Top 5 Math Manipulatives That Every Child Needs

math manipulatives

When it comes to introducing math concepts to young children, they learn best when they have hands-on experience through math manipulatives. 

A study by Dr. Peggy Moch, a professor in the Mathematics department at Valdosta State University, had shown such benefit of math manipulatives where she examined student participants’ test results before and after their use of math manipulatives. After using the math manipulatives, the students’ math scores went up 10%, resulting in the children also becoming more appreciative of math and the learning experience. 

The research by Educational Teaching Aids division of A. Daigger & Company further reflects the added importance of math manipulatives, stating:

“Manipulatives help students learn by allowing them to move from concrete experiences to abstract reasoning. Manipulatives can be important tools in helping students to think and reason in more meaningful ways.” 

In adding math manipulatives to your child’s math curriculum, they can become more engaged and interested in the math they are learning. To enhance your child’s concrete understanding of math, here are five beneficial math manipulatives you can use:


1. Base 10 Blocks

Base 10 blocks are extremely useful when teaching addition and subtraction for young children. They help them visually see the change of numbers through regrouping (a.k.a. borrowing, carrying), as well as aiding them in understanding place value, operations, etc. With these visual representations of arithmetic and algebra, children can also learn to differentiate and build number sets with ease.


2. Unifix Cubes

Unifix cubes are a perfect opportunity for your child to learn early math concepts in a creative and tactile way. With their snap-on/off format, children can easily learn addition, subtraction, measurement and sequencing as they build with the cubes. This interactive method helps kids understand math concepts, count, follow base 10 rules, tackle word problems, and unleash creativity.


3. Teddy Bear Counters

Teddy bear counters’ toy-like appearance captivates children, serving as excellent tools for enhancing math skills. The bears’ vibrant colors facilitate pattern comprehension and inspire imaginative use in story problems. As versatile math manipulatives, they promote advanced activities that foster critical thinking and problem-solving skills in children.


4. Fraction Strip Tiles

Fraction strip tiles are one of the best math manipulatives to use when introducing fractions to your child. These hands-on manipulatives aid in explaining fractions to your child by facilitating comparison and differentiation of specific fractions. Children will naturally gravitate towards playing and learning with strip tiles, discovering the equivalence of fractions like 4/8 and 1/2.


5. Pattern Blocks

Pattern blocks are amazing for children to build their spatial problem-solving skills as well as their creativity! The vibrant colors and varied shapes offer endless possibilities for children to explore diverse patterns and designs, facilitating the learning of math concepts like symmetry, fractions, and angles. These math manipulatives will keep children intrigued by its visual versatility, making learning math a fun activity.


Math manipulatives greatly enhance a child’s understanding of fundamental math concepts. At MathProject, we are dedicated to helping children appreciate and improve their math skills for the better. Call us today for a free assessment at 1-844-628-4243. For more information on our math tutoring programs in Katy, Richmond, Cypress, Sugar Land, Missouri City and/or Hillcroft, check out ‘Our Programs’ Page.

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