Are your children struggling to understand various math concepts? Make math fun and engaging for your homeschooled kids with these must-have math manipulatives!
In this article, you’re going to discover the best tools to help your kids learn and succeed at math.
- See helpful lists of math manipulatives that you can buy on Amazon.
- Watch videos to help you understand how to use manipulatives to help your kids with math.
- Listen to our HomeSchool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast episode to learn more about math manipulatives.
- If you’re looking for math curricula, visit this companion article.
- For fun math games, see this blog post.
Whether you’re an unschooler looking for fun ways to help your kids improve their math skills or you use a traditional homeschooling curriculum, research shows that manipulatives will help students of all ages retain what they learn better while deepening their understanding of math.
What Are Math Manipulatives?
If you’re wondering what the definition of a math manipulative is, you’re not alone. A math manipulative is simply a tool, object, or toy that you can use to help your child learn mathematical concepts.
Why Use Math Manipulatives?
While some kids can grasp math concepts with basic math lessons and worksheets, others need to see and do arithmetic to develop their math skills. If your child is a struggling learner, you’ll definitely want to use educational toys, games, and math manipulatives. In fact, research shows that kids have better retention when using manipulatives to improve their math skills.
Use Math Manipulatives to Help Your Child Learn More Easily
If your child is struggling with math, manipulatives are a must! Watch this video to learn how to make better use of manipulatives.
Basic Math Manipulatives
If your children are elementary age, most of their math can be done with basic math supplies like a piece of paper, graph paper, pencil, dice, counting blocks, and a ruler. However, we’ll also share other concrete manipulatives like play money, analog clocks, and more.
Whether you need physical manipulatives to help with math lessons, you lean toward unschooling, or you need to buy some time until you figure out what you’re doing with homeschooling, you won’t regret buying these items.
By using educational manipulatives and visual models, your child will use more of their senses and be better able to understand the abstract concepts of mathematics.
Math U See Manipulatives
Math U See blocks are one of the best investments you can make to help your child develop a deeper understanding of how math works. The number bars come in different colors that your child can use as they learn place value and how to add, subtract, multiply, or divide.
Your children will use the Math U See integer blocks for years as they learn different concepts, work on problem-solving skills, and complete math lessons. These blocks are useful whether you use the Math U See curricula, unschool your kids, or use another curriculum.
- You can get the Math U See Integer Blocks from Demme Learning here.
- Purchase the Math U See Integer Blocks Used or New on Amazon.
Video About Math U See Manipulatives
MathLink Cubes Counting Blocks
In addition to the Math U See blocks, we suggest getting the MathLink Cubes for young students. We like these counting blocks because they are inexpensive, colorful, and snap together. At the time of this writing, each color comes in a group of ten, and there are 100 color cube blocks in this package. Be sure to verify the description before purchasing!
Tenzi Dice Are the Best Dice
While you can use basic dice, we recommend the Tenzi dice. The dice are colorful, fun, and can be used in different ways.
Get a package of 100 dice that come in groups of ten colors.
- Get the Tenzi dice on Amazon!
- See other variations of the Tenzi game on Amazon!
- Check out our blog post and video about Tenzi here.
p.s. Tenzi is a fun game for kids and adults alike!
Abacus for Math
An abacus is an educational manipulative that you can use to help your child learn how to count, add, subtract, multiply, and divide.
We recommend getting one of the following abacus math tools on Amazon.
- Classic Wooden Abacus on Amazon. This abacus is intended to stand upright. We like that the beads are split into fives on each rail. This makes learning to count by five simple.
- Learning Resources 2-Color Desktop Abacus on Amazon. This abacus can lay flat on a table and it’s easy to store with other math manipulatives. This abacus also has beads that are split into fives on each rail.
Watch the video below to learn how to use an abacus.
How to Use an Abacus YouTube Video
Graph Paper Composition Notebook (Large Squares and Small Squares)
While graph paper is a simple item, it’s easily overlooked. You can teach a lot of math concepts with graph paper. For younger children, you’ll want to get paper with bigger squares. People who write with large lettering may also prefer graph paper with bigger squares.
- Basic loose-leaf graph paper.
- Graph paper composition notebook.
- Graph paper with large squares.
- Graph paper with large squares in a composition notebook.
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Playing With Money
If you want your children to understand the value of money, teach them how cash and coins work. When kids play with money, they turn the abstract idea of money into something they can see and touch.
3 Ways to Teach Your Kids About Money
- Use Real Money. It might sound crazy, but yes, use real money. Put some dollar bills and coins with your school supplies and teach your kids how money works.
- Use Fake Money. Spend your hard-earned cash to buy some fake money. The advantage of this is that your kids can really play with it.
- Play Money Games. Board games are a great way to help your kids learn about money.
Homeschool Parent Support
Did you know that we offer an ongoing program to support homeschooling parents? Learn more about how we support you in the day-to-day aspects of homeschooling your kids.
Telling Time with an Analog Clock (Analogue Clock)
How do you teach your elementary students to tell the time when there are fewer and fewer analog clocks?
You’re going to have to make a point to teach this skill. You might even need to cover all the digital clocks in your home to ensure that your kids have ample opportunity to learn how to tell time.
Here are resources that will help you teach your kids how to tell time.
- Educational Toy Clock. Younger students will enjoy playing with this clock while learning how to tell time.
- Wooden Teaching Clock. Learn to tell time and practice fine motor skills with puzzle pieces.
- Educational Clock with Flat Easy-to-Write-On Surface. This clock is easy to keep with your school supplies.
- Learning Clock for Kids Bedroom Wall. This clock is a great option for hanging in your child’s bedroom, playroom, or homeschool room.
- Practice Reading Clocks Workbook. Fill out a worksheet a day and learn how to tell time.
Math Manipulatives Kits
Here are recommended math kits you can use in unique ways while homeschooling your kids or helping them with math homework. Read the Amazon descriptions to see which kit is right for your child.
- Homeschool Manipulatives Kit for Saxon Math
- Magnetic Fraction Bars & Circles
- Wooden Tangram Puzzle Geometric Shapes with Color Tiles
HomeSchool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast Episode
Educational & Parenting Articles & Podcast Episodes for You
- Fun math-centered games for your family.
- Homeschool math curriculum.
- Learn about unschooling.
- Explore more styles of homeschooling
- Discover more educational and parenting resources on our blog.
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Learn About Unschooling
Did you know that there are different approaches to education?
If you love playing games and helping your child learn naturally, you might be interested in unschooling.