Inside: Learn how to supplement subjects with homeschool tools that spark interest and make learning exciting. This is important for active learners and an advantage of homeschooling.

It’s another morning in our homeschool and I’m trying to get everyone gathered around the table after breakfast. My 12 year old daughter gets started on her work without any complaints. On the other hand, just the mention of school makes my 9 year old daughter moan and lay her head on the table as if she hasn’t slept in days. Has this happened to you?

 

Children are so different and understanding how they learn can change their attitude during school. If you have a classical learner, workbooks are a dream come true. For the kinesthetic learner, it’s torture! 

Homeschool Tools

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My youngest is a mover and a shaker. She doesn’t like to sit still for long. She loves crafts, games, and basically anything that’s entertaining. Now I know not everything we do in school is going to be fun, but I can supplement many subjects with materials that spark interest and make things exciting. This is especially important for your active learners and the advantage of homeschooling. 

 

I have put together a list of some homeschool tools to help add fun to your school day and cater to your child’s learning style. 

Books about Play

I have included a few books about play and how it helps kids. I think it’s important we remember play is our children’s work. The public school has lost this concept. Homeschoolers have the ability to make learning fun and something to enjoy for life.

 

Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul

The Power of Play: Learning What Comes Naturally

You, Your Child, and School: Navigate Your Way to the Best Education

Card Games

RACK-O

This is a favorite in our house! It’s the perfect method to reinforce or teach some math skills. The object of the game is to number the cards in order from lowest to highest.

 

OrganATTACK! Tabletop Card Game

The object of this game is to remove your opponent’s organs before he removes yours. It’s an exciting approach to health. It’s probably best for upper elementary and up.

RACK-O Game

Here my daughter and I are enjoying a game of RACK-O.

Dice Games

Farkle Dice Cup

This is another favorite in our house. I like it more than Yahtzee because it’s faster. Dice games are an easy means to review math skills. This one is perfect for addition as your child totals his score after each roll. The value of the dice is very easy for lower elementary children to catch on and they will be doubling and tripling numbers in their head in no time.

ThinkFun Math Dice Junior Game

 Dice games are fun and this one helps with mental addition and subtraction, but can alter it for multiplication as well.  It’s for four players but it adaptable for two.

Farkle is one of our favorites! 

Farkle

Board Games

Time Telling Game

Time can be a difficult concept for kids to learn. This games is an enjoyable method to practice it without drill and kill. Your student will learn time on digital and analog clocks. There are four different levels: telling time to the hour, half hour, every 5 minutes, and every minute. So it works for all ages and is painless! You can do single player mode as well if you have one child.

Money Bags Coin Value Game

I love this game! Players have to count money as they try to reach the finish line. Using the spinner removes certain coins and the player has to find a different combination to get the same answer. If your pupil is struggling to learn the value of coins and counting money, this is a wonderful way to practice.

Sum Swamp Game, Addition/Subtraction, Early Math Skills

Doing addition and subtraction problems on a worksheet is boring to many students. This makes it enjoyable and they won’t even know they are doing math. It’s geared towards younger children (Preschool- first grade).

Sums in Space – an Addition & Subtraction Math Game

This is like Sum Swamp except it includes odds and evens and comparing numbers (less than, greater than, and equal to). It also has a cooperative play option.

Cytosis: A Cell Biology Game

Biology can be tricky and this board game teaches cell biology in an interesting style. Students will learn about the nucleus, rough ER, golgi, and mitochondria.

GeoBingo World 

Everybody loves bingo and it’s even better when you can use it to teach geography. 

GeoBingo USA

Ticket to Ride: First Journey

Learn geography and use strategy to take your train across the U.S. This is the younger version that is a little easier. There are older versions that take you through different countries.

Electronic Games

There are a lot of apps out there. They call them “educational”, but do you still feel like your kid is staring at a screen with his eyes glazed over? His brain seems fuzzy when he’s done playing and you have a hard time getting him back on task. He may even be cranky and out of sorts. This is what screen time does to our kids because it over stimulates them.

The Osmo game is one of the best digital games I have ever come across! The reason I love it so much is because your child is not sitting like a zombie staring at an iPad. Osmo creates interactive apps, which are different than anything else you have seen. Think of it as the Wii instead of PlayStation. 

 

Each game comes with physical pieces your child manipulates and the sensor, which you attach to the top of your iPad, reads his answers and gives feedback. He is looking at the game board or pieces instead of the screen the entire time. 

 

I was blown away by Osmo and the fact that every game is educational! Your child learns logic, reading, math, drawing, music, geography, critical thinking skills and much more while having a lot of fun. These are the perfect approach to make school fun and get your child excited about learning. Here’s a little secret- you will enjoy playing them too. We own almost all of them with the exception of two, I have on my wish list. 

Osmo Pizza

This is my daughter playing Osmo Pizza. The board flips so that one side you build the pizza and the other you make change when the customer pays.

Osmo Pizza

This is the other side of the board showing how you collect payments.

Osmo Base for iPad

The Osmo base is necessary for every game. You can buy it by itself and add games or as a bundle with the Genius Kit listed below. I highly recommend the kits because they come with several awesome games.

Osmo Genius Kit for iPad (Includes Base)

This includes the base and five awesome games. Your child will learn math (numbers) and spelling (words), visual thinking (Tangram), problem solving (Newton), and creative drawing skills (masterpiece).

