A few kids grasp math concepts no questions asked, but most like and need to manipulate items with his/her hands in order to see the concept being taught, be it addition, subtraction, patterning, skip counting, division, fractions, etc. In order to understand math, you must do math! In the famous words of Confucius:
"I hear and I forget.
I see and I remember.
I do and I understand."
Hands-on math Manipulatives
Check your craft closet, junk drawer, backyard, or dollar spots for manipulatives to explore math concepts in your homeschool. We recently explored 20+ manipulatives and ways to play with them to make math fun, but here is the biggest list yet of different manipulatives to use during your math lessons!
- plastic cups
- ice cubes
- Popsicle sticks
- teddy bear counters
- wooden blocks
- foam blocks
- stuffed animals
- pom poms
- play dough (our favorite recipe)
- glass gems
- bingo chips
- deck of cards
- cotton balls 600
- rings (for your fingers)
- plastic flowers
- pine cones
- pattern blocks
- mini erasers
- google eyes
Math Activities with Manipulatives
Now with this list handy, go search the house and stop by a few stores to stock up on supplies to make math fun! Here's just a few ideas to get those hands busy doing math!
- Spend time talking about addition by linking paperclips, adding wiggly eyes to a monster, or by gathering nature items!
- Make 2D and 3D shapes using play dough.
- Explore money by using real or pretend money and sort them in muffin tins.. or by "playing store."
- Practice tally marks with popsicle sticks.
- Skip count by two's using q-tips.
- Introduce multiplication by grouping Legos.
- Work on division with a bag of skittles or goldfish.
- Make patterns with pom poms, beads, or toy cars.
- Sort a deck of cards or clip clothespins to a ruler to learn odd and even numbers.
Have fun and get creative exploring math concepts using a variety of different manipulatives!