10 unique, educational stocking stuffer ideas

Written by Caitlin Curley of My Little Poppies

I absolutely adore the holiday season, but I dread all of the stuff that comes with it.

I’m not talking about cookies, or handmade ornaments, or holiday cards from friends and family. I love all of that stuff.

I’m referring to the accumulation of new toys, many of which are either of the plastic or stuffed variety.

It seems this stuff is exciting for a minute or two, and then it takes up space in some nook or cranny and is rarely played with again.

I cannot control what friends or family give to my children, but I can help to eliminate unnecessary stuff at home.

We have significantly cut back on the number of gifts we give our children, and I declared a war on stocking stuffers.

Let’s face it: stockings are incredibly fun, but they can be a slippery slope to unwanted and unnecessary stuff.

I’ve made it my goal to fill stockings with fun and educational materials that could double as homeschool resources. I want our stocking stuffers to spread smiles and serve an educational purpose.

Today, I am sharing some of my absolute favorite stocking stuffers from over the years.

10 Unique and educational stocking stuffer ideas

Educational – and fun– stocking stuffers

In no particular order, here are some of our family’s absolute favorite educational stocking stuffers from over the years. These resources are affordable, fun and educational.

Extreme Dot-to-Dots (math)

I love these Extreme Dot-to-Dots for several reasons. Yes, my children love them, but they are also the perfect go-to resource for quiet time, waiting rooms, restaurants and road trips.

There is something incredibly calming about dot-to-dots. Plus, they are a wonderful way to sneak in some math and work on those fine motor skills.

These Unique Stocking Stuffer Ideas Will Make You Smile | Caitlin Fitzpatrick Curley, Simple Homeschool

Pocket microscope (science)

Homeschoolers love microscopes!

This little gem is affordable, fun and it fits in your back pocket.

My children bring their pocket microscopes everywhere. Whenever we find something interesting on a hike, we pull them out to explore further.

In fact, these are such irresistible learning tools that I keep one in my car for on-the-go learning. I can’t tell you how many times it has come in handy at a park or pool or beach!

These Unique Stocking Stuffer Ideas Will Make You Smile | Caitlin Fitzpatrick Curley, Simple Homeschool

Inflatable globe (geography)

Do you remember when you were in elementary school and you’d spin the classroom globe, place your finger on it, and see where you’d land?

Well, guess what? That game is just as much fun as it used to be.

And now, with the advent of Google Maps and YouTube, this game can fuel an afternoon of learning! They even make inflatable globes that you can toss back and forth to each other!

These Unique Stocking Stuffer Ideas Will Make You Smile | Caitlin Fitzpatrick Curley, Simple Homeschool

An irresistible journal (writing)

Our family loves to journal. I think it’s in our blood.

As journal addicts, we have tried them all.

We have several favorites, including this adorable mother-son journal. What a perfect family tradition for the new year!

These Unique Stocking Stuffer Ideas Will Make You Smile | Caitlin Fitzpatrick Curley, Simple Homeschool

A travel-sized game (history)

As a gameschooling family, I am always trying to add more play to our daily routine.

One way to squeeze in more play is by using travel games.

Travel games are great gifts because they are small and fun. You can tuck them in your glove box or purse for on-the-go learning. They also help with waiting rooms, restaurants and flat tires!

One way to sneak in more history is to play one of the many fantastic Timeline games on the market. My kids are huge fans of Timeline Inventions!

These Unique Stocking Stuffer Ideas Will Make You Smile | Caitlin Fitzpatrick Curley, Simple Homeschool

A resource to fuel creativity (art)

My children love these pocket watercolor sets!

We often tuck these, a pencil, and a sketchpad in a backpack when we hike.

Or, we pull out a favorite book and use it as artistic inspiration.

These Unique Stocking Stuffer Ideas Will Make You Smile | Caitlin Fitzpatrick Curley, Simple Homeschool

A book that makes you want to dance (music)

Okay, I’ll admit it: This book is a little too big for traditional stockings, but the truth is I wanted to share it with you.

It’s a new favorite in our book-loving home and if you have Nutcracker fans at home, you need to check it out!

These Unique Stocking Stuffer Ideas Will Make You Smile | Caitlin Fitzpatrick Curley, Simple Homeschool

An educational gift that makes kids giggle (reading, writing, grammar)

This stocking stuffer has become a favorite family tradition. My children look forward to receiving new Mad Libs for Christmas.

I love listening to their belly laughter as they work on Mad Libs together. And I smile, knowing that they are also working on those all-important, reading, writing and grammar skills!

These Unique Stocking Stuffer Ideas Will Make You Smile | Caitlin Fitzpatrick Curley, Simple Homeschool

A fantastic book light (reading) …

In our home, you must go to bed at a certain time… but you don’t have to go to sleep. You are allowed to stay up reading until you fall asleep.

Once my children started reading, I gave them each a book light. It’s the same book light I use each night, and they love this fact.

I have had this book light for more than a decade and it is still going strong. It is small. It is flexible. And it has two different light settings in case you are sensitive to brightness.

What better way to encourage reading than to give your kiddos permission to read after lights out!

These Unique Stocking Stuffer Ideas Will Make You Smile | Caitlin Fitzpatrick Curley, Simple Homeschool

… and a book that builds empathy and fuels kindness (because that is more important than any academic subject)

I checked and this just barely fits in my children’s stockings.

I had to share it with you because this book is a treasure. If you have read Wonder, you’ll want to check this one out. We are using it daily as part of our Coffee and Books routine. It has already fueled amazing conversations.

Plus, it’s fantastic for copywork!

These Unique Stocking Stuffer Ideas Will Make You Smile | Caitlin Fitzpatrick Curley, Simple Homeschool

If you are on the hunt for more amazing stocking stuffer ideas, you can find them here.

Do you have a favorite educational stocking stuffer? Share here!

This post contains affiliate links.

About Caitlin Fitzpatrick Curley

Cait is a school psychologist, mom to three amazing children, and an unexpected homeschooler. She loves nature, good books, board games, strong coffee, and dancing in her kitchen. You can read about all of these things and more at My Little Poppies. You can also find her hanging out with Kara at The Homeschool Sisters Podcast.

Comments

  1. Leslie Brewer says:

    This list is GOLD!!! So many thoughtful, useful, educational FUN gifts to help eliminate some of the ” stuff”. Thank you for sharing!!

  2. I agree! Golden!

  3. Lcavalletta says:

    Thank you for this list! The pocket microscope is going on my holiday wish liist!

  4. I love the pocket microscope idea! The link shows a different model than what your child is holding so I’m a little confused. Do you use the 20-40x magnification or the 60-120x magnification? Both look sturdy, just trying to figure out which one would work better for my kids! Thank you!

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