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Top 10 Math Manipulatives for Elementary Students

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Stock up on these manipulatives!

I have a bit of an addiction to Math Manipulatives. They make teaching elementary math SO much easier. You really don’t need a lot of different things in your bag of tricks to get by. These items make my cut for the top 10 math manipulatives for elementary students:

Learning Resources Rainbow Fraction Tiles with Tray: These fraction tiles are amazing. In about 3 seconds, I was able to teach equivalent fractions, greater than/less than, and basic functions. They are sturdy and amazing. I can’t imagine teaching fractions without them. Right now, the set is crazy cheap too- I bought mine for about 20 a couple months ago, and am ordering a second set “just in case”!

Hundreds Number Board: Forget flimsy number boards. This particular set comes with a thick, hard plastic grid board, and three sets of tiles. One has numbers 1-100, then there is a pack of red and blue overlay tiles. I use this to teach counting to 100, skip counting, to help figure out number patterns (you know, those tricky problems of “What comes next? 2, 5, 11, 23, ….). It also is handy for multiplication practice. It’s a real winner!

Connecting Cuisenaire Rods Introductory Set: You can teach anything with Cuisenaire rods. Get a set. Check YouTube for anything you are wanting to teach. I promise you, the answer will be there. These are GOLD.

Learning Resources Desktop Abacus: Look for an abacus (like this one) with each 5 separated by color- this way, your child can easily see sets of 5 to make basic math functions easier. I use mine to help with counting, addition and subtraction.

Judy Clock: A Judy Clock should be a staple in every elementary student’s room. It has gears so the hour and minute hands move together as a real clock would. This is the best, sturdiest classroom clock.

Base Ten Starter Set: I like this set because each value is color coded. This helps with teaching place value! 

Learning Resources View-Thru Geometric Solids: I don’t know how to teach geometry without 3D items to touch. I suppose I could have rounded up things from around the house, but it’s so much easier to just pull out this box of goodies when it’s time to teach. This set also has little plugs so you can fill them with rice to measure volume with them!

Learning Resources Attribute Blocks Desk Set in Tray: Attribute blocks are good for patterning, sorting, and more.

Melissa & Doug Pattern Blocks and Boards: These double as math manipulatives, and toys. We use them to help calculate area, to make pictures, and for learning about 2D shapes.

Baby Bear Sorting Set: We use our counting bears to tell math stories, for counting (of course), simple math and sorting. These are well loved, and often show up as extras in imaginative play.

 Feed My Addiction- What are YOUR favorite math manipulatives?

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