Online entertainment and leisure resources

Below are some online entertainment and educational resources for you and your family. You'll find resources to help with homework, eBooks, newspapers and magazines, and keeping yourself well.


To help keep children safe online have a look at Jeanne Willis's cautionary tale, Chicken Clicking.

We have online resources that provide access to children’s eBooks and eAudio books as well as a range of digital comics:

Young adults

Books and audio books to download – we have a wide range of fiction and non-fiction, young people’s issues and self-help.

Try them out:

Resources for family and children

Storybooks and games online

The BookTrust: family fun activities, quizzes, competitions with daily updates.
Interactive books: a huge range of titles to read online or watch while singing, storytime videos and a range of fun kid’s games.

National Shelf Service: discover your next great read. The National Shelf Service is a new daily YouTube broadcast featuring book recommendations from professional librarians. Launched by CILIP and the Youth Libraries Group and supported by Nielsen Book, OverDrive, RB Digital, Bolinda and Libraries Connected, the daily videos will focus on helping children and families discover new, diverse reading experiences. The broadcast will run Monday to Friday at 11.00am each day.

Staring Into Space: creative activities for children. Staring into Space is a brilliant collection of six resources by Lauren Child and Josey Scullard, inspired by some of their favourite children's books.

World Book Day: storycraft videos. Authors give writing advice, plus quizzes and other resources.

Storyline Online: US based site with a large selection of storytime videos

Scott’s Story Time: join Scott Magoon for a weekly storytime with craft materials to download.

Elevenses with David Walliams: every day at 11.00 you can listen to one of David Walliams’ World's Worst Children stories

The Poetry Archive: Michael Rosen has an amazing website of him reading and performing his poems, plus more resources.

Shakespeare Week: The Shakespeare Week website has lots of themed activities in their Kidszone and a printable booklet to track what children have been doing. 

BBC 500 Words: story competition. Write your own with tips, but also read the past winners' stories.

Authors and Illustrators Online: there are numerous authors and illustrators sharing their work online.

Words For Life offer a  wide range of activities, things to do together, books and recommended reads:


Below are a selection of publishers who provide access to books online as well as web pages and resources for children:

Nosy Crow
Puffin Schools
Scottish Book Trust has an extensive archive of author events as well as learning resources

Things to do

Virtual London Zoo: London Zoo are bringing the zoo to your home. Updated regularly but check out the Easter treats for the meerkats while it is still available. It didn’t take long for them to find their treats!

The British Museum has a range of galleries online, a virtual tour of Prints and Drawings, and Oceana and school resources for ages 3 – 18

The Science Museum has games and apps, activities to do from home, or just explore the collection

Natural History Museum: find answers to your big nature questions.

Virtual Kew: Kew Gardens are blooming. Roam the gardens from the comfort of your own home.

Origami: from walruses to foxes, butterflies to rabbits, tulips to sunflowers, there is something for everyone at different levels.

Culture and activities

The Stage: following the closure of UK theatres many producers and companies are making their work available to watch online. The Stage are providing a regularly updated list of what is currently available.

Royal Opera House is launching a free programme of operas, ballets, masterclasses and more.

English National Ballet: check out the range of videos available on their YouTube channel

Culture Whisper have provided a list of online streaming theatre initiatives which will be regularly updated.

The Show Must Go Online: live streamed performed readings of The Complete Works Of Shakespeare

Wind In The Willows: Julian Fellowes 2017 production of The Wind In The Willows is available to stream free.

The British Museum has a range of galleries online, a virtual tour of Prints and Drawings, and Oceana and school resources for ages 3 – 18

The Science Museum has games and apps, activities to do from home, or just explore the collection

Natural History Museum: find answers to your big nature questions.

National Galleries Scotland: explore the collection online

Virtual Museum Tours: a list of 12 museums around the world that offer virtual tours

NASA: virtual tours

David Hockney has shared a collection of new works from his garden in Normandy.

