20 Back to (Home)school Activities and Gadgets for Parents + Kids

So the kids are heading back to school, or they are staying home… or they’re doing both. It’s all a bit complicated and new to the whole country but, we’re determined to make the best of it!

Of course the silver lining is we’re spending more time together than ever before - So, that’s why our team got together to create this list of activities and gadgets that you and your children can both enjoy that have an educational twist!

  1. Bug Box - I had one of these as a kid and spent hours in our yard finding caterpillars, lady bugs, and grasshoppers to place inside and watch them crawl around. This little box is simple enough to make at home or pick up a cute one like this from Etsy - properly named “The Bug Barn”

  2. National Park Foundation TravelScope 60 - I remember Christmas 1996 my parents got us a telescope so we’d be able to see the Hale-Bopp comet in April 1997 (I was 9). We watched it from our deck… so I guess I’m now nostalgic for telescopes.

  3. Apples to Apples Freestyle - A new take on the classic Apples To Apples rules, but this version adds a twist by allowing players to make up their own hilarious answers and hand write them on their apple. A great way to practice writing and spelling without making it seem like a lesson.

  4. Everly Mat - Our most versatile and portable mat that’s easy to clean up (or disinfect). Available in two sizes it’s perfect for under a highchair, crafts, baking, or any other mess that could stain your carpets or counters. Or take it outside for some activities on wet grass, sand, or even line the trunk of your SUV for a clean place to sit - pop the hatch and watch a drive in movie! Shop our Labor Day Sale

  1. Multiplication Ring - This wooden multiplication ring creates different patterns depending on whether your child is counting by ones, twos, threes... Just wind the yarn around the ring and watch as you create different patterns.

  2. Moons and Planets Memory Game - The classic memory card game but based entirely on moons and planets! And no giveaways here - the name of the planet isn’t written on the card so you learn to recognize it by its appearance.

  3. Google Nest Mini - A smart speaker like the Google Nest Mini is the assistant you didn’t know you needed. This weeks lesson on ancient Egypt? “OK Google, how do you spell ‘Pharaoh’” - my constant go-to for spell checking.

  4. Tender Leaf Toys Birdie Tea Set - I think we all need some social outings by now. Gather round for a cup of tea and some easy conversations.

  1. Kindle for Kids - If the library was a staple for your child a Kindle Kids Edition may be something you’ll be interested in. Also, check in with your local library a lot of them have gone wireless and offer downloadable books through their own website!

  2. Matching Yoga Mats - Rainy recess? Hectic day? Or just need a moment of self care? We’ve got matching yoga mats (adult + child size) ready for some active strengthening or an easy flow. Shop our Labor Day Sale

  3. SkyView Lite App - Ok, last stargazing suggestion (I think I was influenced by our new Celestial Series) this is a free app available for Apple or Android - Point it towards the sky at night and it will help you identify planets and constellations. My mother in-law turned me onto this and I use it pretty often!

  4. Dry Farm Wine - Ok, this one is strictly for the parents… and maybe we can have it fall under educational if you promise to read the labels and learn about your next glass. Dry Farm Wine offers high quality natural wines from small family farms - and this was the selling point for me: Low Sulfate levels (wines high in sulfates can cause headaches… took me a long time to figure that out). Do a one time delivery of 3, 6, or 12 bottles or sign up for a monthly or bi-monthly subscription to have something to look forward to (and keep you sane).

  1. How to Draw Almost Every Animal - Artist in the family? Or maybe just an animal lover? This isn’t just for kids - parents can join in too! I love that the drawings through the book look like they’ve been done by a child and not a professional artist. And, they include animal facts along the way - double win.

  2. Bird Matching Game - Another classic memory card game but, now we’re back on Earth (and most likely in your own backyard). Not going to lie… I may buy this for myself as I recognized a lot of these birds from my own backyard in Maine but I never knew all of their names.

  3. Roam Free Play Mat - A perfect, soft, play space that’s easy to wipe clean and disinfect. Our Roam Free Play Mat can fit almost any size space by adding or removing extra tiles. A perfect spot to settle in for some ‘pod learning’.

  4. GoPro Hero 7 - GoPro’s are pretty hardy compared to our cell phones but, simple enough for most children to be able to use. Let them go off and make a wildlife documentary, or action movie - then have a movie premier for the family later that night.

    1. Mancala - Possibly the oldest game in the world - empty all of your stones before your opponent. The game is over when a player empties all six cups on their side. Simple to learn and played with two people.

    2. Binoculars - See more of the world - in the backyard, at the park, or on a camping trip.

    3. Noise Canceling Headphones - Work or school a lot of us are living through video calls… But, when you’re in a busy household earbuds don’t always cut it. Noise canceling headphones can become a life saver!

    4. Sitter Stream - Virtual babysitting and tutoring on demand! Yep, it’s a new age. Tutoring straight through a tablet or laptop one on one with your child to keep their attention and help them through any difficult course material. Use the coupon code NOMAD for a free 30-minute virtual babysitting session with SitterStream