Top 11 manipulatives to enrich child math skills

What are math manipulatives?

Maths manipulatives are objects that provide children hand on experience of maths concepts. These objects help to make abstract concepts more real by letting children touch math ideas, thus making maths come alive. Manipulatives can be bought from a shop, you can build them yourself or they can be found around the home. The manipulatives range from Unifix cubes, Numicons, bottle caps or even Skittles.

How manipulatives help children?

The use of mathematics manipulatives was often justified on the basis of the ancient proverb:

I hear and I forget … I see and I remember … I do and I understand

Research has proved that manipulatives are a very useful tool to make children understand the concepts of maths. According to Mississippi State University research paper using manipulatives to teach elementary mathematics

Children who use manipulatives in specific mathematical subjects are more likely to achieve success than students who don’t have the opportunity to work with manipulatives

Manipulatives help students at all levels and of all abilities. Research has also shown that manipulatives tend to work better with children who are low achievers, have learning disabilities or have EAL difficulties. Manipulatives can help from counting to place value, fractions to percentages etc.

Top 11 maths manipulatives

Manipulatives that you can buy easily

  1. Numicons
  2. Unifix cubes
  3. Base Ten Blocks
  4. Play Money
  5. Counters
  6. Dice
  7. Fraction Strips
  8. Geometric Solids
  9. Number Line
  10. Learning Clock
  11. White Board

Manipulatives that are available at home

  1. Skittles
  2. Pasta
  3. Bottle caps
  4. Buttons
  5. Lego blocks
  6. Colourful pompom
  7. Rocks
  8. Shells
  9. Colourful beads
  10. Straws
  11. Coins

Activities you can do with manipulatives

Activities to do with numicons

11 Activities to do with unifix cubes

8 activities to do with Counters


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