Fun homeschool tools are awesome ways to help your kids focus and improve the learning experience at home.
As a mom of 5 busy boys, I’ve had to get a bit creative with directing attention and energy in our homeschool.
Check out my ideas for inspiration and ways to use these cool tools 🙂
Disclosure: I received Crazy Aaron’s® Thinking Putty and LifeSpan Unity Bike Desk for free to review. As always, I’m sharing my honest opinions and was not required to provide a positive review.
How Fun Homeschool Tools Can Make Learning Happen
Homeschooling doesn’t always look like you think it should 😉
Before we started our homeschool adventures, I had this vision of what homeschooling would look like.
I’d be perched on the sofa or floor with my boys sitting criss-cross applesauce, eagerly looking up at me and soaking up every word. The boys would be still and quiet. Our lessons would easily flow with no distractions.
And then, BOOM! I quickly realized that my dream was not going to be my reality.
After a mini-freak out (and few parent-teacher conferences), I knew that I needed to change up my approach.
One of the first things that I needed to change was my thinking about what learning was supposed to look like.
I thought you had to sit still and be super quiet if you were ever going to learn anything. (I’m a product of public school 😉 )
Well, that certainly wasn’t true!
After a bit of deschooling (for me and the boys), I noticed that my boys actually learned best when they had some freedom to move.
Also, it was super helpful to give my boys something to do with their hands as they read or listened.
Over the years, we’ve tried quite a few creative ways to make our homeschool flow as best as possible.
Here are our top 7 recommendations for fun homeschool tools to help you focus your attention and energy:
Our favorite way to keep hands quietly busy while we focus on homeschool work is Thinking Putty.
Instead of fiddling with papers, flicking paper clips, or touching each other, my boys use Thinking Putty to give their fingers something positive to do.
Thinking Putty is a fantastic sensory fidget tool that doesn’t make any noise. We enjoy it for a variety of reasons, like:
- Smell (the scented Thinking Putty’s are amazing!)
- Focused use of energy
- Flexibility – you can stretch and shape it in so many ways!
My boys scoop it out of the container and play with it while we listen to audiobooks. It’s also a huge help when they’re watching video lessons, like their CTCMath.
One of the new collections of Thinking Putty is a HUGE hit in our homeschool. Angry Putty™ gets stronger the more you use it. We’ve found Angry Putty™ to be perfect for when one of the boys is getting frustrated with practicing math facts or working on a writing assignment.
And #homeschoolmomconfession: I use Thinking Putty, too! When I’m feeling stressed out, I pull out the Calm Presence or Positive Energy, part of Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty SCENTsory™ collection (made with essential oils). I’m not sure if it’s the soft texture or delightful smells that help me chill out.
Pop over to Putty World to check out all the varieties. My boys are super excited about the new Just 4 Kicks Sports Thinking Putty that features a soccer tabletop game! Perfect gift for kids who love soccer 😉
Another fun homeschool tool that helps us focus is a timer.
At first, I hesitated to use a timer in our homeschool because I thought it might add pressure or stress.
But, when my boy started to moan about certain subjects taking forever, I reconsidered my thoughts about a timer.
In our homeschool, we use a timer for reasons like:
- Motivation to work on a subject for a specific about of time (especially a subject that we don’t care for)
- To time brain breaks (or other homeschool fun activities)
- Challenge ourselves to clean-up our homeschool area in a certain about of time
- Push ourselves to do a task that we really don’t want to do but know will help us grow (like handwriting or math drills)
To us, the addition of a timer makes it all seem more doable. Since we only have to do the task for a specific amount of time, we know that it won’t go on and on.