National Garden Scheme: if you are in need of escape and longing for some open spaces spend some time on some virtual garden visits courtesy of the NGS. Join Alan Titchmarsh in his Hampshire garden, visit Hever Castle, or perhaps the spectacular tulip displays in Dunsborough Park. Also garden tips and tutorials. 

Keeping healthy

Live Well: advice, tips and tools from the NHS to help you make the best choices about your health and wellbeing

The Body Coach: join Joe Wicks for PE sessions on YouTube

Sport England: ‘Stay in, Work out’ campaign gives tips and advice how to stay active in and around your home.

Home workout videos from the NHS

Disney dance-alongs from This Girl Can watch videos of mums and kids getting moving to the songs they love.

Yoga and Pilates

Many companies are now offering streamed online yoga or Pilates sessions.

CorePower Yoga: US based yoga chain broadcasting on YouTube at 2pm and 7pm GMT

Vinyasa flow yoga: suitable for all fitness levels

Yoga With Adriene: 30 day program

10 minute morning yoga with Sara Beth Yoga – other sessions include:

Healthy eating

Eat Well: advice on eating a healthy balanced diet from the NHS

Healthy Weight: start the NHS weight loss plan

BBC Food offer a wealth of advice on maintaining a healthy diet

Staying healthy: advice from ChildLine

Young adults

During difficult periods we all need a little help to cope with stress and mental wellbeing.

Mental wellbeing audio guides: helpful resources provided by the NHS covering low mood, sadness and depression; anxiety control training; overcoming sleep problems; low confidence and assertiveness; unhelpful thinking

Breathing exercises for stress

Reading Well For Mental Health: a wide range of resources for all ages

Moodzone: audio podcasts

Mindfulness exercises: exercises from Every Mind Matters

Mindfulness (NHS): what is it? Advice from the NHS

Mindful breathing

Beditation: 30 minute bedtime meditation video to help with getting a better night’s sleep

Headspace: the meditation app have made some of their resources free for the time being

Headspace videos: lots of great videos from Headspace on mindfulness, meditation and at-home exercises

Adult colouring: colour your own ‘thank you’ to NHS staff with a poster provided by leading artist Sir Michael Craig-Martin.

Cosmic kids: a range of activities to develop motor skills in under 5s

Keeping your mind occupied

Puzzles from The Evening Standard

Daily Crossword from The Mail Online

Simply Daily Puzzles: updated daily (US site)

Crosswords, sudoku and more from The Guardian

Mind games: huge range of games, be aware the site does use advertising

Jigidi: online jigsaw puzzles

Origami from walruses to foxes, butterflies to rabbits, tulips to sunflowers, there is something for everyone at different levels.

Helplines and websites

NHS guide to helplines: huge list of helplines and advice websites

Alzheimer's Society: provides information on dementia, including factsheets and helplines.
Phone: 0300 222 1122 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm and 10am to 4pm on weekends)

Anxiety UK: charity providing support if you have been diagnosed with an anxiety condition.
Phone: 03444 775 774 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.30pm)

Age UK: the country’s leading charity dedicated to helping everyone make the most of later life.
Age UK Advice Line
0800 055 6112     Free to call 8am – 7pm 365 days a year

Age UK telephone befriending services

CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15 to 35.
Phone: 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight)

ChildLine: help for anyone under the age of 19 in the UK with any issue you are going through
Call 0800 1111

Young Minds: UK's leading charity for children and young people’s mental health issues
Parents' helpline 0808 802 5544 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4pm)

Citizens Advice: we can all face problems that seem complicated or intimidating. At Citizens Advice we believe no one should have to face these problems without good quality, independent advice.

Family Lives: advice on all aspects of parenting, including dealing with bullying.
Phone: 0808 800 2222 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 9pm and Saturday to Sunday, 10am to 3pm)

Mind promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems.
Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)

Relate: the UK's largest provider of relationship support.

Samaritans: confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.
Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)