Best Home Education Gifts

Find the very best home education gifts for which make Birthdays extra special and are both fun and educational.

These are my top picks for favourite presents as one of the few second generation families taught at home myself and those recommended by 9,000 fellow homeschoolers from my Facebook groups.

home education Birthday gifts

Many of these presents have been road tested in our homeschool by my children, William (now at Oxford University) and Catherine, who is a talented artist.

N.B. This Birthday list is for the UK; if you are from the USA please click here.

Please note that the image links are affiliate links so if you buy you will pay exactly the same price as you would have done but I get a small percentage of the sale (which usually adds up to a few pence.)

If you would prefer not to support this site in that way, just go to Amazon and search for the book yourself.

Board Games

This list starts with our favorite pastime - playing board games together!

Board games are a fantastic way of learning everything from taking turns to maths and logic - and they bring the whole family together.

Let's start with some games for little ones:

And move on to some you may not be so familiar with:

Carcassonne is a great game for those who love maps; as you lay the tiles you create your own new landscape - every time!  You can start this game from very young with an adult acting as a helper for each child.

Puerto Rico and Agricola suit older children; they are both well designed and rewarding to play.

Settlers of Catan

Settlers of Catan is our all-time favorite.  As you can see, the cards are really well designed and it's a game which keeps everyone on their toes trading sheep and timber. 

It makes a fabulous home education Birthday present.

Helpful hint: if your child doesn't like losing, try playing with cuddly toys and awarding paper trophies!

Ticket to Ride teaches geography - and even better it's easy to pick up the rules and fun to play. Dominion is a card deck game and our newest purchase.

If you are looking for a cooperative home education Birthday game, Wildcraft comes highly recommended:

Wildcraft board game

"It is lovely and a cooperative game rather than a competitive one.. Both children have learned a lot about herbs and their medicinal uses and it sparked a real interest in herbs and foraging." ~ Diana

You could also make your own board game for free like my daughter Catherine!

Warriors board game

David Attenborough

Top of the list for best home education gifts has to be David Attenborough's programmes.

Your children will love watching them from when they are tiny.

Our favourites include more recent ones like Planet Earth II and The Hunt, but many are enduring.  Frozen Planet is outstanding, Lost Worlds Vanished Lives is a classic from his early days and wonderful if your child loves fossils and dinosaurs.

Brian Cox

Let's carry on the list of best home education gifts with another hero of mine.

Brian Cox picks up the baton from David Attenborough and is excellent for older children who love space.  I won't be the only person in the UK who has a soft spot for him!

Story Time Young Children

Reading bedtime stories is just the way to encourage a love of books. 

Shirley Hughes is incomparable for a Birthday bedtime read, and Old Bear is gently delightful.

Learning To Read

I've included these books in the list of best home education gifts because they all helped my children learn to read.

Mog is such a delightful cat - if perhaps not the cleverest!  That pesky Gaul Asterix and his antics can end up being one of the longest lasting presents you will ever buy - William still reads his!

Both my two found the short text balloons a real help to make reading less daunting.

Story Books

My lovely friend Diana recommends Eva Ibbotson:

"We love her books! I can highly recommend them." ~ Diana

Magic Kitten

Magic Kitten

"I think this is the 9th book in the Magic Kitten series she has read now....I love how much my big girl enjoys reading."

~ Alison

Multi-Cultural

We love these books; finding out about other children's lives in Children Just Like Me is such a brilliant way of making a connection across the world.  Festivals in different countries are always fun.

Also, a Birthday suggestion from Simone for little ones:

Lego and Construction Toys

If you need convincing that Lego is one of the best home education gifts ever, have a look at this list of seventy Lego learning activities.

free Lego printables

There are so many Birthday sets to choose from, and they are all wonderful!

Monica would really like to recommend Magformers and Magna tiles, and she's sent in a photo to show you the sorts of things your kids can make:

Magformers

Crafts

Sew cool sewing machine

"Morgan absolutely loved it. She works on it at night for hours. I'd recommend it. I had actually read that it is the hottest new toy this Christmas."

~ Nikki

Sew Cool is a threadless sewing machine.

It is simple to use with no needles to thread and no foot pedal - basically you just push the button and the machine starts (just remember to put the batteries in!).

There are 9 projects to make including a purse, a pencil case and stuffed characters.

"I recommend it too, Kaitlyn loves it and iv had a sneaky go on it as well xx"

~ Emma

Klutz comes top of the list for making the best and most inventive kits if your child loves making things.

friendship bracelets

From window art to friendship bracelets, hand art and window art, Klutz has generally never let us down.

Needle felting is one of our favorite crafts.

needle felt birds

You can start off with easy projects like the birds we felted.

This needle felt kit is brilliant, with 20 colours of wool, seven different sized needles, six projects to make and a needle guard to save your fingers!

"This starter kit is great."

~ Diana

The projects are great for easy crafts for kids and this kit would make a lovely introduction to needle felting.

We went on to make some lovely needle felt projects, particularly all the animals in the Little Felted Animals book.

Activities

Monica has a brilliant suggestion: buy a light table as a present for your kids. You can use it for all sorts of activities and, as you can see from her pictures, it really makes things fun!

light box
light box
light box

She suggests all sorts of things to do with the light table, like lighting up pieces of agate, using marbles, beads, and sand.

agate

Globes

I don't think any home ed. house is complete without a globe!

