The 11 Best Educational Workbooks of 2021

Keep kids engaged and learning at home

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks
Best for Learning Letters:
Letter Tracing Workbook at Amazon
Teaches younger kids the letters of the alphabet while strengthening their fine motor skills.
Content focuses on ABCs, sight words, counting, patterns, colors, shapes, and much more.
Best For In-Between Grades:
Summer Brain Quest at Amazon
Parents can use these in-between books to help in the summer months or anytime.
Best for Reluctant Readers:
Reading Success for Minecrafters at Amazon
This book is as fun as it is educational, and there's also a version for grades 3-4.
Best for Reading Comprehension:
Scholastic Success With Reading Tests at Amazon
Kids will pair their reading with comprehension-building puzzles, activities, and brain teasers.
Best for Math:
Math Made Easy at Amazon
Kids will appreciate the star stickers and chart to mark progress and encourage good work.
Best On-the-Go for Fun:
Oso & Me at Maisonette.com
It’s great for any age kid and will keep them busy in the car, on a plane, or sitting on the couch.
Best On-the-Go for Academics:
Brain Quest at Amazon
The pack is small enough to throw in a bag or backpack.
Chock full of information, the book includes ready-to-color images for each state.
Each subject’s key concepts are outlined, summarized, and easily digestible.

Whether your kids are participating in remote learning or you want to keep kids academically challenged at home, on the road, or on vacation, educational workbooks are a portable and easy solution.

Make sure to choose one that is at the appropriate academic level for your child. Most workbooks have grade-level recommendations to use as a guide. Use the recommended level, check reviews, speak with your child’s teacher, and level up or down based on your child’s academic needs.

Best for Learning Letters: Letter Tracing Preschool & Kindergarten Workbook

Letter Tracing Workbook

Much of learning letters and handwriting is done through repetition and tracing. This book will help teach younger kids the letters of the alphabet while strengthening fine motor skills.

Each letter of the alphabet starts with tracing dotted lines to eventually writing the letters with no lines. The book also has many pages of lined paper for practice writing. 

Best for Toddlers: The Big Fun Preschool Workbook

Preschool Big Fun Workbook

With over 250 pages of fun, this preschool workbook is perfect for kids between ages 3 and 5-years old. Content focuses on ABCs, sight words, counting, patterns, colors, shapes, and much more and is all done in an age-appropriate manner through games, mazes, puzzles, and matching activities.

The last page of this book is a certificate that parents can complete for their kid, rewarding your child for their hard work and new skills.

Best For In-Between Grades: Summer Brain Quest

Summer Brain Quest

Billed as a way to stop the “summer slide,” these books are perfect for kids who have completed one grade and may need to brush up in the summer for the next grade.

Parents can use these in-between books to help in the summer months or anytime. Pick the appropriate grade level to make sure kids can complete what they need to know and then help them begin to level up to the next grade.

Best for Reluctant Readers: Reading Success for Minecrafters: Grades 1-2

Reading Success for Minecrafters

A kid-friendly workbook that’s best for 1st or 2nd graders, this Minecraft-focused book features all of your Minecraft fan’s favorite characters and concepts. Using something kids love (Minecraft), to reinforce phonics, sight words, comprehension, and more, this book is as fun as it is educational.

Best for Reading Comprehension: Scholastic Success With Reading Tests

Success with Reading

Leave it to the experts at Scholastic to put together grade-level workbooks based just on reading comprehension. With grade-appropriate high-interest stories, kids will pair their reading with comprehension-building puzzles, activities, and brain teasers.

The key to reading comprehension is making sure young readers understand the story and are able to grasp the main idea and details, make inferences from the story, draw conclusions, and understand story sequencing.

Best for Math: Math Made Easy: Kindergarten Workbook

Math Made Easy

Made for grades K through 5th, this series has been created by a group of math experts with the aim of making math enjoyable while growing skills and confidence. The grade-appropriate books include a topic review from the previous grade, current grade skills, and a preview of topics from the grade ahead.

While there aren’t teaching tips on the individual pages, there are parent notes and teaching tips in the back. Kids will appreciate the star stickers and chart to mark progress and encourage good work. 

