Top 10 math manipulatives for kindergarteners

Last Updated on August 28, 2023 by Editorial Team

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Math and its scare is not something unknown to the world. Most of the early learners display reluctant behavior in acclimatizing to numbers and related operations. In such a scenario, children suffering from learning difficulties get camouflaged in the horde. Therefore, there is a need to design a uniform yet interesting pattern of guiding children that benefits all learners by promoting abstract reasoning in them. This convenience of teaching is what number sense worksheets or math manipulatives provide to the teacher or parents at home.

Math manipulatives for kindergarten promote easy learning and build early skills in arithmetic

“You cannot make people learn. You can only provide the right conditions for learning to happen.” ~ Vince Gowmon”

Manipulatives help create the right conditions for learning, as this quote points out. The learners by the way of maneuvering the blocks or cubes, beads, strips, etc. get to come closer to numbers and attain the proficiency required for their level of learning. Keeping in mind the importance of manipulatives in early learning, we’ve curated a list of the top 10 math manipulatives for kindergarteners.

Ten best math manipulatives for kindergarteners

1. Melissa & Doug Abacus

Melissa & Doug Abacus

Bring colors to the learning atmosphere of kids with Melissa & Doug Abacus.  The teacher can incline tiny tots toward these beads and show them how to count, sort, and arrange them. These beads help to gain a better understanding of number sense. Made of kid-friendly and harmless solid wood board material, this Abacus tool can be children’s learning as well as the gaming partner.

The concepts of addition and subtraction, big and small numbers, etc. can be taught with added ease to little children. The most useful contribution of this colorful abacus is in the development of logical thinking in children. With the help of a friendly nudge, the teachers can channel the thinking of early math learners in the direction of shaping and strengthening their math skills.

2. Math for Love Tiny Polka Dot

Math for Love Tiny Polka Dot

Tiny math polka dots allow the early learners to deepen their understanding of number sense. By the way of matching, arranging, and counting dots on the cards, the kids can learn about a number of basic math concepts. The teachers can help them to build strategies for solving problems given on the back of the card containing a number for polka dots.

Easy to carry anywhere, this polka dot manipulative for kindergarten offers a mind-stimulating way of knowing about numbers and basic arithmetic operations. While the ample number of cards allows for engaging a group of students, the instruction and puzzle guide helps in making the learning process interesting for children by removing monotony. Multiple puzzles allow the development of different logic and offer numerous difficulty levels to gauge the progress in learning.

3. Skoolzy Rainbow Counting Bears

Skoolzy Rainbow Counting Bears

Colorful math manipulatives that offer support for developing motor skills and early math activities like counting and adding. Kids can learn to dodge numbers by 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, and so on. Ask them to pick the color of their choice and put them in the same color bucket while counting. So, the concept of sequencing a process also becomes easy to absorb with this math manipulative for kindergarten students.

This 71 pc. set offers ample scope for stimulating the mind while engaging kids in a fun activity. Equip yourself to make the playtime more educational and help children grow arithmetic skills with engagement and perseverance.

4. Mathlink Cube Activity Set

Mathlink Cube Activity Set

It is a promising math manipulative for kindergarten students, as it allows engaging them in learning basic math in deeply indulgent material. This manipulative enhances the fun further by offering the kids an open-ended building toy.

A small kid at kindergarten level grasps the concepts of addition and subtraction by the way of attaching and detaching the cubes. The sense of assortment sharpens more with practice. This manipulative can be used to teach advanced concepts like place value, multiplication, and division, which are typically taught at levels higher than kindergarten.

5. Counting Pie

Counting Pie

Let kids identify, arrange, count, and learn addition, subtraction, and much more with this counting pie. This manipulative for kindergarten comes with multiple benefits. First, it helps improve object and number identification abilities.

