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 help your child understand math in a more concrete way, here are five math manipulatives you can use for their math learning benefit:


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 length and volume, allowing them 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. It’s a simple yet fun and interactive way for children to understand foundational math concepts, practice counting, base 10 rules and visually acting out word problems – all while bringing their creativity out with the cubes’ ability to become 3D objects.

3. Teddy Bear Counters

The toy-like appearance of teddy bear counters instantly intrigue children into playing with them, becoming great tools to help children with their math skills. The colourful aspects of the bears allows them to understand and create patterns, as well as motivating them to use their imagination when placing them in the context of story problems. As one of the most versatile math manipulatives, these bears can also be included in more complex math activities to motivate your child to use their critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills, etc.

4. Fraction Strip Tiles

Fraction strip tiles are one of the best math manipulatives to use when introducing fractions to your child. As hands-on tools, these math manipulatives help to explain the concept of fractions to your child as they can compare and differentiate certain fractions. Children will become naturally drawn to playing and learning with these strip tiles, as they can explore and discover how fractions like 4/8 and 1/2 are the same amount! 

5. Pattern Blocks

Pattern blocks are amazing for children to build their spatial problem-solving skills as well as their creativity! Their vibrant colours and various shapes make options endless for children to discover different patterns and designs, learning the math concepts of symmetry, fractions, angles, etc. along the way. These math manipulatives will keep children intrigued by its visual versatility, making learning math a fun activity.


With math manipulatives, a child’s math learning experience gets drastically enhanced as they see and genuinely understand how foundational math concepts work. At Math Project, 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 Mississauga, Brampton and Oakville, visit Math Project.

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The Effectiveness of Manipulatives in the Elementary School Classroom –
Edx Education Four Color Plastic Base Ten Set – in Home Learning Manipulative for Early Math – Set of 121 – Teach Kids Number Concepts, Place Value and Volume –
Learning Resources Early Math MathLink Cube Activity Set, Math Cubes, Early Math Skills, 115 Pieces, Ages 4+ –
NEOROD Rainbow Counting Bears with Matching Sorting Cups, Number Color Recognition STEM Educational Toddler Preschool Math Manipulatives Toy Set of 90, 2 Tweezers, 2 Dices, 12 Cards, Container –
Simply Magic 166 PCS Magnetic Fraction Tiles & Fraction Circles – Math Manipulatives for Elementary School – Fraction Magnets & Resources – Fraction Strips & Bars – Magnetic Learning Resources –
Edx Education Plastic Pattern Blocks – in Home Learning Manipulative for Early Geometry – Set of 250 – Shape Recognition, Symmetry, Patterning and Fractions – Ages 4+ –

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