Home » Homeschool Curriculum Reviews » Choosing Math Manipulatives

Choosing Math Manipulatives

Here is practical help to select math manipulatives for your hands-on learner.

Curriculum Review by Harriet Yoder

You can Improvise

Rainbow Fraction Decimal TilesHomeschoolers are known for improvising hands-on math manipulatives! You don’t have to purchase plastic money because you can use real money to teach your children about dollars and cents. Bowls and different types of dried beans make great counters and sorters. Need a clock? Use a real one! You can find cheap used wind-up clocks at garage sales. Stoves, microwaves, and even coffeepots have digital clocks. Our 10-year-old son programmed the time into the coffeepot and set our coffee to brew this morning! And yes, that counts as school!

  • You don’t have to purchase plastic money because you can use real money to teach your children about dollars and cents.
  • Bowls and different types of dried beans make great counters and sorters.
  • Need a clock? Use a real one! You can find cheap used wind-up clocks at garage sales.
    • Stoves, microwaves, and even coffeepots have digital clocks.
    • When our son was ten, he programmed the time into the coffeepot and set our coffee to brew this morning! #BeforeKCups
    • And yes, that counts as school!

Sometimes It’s Easier to Purchase Hands-On Math Manipulatives

Cuisenaire Rods Small Group Wooden Set

However, sometimes you need a real hands-on math manipulative set to help your student see the math concept. We chose the sets on this page with you in mind. They are educational, practical, durable, and reasonably priced. We used most of these with our children, who usually turned a math experience into an educational fun time.

Place Value Manipulatives

Base Ten Blocks are a great way to visually teach place value. In addition, the Place Value Rods Activity Set is very visual and hands-on.

Cuisenaire Rods

These are probably the most popular math manipulatives. For just about any math curriculum, you’ll find the Cuisenaire Rods Wooden Introductory Set useful to teach number relationships.

Critical Thinking Hands-On Manipulatives

Attribute Blocks Desk Set 41575Commonly used in many math programs is the linking Snap Cubes Set of 100. Another set that is called for in math critical thinking curriculum is the Relational Attribute Blocks Set.

Hands-On Math Manipulatives for Fractions, Decimals, and Percents

Base Ten Plastic Starter SetIf your student needs help to visualize fractions, the Rainbow Fraction Tiles Activity Set is a good choice. We like the set with the tray for storing and displaying the tiles.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Scroll to Top