Monday, May 21, 2012

In Which We Talk Manipulatives

...Math manipulatives, that is. Not manipulative people. Although goodness knows I have some opinions on that front.

Manipulatives are things that help demonstrate math concepts. Almost anything can be used (buttons, dried beans, pieces of string cut to specific lengths) but these are some of my favorite products that you can buy. Side note: this stuff is not just for homeschoolers. Any child would benefit from having a few of these in his or her toy stash.

1.Wood Cuisenaire Rods Set. One big benefit of being second generation homeschoolers: our set up these was passed down to us by Gram. Yes, I used these wooden rods back when I was in school. You can do so many things with these (adding, subtracting, building, and lots of different games)

2. Plastic Base Ten Number Concepts Set. This is a must when you start talking about bigger numbers. These help you visualize how many tens in a hundred or how many hundreds in a thousand. My one complaint is that the Thousand Cube is hollow. It ought to feel heavy to demonstrate just how many ones make up a thousand.

3.Plastic Pattern Blocks (Set of 250) This is the exact set we have and my girls get these out almost every day. Sometimes I think about adding this wooden set to our stash:

Melissa & Doug Pattern Blocks and Boards but we haven't yet. This set also comes with pattern cards for the kids to fill in but that's not really necessary.

4.Learning Resources Attribute Blocks Set in Tray . These get almost as much play as our pattern blocks. With my oldest I made our own attribute blocks out of construction paper but this set adds another level because you can also sort by thickness (each shape comes in two different sizes, three different colors, and two different thicknesses).

5.Learning Wrap Ups Math Intro Kit. We only have the multiplication wrap-up but my oldest loves to review her "times" facts with this. (So much more fun than flashcards)

6.Learning Resources Big Time 12-Hour Student Clock. You can make your own paper clocks, but this one is nice because the hour hand and the minute hand are different colors. There are several great options out there. I particularly like the ones that have the minutes (counting by fives) under the hour.

7.Learning Resources Geoboard 11 X 11. You can add numbers with stickers to make a coordinate plane or you can just make shapes. My little girls enjoy just putting rubber bands on in different designs, which is fine motor skill practice.

8.Melissa & Doug Play Money Set. Our girls love this set. ("Playing store" is a favorite game around here)

9.8-Piece Deluxe Stainless Steel Measuring Cup and Measuring Spoon Set . Measuring cups and spoons are easily found at a thrift store (and, depending on the brand, are not really that expensive at Wal-Mart or Target). Fun for measuring water, rice, sand, or whatever. I prefer my girls to have their own so they're not constantly "borrowing" mine but whatever. Cooking together is some of the best "fraction" talk ever. You might consider getting each child a measuring tape too. I'm not sure why, but kids love to measure things. (I draw the line at measuring mom, though. Not.gonna.happen.)

10.Learning Resources Fraction Tower Activity Set, 51 Cubes. Speaking of "fraction" talk - these linking cubes are excellent for helping a child visualize fractional equivalents. We don't actually own this set but my mom does (there's that 2nd Generation Homeschool thing again) and the girls enjoy playing with it at her house.

So, did I miss one of your (or your child's) favorites? Do tell in the comments!

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1 comment:

MacKenzie said...

As another 2nd generation homeschool (well, can I say that yet or do I need to wait until Lucy is actually school age?) I already have cuisenaire rods, lots of wrap-ups, something like #4 that I am too aware of because it never stays in the box plus some other linking block thing. Even though I used most of them (some are "new" from my younger brother) I still need to read more to figure out exactly how to use them but I'm so glad I don't have to buy them. Craig thinks that will save us money but what he doesn't realize is that I will just reallocate that money to other curriculum/manipulatives.

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