Osmo Little Genius Starter Kit for iPad

This is the newest kit geared towards preschoolers. It teaches pre-reading skills, creativity, and problem solving with four different games.. If my kids were still little, I would be all over this one. Children can manipulate the pieces forming letters and creating words. There are also stories with dress-up pieces for a character. The game includes storage containers so you don’t lose anything.This is a great idea to keep a younger child entertained, yet learning, while you are working with the older children.

Osmo Coding Awbie Game (Base required)

This introduces a “Lego” type of coding to your kids. They will learn the basics of coding with loop, logic, and problem-solving skills. This is a wonderful STEM activity.

Osmo Pizza Co. Game (Base required)

I can’t say enough good things about this game. The object of the game is running a pizza shop. Your child will have to keep the customers happy, take orders, make the pizzas, collect payments, and make exact change. He will love it and learn so much in the process!

Osmo Coding Jam Base required)

This is similar to the Awbie game but with music. Your child will learn how to make melodies, drum beats and their own songs all while using sequences and patterns. The exciting part is when their music comes to life. This is a fun one for the music lover in your family.

Osmo Detective Agency (Base Required)

This is one that’s on my wish list. I will probably get it for school this year. We are focusing on geography and this would be a great alternative to traditional maps. Children use a magnifying glass with a map (6 different city maps included) to discover clues and solve mysteries.They’ll learn about geography, landmarks, and culture.

Hands-On Learning

Hot Dots Talking Pen

I bought one of these years ago when my son was little. He liked this more than boring workbooks. He could put the pen on a dot and get feedback if his answer was correct. This pen is the newer version with flashing lights.There are different kits available for different subjects. You can even buy the dots to make your own cards.

Magnetic Rainbow Fraction Tiles and Circles

Fractions are so much easier when you can see them. I love how these are hands-on and visual making them more concrete. These tiles go from one-half to one-twelfth. I love that they include bars and circles. I think it’s important for children to manipulate fractions with different shapes. These are magnetic so you can use them on a magnetic whiteboard.

Educational Insights Fraction Formula Game

This is a hands-on fractions game that lets you build, compare, and find equivalent fractions all in a fun manner.

Periodic Table of Elements and Chemistry, Connecting Tile Set

Who remembers the Periodic Table of Elements in chemistry class? How in the world did they expect us to learn that? This is fun tile set that lets your child handle and build the elements using a tactile approach.

Sentence Construction, Alphabet Linking Letter and Word Building Cubes

These are a great technique to build sentences, increase vocabulary and sight words, and ease into writing. They could even teach grammar to older students.

Scratch off World Map + Scratch off USA Map Travel Poster

This is so creative! Discover geography with scratch off maps. This one contains both a world map and map of the USA.

Snap Circuits PRO SC-500 Electronics Exploration Kit

STEM activities are great to incorporate into your homeschool. These Snap Circuits are great because they are safe, easy to build, and your youngsters will love seeing their experiments come to life.

Hot Dots

Hot Dots gives instant feedback with sounds when touching the pen to the answers.

Homeschool Tools for Writing

Kid O A to Z Magnatab

My youngest loves all of these! There’s just something about knocking the little magnetic balls out of the holes while she writes. She even likes setting it back up. Tracing helps with letter formation and is way more fun than writing letters over and over again. It comes with a pen, but I suggest using a finger at first for a more tactile experience. Then progress to the pen.

PILOT FriXion Color Sticks Erasable Gel Pens

This might seem crazy, but I swear my daughter enjoys doing school more because she gets to use a pen. Ever since we found these Frixion erasable pans, I don’t mind her doing her work in pen. They really do erase! They come in fun colors and she loves to choose a different color for each day. It’s the little things!

Crayola; Washable Window Markers

If you want to change up how your child practices math, writes out sentences, or draws a diagram, try these! My daughter spent days doing different subjects on our living room window. She wrote out things she normally would have dreaded just because she got to write on the window. I will say these take a little effort to clean up because they seem to be oil-based, but they are worth it. My girls were fighting over who got to use them next

Mini Magnetic White Board Easel for Kids

If you have a child that struggles in math, then you need to give the whiteboard a try. My son always struggled in math. However, his brain understood the problems better when he did them on a whiteboard. I’m not sure if it has to do with removing all the clutter on a page and being able to focus on the problem or being able to write it bigger, but it works. Using the window markers I listed above would work as well.

Crayola Window Markers

This is how my daughter did school one day with the Crayola Window Markers.

 

Magnatab

My daughter still loves to practice with the Magnatab!

Here is a video with even more games!

Our Experience

These are just a few homeschool tools you can use to make learning fun. We have used many of the items listed in this article. Some of these other families have used and a couple are ones we plan to buy. My children are always so much more involved in school and excited to participate when I pull out a game. They pick up the skills quicker and retain the information better. There is no moaning from the 9-year old and miraculously, she’s wide awake, and able to keep her head off the table!

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4 Comments

  1. Heidi, what an awesome list of games you have here! My youngest was the same way as your 9-year-old. I had to make everything I could a game, especially when he was little. But the best thing about that was finding out how much we all enjoyed learning games. You listed several I didn’t know about, so thank you!

    Reply
    • You’re welcome! Yes, it’s a challenge, but there are so many great games out there today that it’s much easier to find some fun things with an educational twist.

      Reply
  2. Wow, Heidi, you’ve outdone yourself! What a comprehensive post. My children are older but we still play games. And, now that I read your post, I’m reminded that almost any game out there -from playing cards to BINGO to Monopoly can provide a boost to learning (in addition to a great deal of fun hopefully). Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Thanks Lisa! It really does boost their learning and changes their attitudes during school.

      Reply

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