 10. Some school districts offer language classes for students, but there are options to help them practice new languages outside of school. The app, Duolingo, is a fun way to learn a new language. It’s a free resource and uses games and fun, colorful learning tools to help users practice.
The app puts out bite-sized lessons, so it’s more fun than overwhelming. Choose from languages from all over the world (and even a few made-up languages.) Popular language courses include Spanish, Germany, French, and Japanese. It also includes some lesser-known languages, like Hawaiian and Navajo. Choose a language with your kids and learn as a family, with everyone completing their daily lessons. In addition to the lessons, there are podcasts and stories that you can supplement.
Looking for ways to continue education at home? Check out Prodigy, which is a game-based platform that helps engage kids with learning. Math practice is done in a fantasy world and uses curriculum-aligned math practice. There are daily quests, so they can be part of the daily routine and helps kids put their math skills to use in a fun and engaging way.
The parent tools include a dashboard where you can see how your kids are going and if their teachers have any assessments. Monthly reports are delivered straight to your email and you can see the curriculum progress. The math section covers grades one through eight and the English section covers grades one through five.
The College Board has organized some resources to help make decisions and narrow down choices for colleges. If you have a child that is interested in pursuing higher education past high school, this tool can help you plan and stay ahead of the tasks that need to be completed. There are checklists for your children so you can lead productive conversations throughout the process. Plus, there are tons of resources created specifically for parents and guardians.
Sign up for the free webinars hosted throughout the year that cover topics like searching for scholarships and loan programs or how to help your middle school child stay on track for college. There are parental guides, toolkits, and action plans from middle school through 12th grade to help you stay on the to-do list and feel organized.
The Best Community Places and Resources for Parents
The internet is great, but there are also some amazing community resources that you can visit in person. These options are available all over the United States, so it doesn’t matter which town or region you live in, you can take advantage of these incredible free resources.
Your community library is stuffed full of books for people of all ages. But libraries offer so much more than just reading material. Libraries organize a calendar of fun and engaging activities as well. Each community has access to its unique resources, so check your local library website.
The most common activities include arts and crafts, music classes, storytime, and homework assistance. Authors will go on tours and be available for meet and greets. There are also specialists in all kinds of fields that will share knowledge. Families in the community should support their local library by getting a card and utilizing its services. Rent movies, pick out books, and check out the events—all for free.
Home Depot for Kids
Home Depot is a popular spot to pick up supplies for your home and garden, but did you know that they also offer free workshops for kids? Help your kids practice using their hands and creating something. Every month on the first Saturday, you can sign your kids up for the workshop, where they will get all the supplies needed to make the project along with instruction from store employees.
Projects range from toy trains to holiday decor, but there is also an online library of projects to try on your own time as well. It’s a way to give back to the community and help kids practice using tools and building something themselves.
Kids love a good playground. Whether they spend time on the swings or try every single slide, playgrounds help them get outside and play with other kids. These are safe places for kids to explore their imagination and develop physical and emotional skills. Make a list of all the different playgrounds in your community and check them off with your kids. This can be a really fun adventure, and you might find some new favorites. Each location has its unique features, so kids will have fun trying out the different features.
Each community has access to some kind of outdoor space. Download the free app, AllTrails, or check the website to see what hiking trails are close to you. Each trail has reviews, pictures, and many ways to filter to find the best options for your family.
Hikes are such a great way to get kids outside to explore nature. You can create a scavenger hunt to search for animals and plants or just enjoy the scenery and the exploration. Hiking doesn’t require any special equipment (unless you are doing something intense.) It’s fun and simple, so plan your hiking adventure and hit the trails.
Every Kid Outdoors Program
The National Parks are filled with natural wonders and fascinating history. Most of the time, there are passes required to enter that cost money. But, the government has a program called Every Kid Outdoors, which supplies any child in fourth-grade access to any National Park location with their families for free.
There are resources for parents, guardians, and educators to help plan field trips or weekend excursions to explore the park system. There are sample itineraries and ideas for how to enjoy the spaces best. Research has shown that children ages 9 to 11 are starting to understand the world around them, and it’s the perfect time to introduce them to outdoor activities and adventures. You’ll need to enter some information and then print off your pass. They are unique to each child but will allow the entire carload to enter the park so that you can take the whole family.
Final Thoughts on Free Resources for Parents
Raising children takes creativity, resourcefulness, and love, among other qualities. This list of free resources is a great place to start for new parents, caregivers, and people who have been parents for years. Take advantage of the educational programs that will make learning fun for kids, and maybe learn alongside them. Use these resources to help find answers to your burning questions and hear what other parents have experienced. There is quite a network of helpful people out there at your fingertips and will all help with overall child welfare and happiness.
You might also want to consider having a read of this list of “39 Best Apps for Parents” or consider creating a family command center to further streamline your parent skills.
Frequently Asked Questions
Utilize some of the incredible free resources for parents to set up fun learning environments. Duolingo is great for languages. Prodigy is a great supplement for math and English.
There are great resources for parents to help their teenagers get a head start on the college selection process like Big Future. It provides to-do lists for kids starting in middle school.
Spending quality time together is important. Grab a copy of Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition, which has dozens of unique activities for you to try as a family.