Oooooh my gosh! One of my favorite, favorite, favorite parts of homeschooling or just… having children… is finding the best manipulatives for them. First, let’s go back to the year 1988, 5 year old Ariana in my kindergarten classroom, sitting in a circle on a colorful carpet with my classmates and my teacher brings out a huge bucket of pattern blocks and pattern cards at the end of the school day. My eyes widened in excitement! They were such unique shapes! The feel of the wood in my little hands was soothing! They fit into pretty pictures on the cards supplied! It was my favorite part of school! I never wanted pattern-block time to end. One of the very first “manipulatives” I bought when I became a mother was… you guessed it! Pattern blocks!
Since then I’ve acquired a large, very large, collection of manipulatives. I’ve had 5 children since Brooklyn… 6 different personalities, learning styles, and preferences. We’ve had dinosaur counters, animal counters, family counters, base ten blocks, Math U See blocks, dominoes, playing cards, cuisenare rods, ALWAYS pattern blocks!, foam letters, balances, abacuses, and on and on. We’ve used them on their own and we’ve used them along with a dozen different math curriculums.
Here are my and my kids’ long-term favorites. Items we frequently use, that are very educational, fun, and have longevity. For some reason half the pictures I took didn’t show up on my computer (I’ve had crazy computer problems this year!) but I’m including photos of most things and I showed most things in the video at the end of this post!
These links are all affiliate links!
First up: Counters! I have listed our favorite five but we’ve had more than the ones below!
Magnetic letters and numbers:
I don’t have images for, but use, these two items:
Magnetic ten frames and fraction sets:
Great for small motor skills or color and shape learning, lacing buttons!
Geo Boards! LOVE geo boards!
There are pattern cards available to purchase at that link but you can also print your own. I have these:
Free Uppercase Letters Pattern Block Cards
Free Number Pattern Block Cards
Free Upper and Lower Case Letter Pattern Block Cards
Base Ten/Math U See block kits, I’ve included a few because I’ve used literally at least five types of these!
A number line:
Some random fun things:
And the video where I show just a few ways I use each item: