Teaching a strong foundation in Math to young children, is priceless. I want my students to feel capable and confident when exploring Math. One of the best ways to do that is with Math Manipulates! I have “structured activities” with manipulatives as well as “free choice” time that allows the kiddos to explore, create and discover on their own! Here is a list of my top favorite math manipulatives that I can’t live without!
Number 1 – Teddy Bears! Who doesn’t love teddy bears right, especially at the age of 5!?! These little guys are great for counting, one to one correspondence, weighing on a scale, and acting out word problems.
Number 2 – Pattern Blocks! My littles are fascinated with pattern blocks. They love to copy designs and they love making designs of their own. This is such a popular choice that I created a product in my TPT store that has pattern block picture cards you can laminate. It is a great way for my students to practice shape identification and manipulation. Click here to check it out!
Number 3 – Circle Builders! Let their imaginations run wild! Circle builders are so fun to play with. My students can design whatever their little hearts desire. This is a great option for the kiddos that are always playing some sort of imaginary game in their minds. Give them the box of these math manipulatives and they can make it come to life!
Number 4 – Magnet Shapes! The concept of 3-D shapes can be hard for littles (and most adults!), but these magnet shapes help them form and discover 3D shapes on their own. Building a cube, prism or pyramid becomes a lot more exciting when magnets are involved!
Number 5 – Wooden Blocks! These little blocks are great and usually don’t get a lot of credit. But my students love them! They build designs and try to copy one another, they build towers to see how tall they can go and they practice great spatial reasoning without even knowing it! (I like to think I’m tricky!)
Number 6 – Unifix Cubes! No math manipulative list would be complete without this staple! Unifix cubes are amazing for patterning, measuring, counting, word problems… the possibilities are endless. And there is just something about snapping those little cubes together that kids love!
There you have it, my favorite 6 math manipulatives! These are always accessible in my classroom. I try to give my students free time with them at least twice a week. What a great way to learn through play!
Happy Teaching Birdies!