Second, kids can learn adding and subtracting by putting fruit toys in and out of the pie, without knowing the skill of writing numbers. Third, the act of using tongs promotes motor skills in the child. You can engage children in a constructive manner and teach them early math as well in a fun way.

6. Magnetic Ten Frames 

Magnetic Ten Frames

Make single-digit addition and subtraction interesting with this math manipulative for kindergarten kids. Number sense building with the support of colorful dots and chalkboard allows users to create an environment conducive to easy learning. It is a multi-purpose manipulative as the frames are nothing but a whiteboard.

Apart from learning to perform operations, children get first-hand knowledge of arranging, counting, and identifying numbers. This manipulative is a remarkable tool for building number sense at the kindergarten level. With the help of easy maneuvering, children engage deeply and develop a liking for numbers and feel inclined to try various combinations. This highly durable play cum learning material can help you learn the concepts at levels higher than kindergarten as well.  

7. Two-sided counters

Two-sided counters

Unleash the power of manipulatives for kindergarten and let children explore them deeper, eventually driving them towards better learning in the process. This math manipulative for kindergarten serves as a teaching support and activity time play material as well. It enables a clear understanding of concepts like addition, subtraction, etc. at the kindergarten level.

The sorting skills leading to improvement in logical thinking can be developed in a fun-filled manner with these two-colored foam chips. Trusted by millions of teachers and parents across the world, this manipulative delivers better ease than that provided by a textbook approach to teaching.

8. Pattern Blocks

Pattern Blocks

Induce easy learning in kindergarten kids of 4+ age with pattern blocks. These blocks offer a playful introduction to geometrical shapes to the kids at the early learning stage. Children with the help of sorting and matching can develop shape intelligence better by engaging each other in a simple matching game.

Ideal for both classroom teaching and homeschooling, these blocks, about 250 in number, allow organizing group activity to create a collaborative learning environment for the child. With the help of strategy sharing, the kids internalize the geometry basics and enjoy building early math skills.

9. Learning links

Learning links

A large bunch of kid-friendly links comes packed in a tote bag that offers an easy storage solution. This math manipulative for kindergarten allows learning sequencing, patterning, and performing arithmetic operations like adding. The improvement in motor skills offers added advantages to the users of these learning links.

Children can use them as play material under the guidance of a teacher or parent to build early math intelligence. A large number of links of various colors offer ample practice material for organizing group activities. An e-book is also provided to get multiple puzzle ideas to challenge the children.

10. Hundred activity play mat

Hundred activity play mat

Let dice do the job of dictating digits to make a two-digit number and kids display their understanding by enclosing the corresponding number on the play mat using a colorful frame. This is an ideal education-cum-play material that offers an interesting math manipulative for kindergarten.

It is a play mat that will continue to prove its utility when kids need to go deeper into number sense. Perfect for learning place value, two-digit numbers, and the concept of dodging numbers, this manipulative is a must-have for your activity material collection.

Best strategies to use math manipulatives for kindergarten

Common strategies that teachers can follow for familiarizing kids with manipulatives are:

  1. Discussions,
  2. Chart preparing
  3. Manipulative handling guidance, and
  4. Encouraging kids to arrange and place manipulatives on the designated shelves in the classroom.

These strategies help the teachers introduce the manipulatives as learning materials to kids. To ensure correct usage, they can also set the rules for using and sharing. It further helps in avoiding chaos and directing the classroom environment toward a constructive learning process.

Concluding Thoughts

Math manipulatives are excellent tools to introduce little learners to early math concepts. Besides developing arithmetic understanding, manipulatives also help improve motor skills in children while they use them during the learning process. The use of manipulatives should not be restricted to the classroom. Parents, too, can get a few to support their child’s learning at home.

It would be a good idea to discuss which manipulatives the teacher is using in the classroom. Having similar tools at home will help reinforce the learning from school and prevent confusion for the child. We hope our list has provided you with enough choices to purchase a selection of math manipulatives to support math learning in early learners.

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