Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Math Manipulatives?

There are all kinds of things out there to "help" with math, but so far I haven't invested in much.  We do have  a set of Cuisenaire Rods that I used when I was a child.  We only use them occasionally, I'm sure if I had them easy to access we would probably use them more.  We do use other manipulatives from around our home.  Both Kent and Katy's favorites are small snack items like raisins, chocolate chips, mini-marshmallows, goldfish or bunny crackers and Cheerios.  They get to eat them after math is done :)  We also use dried beans or pasta, pennies, foam shapes, beads, small plastic animals, Legos, hot wheels cars and even stickers.  When we are ready to learn about time we have made a small clock with hands (attached by a brass fastener) or checked out a book from the library that has a clock in it.  When we want to learn about fractions we use graham crackers, and make various shapes with paper that they can play with.  When we learn about shapes we use blocks, foam shapes and items from the pantry that are the shapes we are learning about.  I'd love to hear what other types of manipulatives you use from your home, or do you have a math manipulative set?  What kind of manipulatives are your favorite for helping your children learn math?


  1. We bought the math set from Saxon when we started homeschooling, mainly because we had a new baby and limited time. I needed easy.
    We have used those things some. I wouldn't say they are a "must have." I love that you are letting the kids use real things to learn math. Some of the things that are worth buying... Hmmm... Well, I think if I had it to do over, I'd probably save my money. Cook with the kids, count eggs, let them help with shopping. Practice math facts when you play ball. That's the good stuff, I think.

  2. We use silverware and macaroni noodles. Also, like Fatima said we use real life things like finding numbers in the grocery aisles and cooking. We have a game called Heigh Ho Cherrio that the girls LOVE to play with me, and it's all about adding and subtracting and identifying numbers. We play it often! ;-)

  3. I wonder if I still have the container of buttons.

  4. My oldest is 8 yrs old. When we are at the store, just the two of us, she has fun weighing everything produce. Even if it's in a bag, already weighed! She then does some rough math and gives me an estimate on how much it will cost.
    We have a small jar of buttons, which everyone has had fun organizing, sorting and counting.
    Another big hit is an old sock full of marbles. They were my husbands when he was a kid, which makes it even more enjoyable for the kids.

  5. Stirusup, thanks for visiting. Weighing the produce is a good idea. I don't have a scale and when we have had math lessons on weight we have had to skip some of them.


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