Best On-the-Go for Fun: Oso & Me Coloring Book

Oso & Me

A sweet 35-page book, this book is perfect for on-the-go fun. With coloring pages, games like tic tac toe, puzzles, a mask, and much more, it’s great for any age kid and will keep them busy in the car, on a plane, or sitting on the couch.

Best On-the-Go for Academics: Brain Quest

Made for preschoolers through 7th graders, Brain Quest is a fast-paced question and answer game series packaged in a bound deck of laminated cards. The grade-level content aligns with national and state standards and is created by educational experts.

These well-made cards are as entertaining as they are educational. At seven inches high and two inches wide, the pack is small enough to throw in a bag or backpack.

Best for Coloring: United States Coloring Book

US Coloring Book

This exciting coloring book highlights each of the 50 states. Chock full of information, the book includes ready-to-color images for each state. Kids can color an accurate state map, the state flower, motto, bird, tree, capital, and major rivers and mountains.

Brimming with useful facts and fun-to-color images, this book will help school-age children learn all the states. A full map of the United States is included for a big picture view.

Best for Big Kids: Everything You Need to Ace Math in One Big Fat Notebook: The Complete Middle School Study Guide

Big Fat Notebooks

Aimed at middle schoolers, this series includes Everything You Need to Ace Math, Science, World History, English, American History, and Computer Science & Coding. This series is built on the idea that the books mimic the notebook of the smartest kid in class.

Each subject’s key concepts are outlined, summarized, and easily digestible. Main ideas are highlighted in neon colors and doodles in marker showcase tricky concepts. There are helpful mnemonics for shortcuts and recap quizzes for each topic. Even the pickiest and moodiest middle-schooler out there will find these helpful.

Best for Summer Slide: Workbook

Made for children in third to fourth grade, this workbook is designed to help kids keep up with schoolwork during the summer to avoid learning loss. This book helps children in all areas: writing, math, science, social studies, and reading.

Children can learn about animals’ behaviors one day while writing a mysterious short story the next. All it takes is 15 minutes a day with this book’s activities which even includes flash cards and stickers.

If you have a toddler who will be entering preschool or is in preschool, check out the Big Fun Preschool Workbook (view at Walmart). Content focuses on ABCs, sight words, counting, patterns, colors, shapes, and much more. There’s also the Big Fat Notebook Series (view at Amazon) for children in middle school. Main ideas are highlighted in neon colors and doodles in marker showcase tricky concepts.

What to Look for When Buying Educational Workbooks for Kids

Age and Grade-Appropriate

It doesn’t matter how your child learns, whether it’s remote, on vacation, or in the classroom. There are many other important factors you will want to consider, like their academic level and how they learn best. When you’re deciding on a workbook to purchase for your kiddo, you’ll need to make sure it’s on an appropriate learning level for them. 

You’ll notice that workbooks have grade-level recommendations to give parents and caregivers an idea of where the content is grade-wise. This information can be used as a guide, but it’s best for you to ultimately check reviews of the workbook and have a conversation with your child’s teacher. This will give you a better idea of where your child is at academically and if you need to go up or down a grade level for a workbook.

Fun and Engaging

While learning isn’t always the most fun thing to do, choosing an option that is engaging and kind of entertaining can help ease your little learner into it. Learning doesn’t have to be boring, so if you can find a workbook that offers more than just learning topics, your child will more than likely be willing to work in a workbook.

Some workbooks come with activities, games, exercises, and more, for children to participate in, which keeps their interest in learning high. Activities like a map quest, coloring, or fitness exercises after they complete a workbook page give them a break from the hard learning but still offer an educational experience. 

There are also other workbooks with themes, like the Reading Success for Minecrafters (view at Amazon), that incorporate your child's favorite show or game with learning concepts. When a workbook has a theme or activities that are fun and engaging, it won’t feel like they’re adding extra homework to their week.

Why Trust Verywell Family?

Maya Polton is a former marketing manager and current freelance writer who covers food, home, and parenting. She's also the mom of a 10-year-old son, 6-year-old son, and 2-year old daughter. Now that she's handling the remote learning process, academic workbooks are beginning to make an appearance at her house. She likes the idea of bite-sized content when we need it.

Was this page helpful?