**This conversation is brought to you in partnership with the products below, which I received in exchange for an honest review.**

We have one week until school starts. Backpacks are being filled, first day outfits are being laid out and schedule pick ups are on the calendar. I am ready and I am not ready. The schedule will be nice again but I will miss the laughter and fun I have with my three girls. In the ‘getting ready’ column also comes the need for educational materials that will aid in getting the ready and in enhancing the learning environment all year round! Enter one of my all time childhood favorites and some new favorites for my kids!  These Educational Must Have’s for Back to School are in house and already encouraging my kids to learn! Check them out, and my opinions on each, below:

Artie 3000™

My kids are STILL playing with this one! They take turns on the computer coding Artie to make squares, circles, tic tac toe signs and more and then the other watches him draw it on a piece of paper. This is awesome because it is teaching them beginner coding, cause and effect in robotics and how to be patient! All skills my girls need going forward!

You write the code and Artie 3000™ draws the lines – putting the ‘A’ in STEAM toys! Easy to learn and cool to create with, Artie 3000 also comes ready to draw with preprogrammed designs, shapes, and games.Watch how-to videos and learn about all the cool things Artie can do at CodeWithArtie.com. (pssst: he comes with 7 different ways to code including Python and drag-and-drop!)

Artie is simple to start. Just put the batteries in, then the market, download the site after connecting him to your WiFi and hand it over to your super curious and smart kids! Mine love anything STEAM so this is perfect for them and helps encourage them to learn as well.


Highlights was my number once childhood favorite. My mom ordered them and I would scour them cover to cover the moment they arrived in my mailbox. It is so wonderful to see my kids loving them too. The new workbooks are fantastic. With everything from spelling to math games to word search, they bring back my memories and help kids refresh for school.

The beloved Highlights brand is stepping up to the challenge with Highlights™ Summer Big Fun Workbooks, 144 pages of imaginative puzzling, humor, and whimsical illustrations that will engage children 3-6+ to build confidence in learning while also combating summer slide. 

Used as entertainment on a summer road trip vacation, or during a random day at home, the Highlights™ Summer Big Fun Workbooks include ideas for simple ways to extend the learning through fun outdoor activities. Each book also features a rewarding certificate of completion at the end, in addition to simple tips to help parents guide their children through the activities in these workbooks.

STEM Games

At this moment, my kids are making candy and slime in the most scientific way, which I LOVE! Why? Because they are using science to enhance their play which only enhances their education. What kid does not like to play with slime and make candy?

The STEM at play! Series introduces kids in grades 3–12 to the wonders of STEM skills through a wide variety of experiment and activity kits. Ranging from slime to combustion science to a create-your-own-candy kit, each kit comes with a lab and career guide detailing each experiments’ instructions and a study of the particular field of science the kit explores.

These are awesome educational items masquerading as toys! Get those kids excited about learning again with these fun must have’s for back to school!

Which one do you love most?