5 cool math manipulatives for multiplication

Last Updated on May 2, 2023 by Editorial Team

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Multiplication is one topic that the more versed you get with, the faster your calculations skills will become. Whether you are in school, college, or university, multiplication skills are needed almost everywhere, even in real-life applications. Students opting for competitive exams exactly know what we are talking about. So, it becomes quite important that kids are imbibed with good multiplication skills right from the beginning.

Math manipulative is one such product extremely useful in this aspect. Activity with multiplication manipulatives is a great way to put strong impressions of fundamentals to the students, especially kids in pre and elementary school.

Manipulatives give students a tangible asset to connect to for developing the basics of the concept. Be it gummy bears counterscalendar chart, or ubiflix cubes, they all helped us concretize the concepts of mathematical operations right from kindergarten.

Keeping this in mind, We curated a list of the top 5 math manipulatives to excel in multiplication right from the beginning. Do note that some of these manipulatives may or may not be directly made for this purpose but we highlighted some activities that can be performed in the classroom in this aspect.

1. Multiplication Bingo

multiplication bingo game math multiplication manipulatives

One of the most popular party games, bingo, has long been used as a manipulative for sight words, vocabulary, and learning facts. With the same inspiration, Multiplication Bingo is here to improve your multiplication facts. The gameplay is similar to the classic bingo but instead of words, the host asks a multiplication question, and players have to mark the answer correctly.

Each set contains 36 playing cards, over 700 chips, a caller’s mat and cards, and a sturdy storage box. Also provided is the Traditional 5 x 5 grid format that can be played in 8 ways enough to meet the needs of learners of all abilities. Perfect for small or large group play in classrooms, homes, adult education, and at celebrations too.

2. Multiplication Keys

EZ multiplication keys math manipulatives for multiplication

If you are looking for one manipulative that kids will literally beg you to buy, no doubt it is multiplication keys. It is a fun, interactive, and really unique way of learning multiplication. It is not wrong to say that this is an all-rounder package for developing a range of skills rather than just multiplication.

To play it, students have to wrap the string from the problem on the left to the answer on the right, & then turn the Wrap-ups over to see if they got it right. A set contains 10 self-correcting keys that total up to 120 multiplication facts ranging from 1×1 to 10×12.

This multiplication manipulative is quite popular as well with fairly positive reviews. Some parents say that their kids are hooked to playing it for hours and prefer it over TV. Another user says that it takes the memorization of the multiplication table to the next level.

3. Abacus

There is a reason Abacus is a favorite practicing tool for Olympiad participants around the world. Abacus is more than just a fast way of calculating numbers, it gives an efficient way of performing any mathematical operation, such as multiplication, with any size numbers.

Students get more comfortable doing advanced mathematical challenges as they practice the abacus in routine. Starting from basic-level abacus formula operations, students can climb their way to lengthy calculations. For high school students, consistent practice with the abacus gives them an edge over their competition during numerical exams. There are different types of abacus to learn about with different applications.

4. Flash Cards

Flashcards are simple and versatile tool for teaching little learners and are widely used for different classroom learning activities, especially in preschool. These can be modified into multiplication flashcards to be used as manipulatives. You can either design them yourself, print a readily available online pdf,  or purchase a goal-specific variation.

A good start is to design on your own by cutting chart paper in a shape of your choice or buy a Make your own flash card. Draw the template on the cards with a sketch or pencil.

If you decide to purchase one, then Multiplication flashcards by Think Tank Scholar will fit best your requirement. These cards are specifically designed to improve math fact fluency of  3, 4, 5 & 6-grade students.

A full set consists of 335 flashcards, including all 0-12 math facts, with multiplication tables from 0x0 to 12×12. Don’t worry if you are still unaware of how to use these, Think Tank Scholar got you covered. The pack already contains suggestions and methods for getting the maximum benefit out of it. This manipulative has received several positive reviews on Amazon with one user saying it was the only flashcard set that had all the possible math combinations.

5. Multiplication Spin

EZ multiplication spin is a unique variation of flashcard manipulative for practicing multiplication. Students have to turn the wheel to see on which number it lands. Then, they have to find the solution to the multiplication problem that comes up and lift the flap to check if it’s true.

The wheel includes +0 to +12, strategies like doubles, and several mixed practice sets. Keep the score to see how many you got right within 10 trials. Practicing daily on the wheel will help memorize multiplication facts better and ready on tips. There are alot of designs to choose from and the manipulative is made of durable material that will stay for a long time.

In Conclusion

Manipulatives are undoubtedly one of the most effective tools for teaching the concepts of multiplication. Using these tools, teachers can offer students a hands-on experience of how multiplication can be carried out using different strategies.

You may find ample tools to assist students in learning math, but it is important to pick the ones that meet your instructional goal, are easy to use, and match your students’ needs. Remember, only the right selection of manipulatives can support student learning.

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