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10 Things That’ll Make Your Kids Love Learning This School Year

Back to school outfits may be fun for a day or two, but back to school supplies get kids of all ages excited for months at a time. We rounded up some of the best and brightest to keep kids eager to learn, explore, and actually get their homework done.


Colorful pens help make notes organized and fun

Is there anything more fun than a pack of brand new colorful pens? They’re perfect for scribbling down funny back-to-school jokes. But they’re practical too, because they help differentiate subjects and dates when taking notes, and that can help keep your overwhelmed honors student laser-focused and eager to learn. Plus, those binder doodles are way more fun in multi color. BIC Gel-ocity gel pens dry fast, have comfortable grips, and come in oodles of vibrant colors.


Younger kids will go wild for scented markers

Remember those scented markers from childhood? They’re classics, and they’re even better than ever now. Grade school-age children will get excited for art projects, DIY book illustrations, dioramas, and free time when they realize their markers offer a multi-sensory experience. Crayola Silly Scents are washable, too, so you know those adorable back to school outfits will make it through art class unscathed. You’ll be glad you have them when it comes time for Halloween crafts!


Fun erasers

Erasers are a perennial winner for kids of most ages because they’re fun, inexpensive (you don’t have to worry if they get lost), and send the message that mistakes are OK loud and clear. It’s more satisfying to correct a multiplication mistake with a rubber donut than a typical pink square, don’t you think? These delicious-looking erasers are $1 per pack at Office Depot.


Positively-printed notebooks

Sure, you could just opt for a plain notebook in your child’s favorite color, but sometimes classes are boring and homework is hard, so why not perk up their assignments with fun prints, positive themes, and exciting colors? Added bonus: you can subtly remind your child to actually eat the fruit in their lunchbox with this fun, inexpensive banana print notebook.


Too cool not to bring to school headphones

Public and private schools alike are encouraging more computer and tablet time for kids now, and many of those schools are asking children to bring their own headphones to school (because honestly, teachers aren’t paid enough to listen to 30 computers blasting math software at the same time). Here’s how to find good headphones for your little ones. Many of those schools also ask parents to supply the over-the-head style headphones, which are great because they give kids a chance to express their personal style (and mark their own names on the side). These rainbow lights headphones by Coby light up and have stereo-quality sound so you know every single bit of that Algebra app make it into your kid’s brain.

Mature, device-friendly backpacks

Since kids are toting laptops and tablets regularly, it makes sense to supply them with the right kind of bag—and make sure it’s one that fits properly. Nothing kills those happy, beginning of the year vibes quite like breaking a loaner laptop. This INCASE Cargo laptop backpack has a padded extra compartment just for laptops and portables so you don’t have to worry.


Fun pencil cases

They’re not just plain or cutesy, girls-only styles anymore, either. Pencil cases are super cool, necessary, and run the spectrum from mega masculine to gender-neutral to fearlessly feminine. They’re also a great way to get kids excited about all the stuff they have to store to get through a day at school, like erasers, calculators, glue sticks, safety scissors, and you guessed it—pencils. Brands like Yoobi are making intergalactic-themed pencil cases that won’t get lost, either, because they clip right into three-ring binders.


Highlight some fun

If your child is at book report-age or beyond, there is a good chance they need highlighters. Get them excited to highlight important facts, passages, and definitions with these fun popsicle highlighters from Staples stores that are cheap, cheerful, and will remind them of their long-lost summer all year long. Older kids will get a kick out of these retractable pen-style highlighters, too.

09-post-it-Things-That-Get-Your-Kids-to-Actually-Love-Learning-post-it-via-staples.comCourtesy of Post-it Brand

Make sticky notes match budding personalities

Growing minds have lots of thoughts, notes, and ideas—and somehow most of them end up on those little sticky notes that end up all over binders, books, bags, and lunches. They’re perfect for those memorable first day notes and lunchbox messages. Try making them just a little more fun with a hobby-themed dispenser that sit perfectly on any home desk or homework counter space, like this Post-it Pop-up Camera Dispenser.

Bring the photosynthesis lessons home

Just about every elementary school student is taught how plants grow, but the word—photosynthesis—and the concept can be a challenge, and some kids just don’t connect to the concept at all.  Embrace the challenge by growing your own seedlings at home: It’s a hands-on homework lesson that will leave a lasting impression. Hamama is a monthly subscription service that offers a virtually kill-proof way to grow microgreens in your window sill. Perfect for busy parents and newbie farmer students.

Bryce Gruber
As Home Editor, Bryce Gruber is an expert in gift ideas, shopping, and e-commerce at Reader's Digest. You've likely seen her work across a variety of women's lifestyle and parenting outlets and on TV shows. She lives and works in New York's Hudson Valley with her five small children.