**Notice that I say “we”. I find a timer an extremely helpful tool as a homeschool mom. Keeps me on track in our homeschool, chores, and blog work 😉
We use a variety of timers in our homeschool. Here are a few of our favorites:
Learning Resources Time Tracker Mini Visual Timer, Classroom Timer, Hand Washing Timer, Auditory and Visual Cue, Ages 3+Pokey Parakeet Visual Timer: Classroom Homework Countdown Clock for Teachers Parents Children Students and KidsSand Timers, Mosskic Hourglass Timer 1/3/5/10/15/30 Minutes Sandglass Timer for Kids Games Classroom Kitchen Home Office Decoration(Pack of 6) (Multicolor)Classroom Timers for Teachers Kids Large Magnetic Digital Timer 2 packLearning Resources Time Tracker Visual Timer & Clock, Classroom Tracker, Ages 5+ – Blue
3. Bike Desk
A recent addition to our homeschool, this LifeSpan Unity Desk has been a surprising boost to our learn at-home adventures.
Like most boys, my crew likes to move. (I’m guessing most kids do. I only have boys but I remember having a hard time sitting still when I was a little girl.)
When one of us is getting antsy, we grab our materials and jump on the bike desk. Yup, this fun homeschool tool is another thing that I use just like my boys!
With an adjustable seat and sturdy surface, this bike desk gives us a quiet way to move our legs without disturbing anyone else in our homeschool.
We’ve fallen into a routine with using our bike desk. I gather all of our homeschool morning time materials in a basket and place it on the desk. I pedal away while going over our Latin/Greek root words, reading Classic Myths, teaching grammar, and watching student news.
Smiley likes to use the bike desk while working on science. Bear prefers the bike desk for math. And Xman likes to get on there whenever he can!
My two older boys use the bike desk to work on their high school English AND warm-up for soccer training.
This bike desk is one of the best products we’ve added to our homeschool this year!
4. Exercise Ball
Bouncy ball. Work ball. Fun ball.
All different ways we describe another one of our fun homeschool tools 🙂
When my boys need a focused way to move their legs and core, our exercise ball is so helpful.
WALIKI Children’s Chair Ball with Feet | Alternative Classroom Seating | Therapy Ball | 18Gaiam Kids Balance Ball – Exercise Stability Yoga Ball, Kids Alternative Flexible Seating for Active Children in Home or Classroom (Satisfaction Guarantee), Blue, 45cmGaiam Kids Stay-N-Play Children’s Balance Ball – Flexible School Chair Active Classroom Desk Alternative Seating | Built-In Stay-Put Soft Stability Legs, Includes Air Pump, 45cm, BlueExercise Ball for Yoga, Balance, Stability from SmarterLife – Fitness, Pilates, Birthing, Therapy, Office Ball Chair, Classroom Flexible Seating – Anti Burst, Non Slip + Workout Guide (Red, 45 cm)
5. Erasable Highlighters and Pens for Fun Homeschool Tools
My boys get easily frustrated when they write (especially my two perfectionists who freak out if they make a mistake).
An erasable pen is a fun homeschool tool that takes the pressure off during writing time. Plus, the boys love the variety of colors and how smooth these pens write.
We recently added Frixion erasable highlighters to our fun homeschool toolbox. These writing tools are fantastic for highlighting vocabulary words, color-coding parts of grammar, and tracing cursive handwriting examples.
Oh, and we’re also using these erasable highlighters and pens to differentiate between columns in multi-digit math problems, like multiplication and division.
To stay focused during reading time, I occasionally give my boys small magnifying glasses.
Super simple but the magnifying glasses add a hands-on touch. (Plus, they feel like reading detectives!)
Another creative and fun homeschool tool is a reading pointer. Instead of just using a finger to guide reading, my boys will use a fun pointer to keep track of where they are.
Over the years, we’ve picked up a few inexpensive reading pointers at dollar stores and made a few on our own.
A cool DIY reading pointer activity is to add pony beads to the end of a pipe cleaner. Or turn an unsharpened)pencil into a reading pointer by adding a fun eraser.
What Do You Think About These Fun Homeschool Tools?
So, will you give any of these fun homeschool tools a try?
I’d love to hear your experiences with any of these recommendations – and if you have any fun homeschool tools that you’d add to this list. Please share your ideas or questions in the comments area below 🙂