I’ve always believed that early math learning does not require a formal math curriculum. When my children were young, we had lots of fun exploring math concepts through manipulative play. Let me share a few of my favorite math manipulatives.
1. Every homeschool math explorer needs a balance. With simple play, understanding of the concepts of balance, heavier, lighter, more, less and even will easily become clear. Most of my other favorite manipulatives have been weighed in this balance.
2 & 3. Colorful counters. The foam cubes(2) were purchased in a large pack for a dollar a great value! I’ve also seen wooden ones that are very nice. The rubber animal counters (3) are just plain fun. A set of counters is great for weighing, patterning, matching, one-to-one correspondence, sorting/classification and beginning addition/subtraction.
4. Geoboard. Creating designs on a geoboard requires more critical thinking than one may realize. I’ve noticed that even my middle & high school aged children have not outgrown enjoying our set of geoboards.
5. Pattern blocks. I inherited these transparent pattern blocks from a teacher friend many years ago. These are invaluable! You can find lots of great pattern block printables that your children will enjoy for many years.
6. Dominoes. You can make up matching games using dominoes, work on one-to-one correspondence and practice beginning addition. Don’t forget to line them up and knock them over!
7. Connecting cubes. These are my favorites for patterning, non-standard measurement and learning to count by fives and tens.
Looking to add to your collection of math manipulatives? Try checking the dollar store and used homeschool materials websites. Also, try searching for “printable math manipulatives” – there are lots available. If you have a handy/crafty friend or relative, they can make you a set of wooden counters, as well as a geoboard.
Do you have some math manipulatives that are your favorites? Leave a comment and tell me about how you use them in your homeschool.