What are math manipulatives?
A math manipulative is an educational term for anything you can get your fingers around that you can count or measure with.
Why use math manipulatives?
They can help a child understand a math concept by visualizing what is being taught rather then just looking at numbers. They are a way to explore math beyond an abstract thought on a sheet of paper.
Here are a list of manipulatives that come in handy throughout the elementary years:
1. Base ten blocks, or counting blocks are all the same color, generally. The child focuses on the size of the blocks and can easily identify between a ten and a hundred. They can learn to add and subtract by learning the decimal system, which is units, tens, hundreds, thousands etc…
2. Cuisenaire rods start with a 1 cm. cube and gradually advance to 10cm with each length changing colors. The child learns how many each color stands for and can add, subtract, multiply, divide, do fractions etc. with these rods.