I asked for some recommendations to see what people like.

Janet has an Insight globe with animals - great idea for animal lovers.

Sheila and Maddy have political globes - Maddy says she loves the colours.

And my Mum, who taught me at home, wanted to give the kids something extra special so she bought them a National Geographic illuminated globe.

Expensive but fabulous. If you want one, don't go to Amazon as it is too expensive so I haven't put it here.

Dinosaurs

Many children love dinosaurs as we do!  Here are our top picks for the best dino books for presents.

Robert Sabuda's Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Dinosaurs is one of the most amazing pop-ups around.  All his books are worth collecting.

My Incredible Sticker Atlas is recommended by Simone in my Courageous Homeschooling Facebook Group.

And having an interest in dinosaurs is great for encouraging your child to write stories.  You can get free story writing worksheets featuring dinosaurs - courtesy of my daughter Catherine :)

story writing worksheet
dinosaur story worksheet

And here are some Birthday stories to inspire the writing!  Steve Cole's Astrosaurs is a fun series about dinosaurs in space; Z-Rex is more scary and for older readers.

Science

There are some fabulous books which bring science to life. For younger children, the Magic School Bus series is a lot of fun. 

The Magic School Bus

"My girls have recently discovered this show ( our doctor recommended it). It's educational and fun. I'd say suitable for 5-8 year olds. X" ~ Alison

"Our kids really enjoyed that show. They have a whole series of books that do with it which are also good!" ~ Lisa

Robert Winston has produced some wonderful books for Birthday presents that stand the test of time.

Let's start with some that complement a wonderful project learning about the human body.

human body activities

Janet from my Courageous Homeschooling Facebook group has suggested a lovely game you can play exploring the oceans which fits beautifully with the Ocean Unit Study.  There are two versions, one for slightly older children and one for younger ones.

Endless Ocean

"I took these of my son playing Endless Ocean 2 on his time off the other week and thought you might like to see them, I think it's a wonderful, realistic and detailed game....It's very educational as the animals are shown in great detail in their natural environments and there are descriptions of each species, from whales and herring to goblin sharks, giant squid and angler fish.

There is a cast of characters, a story line and boats to dive from into some of the world's oceans and rivers."

~ Janet

"Thanks for sharing this Janet. I have just ordered Endless Oceans (the first edition), which says it is suitable for age 3+ x"

~ Simone

And if you want to be inspired by a mad scientist, Theo Gray is your man!  He really brings the Elements to life.

Colouring Books

I thought I'd sneak in a few gifts for you at the bottom of the page so while the kids are busy playing with their Birthday presents you can relax with these lovely colouring books.

Tim Jeffs is an incredibly talented animal artist from America who has been very supportive of my daughter Catherine's homeschool art.

Encyclopaedias

Encyclopaedias are fascinating for children who love facts.

Usborne has a head start in the market as far as best home education gifts; they are generally well presented and great value.

Wow! is a pictorial exploration and offers an alternative approach which would particularly suit your child if they are visual learners.

Gifts For Children Who Love Animals

My two children are pretty expert on this - because they are confirmed animal lovers!

The Animal Ark stories are great for presents for younger readers as the animals always get looked after in the end.

Michael Morpurgo is someone who empathises with home education.  Himself a possessor of a failed 11+ and the lowest degree you can get, his story telling is all about the joy of writing; he holds no truck with testing.

Even better, there is always an animal in there somewhere!

And if you want to add some science in a fun way, have a look at these Scanorama books with their virtual x-rays:

"These books are amazing, for anyone that is interested in animals, anatomy, x rays, etc." ~ Monica

My children William and Catherine loved the 3D models in the UNCOVER series so much we ended up buying the whole series!

Best Home Education Gifts: Older Children

Let's start with Warrior Cats, which are my daughter Catherine's favourite.  The tales of the cat clans have caught her imagination for years.

Seekers is for slightly younger children.

Michelle Paver's Wolf Brother series is gripping and extremely well written. I've added White Fang as it's always good to have a few classics to add to the list of best home education gifts.

Alex Scarrow's Time Riders sneaks in a bit of history by the back door.

Rick Riordan is a fabulously inventive writer who brings myths to life in a rather larger-than-life way.  William loves his books and can now answer any question you'd like to ask him about myths!

The Hunger Games has to be on the list, as well as Divergent.

Harry Potter is big with William in our house; but I preferred the audio version with the inimitable Stephen Fry.

Wild Art Treasures

tiger painting

Finally, my homeschool daughter Catherine has some fantastic animal gifts which she sells worldwide on her Wild Art Treasures Etsy shop.

She is following an unschooling route as a talented artist as you can see from her tiger painting.  Here's your chance to give a Birthday gift made by a homeschooler!

If your older child would like to try digital drawing, this Wacom pen tablet is the one Catherine uses.

She uses it to draw on the computer screen with a digital pen which comes with spare nibs. We researched all the pen tablets and for the price we think this is the best there is.

Books On Home Education

Homeschool Secrets of Success

I'm adding to the list of best home education gifts some of the most inspiring reads around.

Please forgive me if I recommend mine!  I hope you will find Homeschool Secrets of Success a supportive and encouraging read whether you are just starting out or in need of a bit of reassurance.

Here's Sheila reading it!

Sheila reading Homeschool Secrets of Success

"Great book Sonya." ~ Sheila

Kindle

Paperback

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