The Single Best Item We Bought for School at Home

updated Mar 9, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
kids learning space
Credit: Julieta Alvarez

This piece was created for Cubby, our weekly newsletter for families at home. Want more? Sign up here for a weekly splash of fun and good ideas for families with kids.

Cubby. Real solutions for unreal times.

Join us for a weekly dose of fresh, modern ideas for life at home with your kids.

With a year that has caused more emotional whiplash than I will ever be able to fully unpack, we have been sailing through this uncharted home-online-hybrid-school territory with humor, tears, exhaustion, and, thankfully, a few very helpful purchases. 

When the schedule from our elementary school showed that live Zoom classes would last 3 HOURS PER DAY, I knew we were going to need a practical, functional setup, and got to work organizing desks, chairs, cubbies, and laptops. Despite creating a space that seemed to check all the boxes, both kids were bored and frustrated after just one day of screen-based learning.

I headed to the interwebs for potential solutions, preferably ones that could be delivered via Amazon Prime within 12 hours. A quick search brought up active sitting, and the myriad of benefits that accompany it, particularly in kids. Active sitting encourages the body to stay in motion, which in turn improves concentration, energy, and balance.

There are seating options for every style, budget, and age range, but we went with the ACE Active Core Engagement Wobble Stool.

Investing in these has been an absolute homeschool lifesaver, allowing for plenty of physical flexibility during long stretches of sitting.

Although wobble stools have a higher price tag, we have found that the benefits far outweigh the cost in terms of usefulness and convenience. In addition to being durable, they come in a variety of bright colors, arrive already assembled (woot!), easily slide under desks or tables, and are a cinch to wipe down after any haphazard snacktime spills.

Credit: Laura Hennigan

But the best part is that the kids get to continuously sway, rock, bounce, and wobble, all while still remaining seated. The stool offers 360 degree motion, along with a textured sitting surface and sturdy base to help avoid tipping.

Kids crave movement, and active sitting allows them to continue learning, while simultaneously getting their wiggles out. It can also help diminish ADD/ADHD symptoms like restlessness and fidgeting, and be beneficial for sensory processing issues.

After a fair bit of trial and error, we’ve also acquired several other homeschool tools that have proved essential for maintaining focus, reducing stress, and getting through the day.

Blue Light Glasses

Hours of Zooming often results in eye strain, fatigue, and headaches. These blue light glasses have helped reduce the physical effects of too much screen time, plus they come in all sorts of shapes and colors.

Monkey Rings

These squeezable rings can be held or worn as a bracelet, and are an ideal accessory for promoting calmness. Pass them out to keep hands occupied when settling in for a read aloud book or working on math problems.

Wobble Cushion

The cushion is another stellar active sitting option, but in a more portable form. It can be placed on a chair, or just on the floor, allowing for flex seating wherever you go.

Thinking Putty

Perfect for those stretches when kids need to entertain themselves, thinking putty promotes hand strength and dexterity, while also just being really fun to play with.