Must Manipulate


Making math meaningful!

At Home

Anything that can be manipulated makes a good manipulative! Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Pennies, Nickels, Dimes (or if you’re rich – loonies and toonies!)
  • Chess pieces
  • Cheerios (paint them!)
  • Beads
  • Mini muffin trays for sorting
  • Pom-poms
  • Marshmallows
  • Candy
  • Paint trays for sorting
  • Lego as linking cubes
  • Measuring cups
  • Toothpicks
  • Dried beans
  • Macaroni (paint these too!)
  • Scrabble tiles
  • Puzzle pieces
  • Old game pieces
  • Egg cartons for sorting
  • Any toy you have a lot of (soldiers, Little People, dinosaurs etc.)

Virtual Manipulatives

Alas, sorry to all you i-pad/phone/mini/pod/computer users…the first two links below require java or flash, which Apple doesn’t support. That being said, some of the manipulatives may work on different browsers or, if you have a tech-savvy person in your midst – they might help you manipulate this so you can use the free manipulatives! If not, there are some paid apps that might work too!

National Library of Virtual Manipulatives

Math Manipulatives by McGraw Hill Education

Great pdf’s on how and why to use certain manipulatives

Link to pre-school manipulatives for purchase

Teacher Must-have Manipulatives

  • Counters
  • 5 and 10 frames
  • Linking cubes
  • Base 10 blocks
  • Fraction circles
  • Geoboards
  • Pattern blocks
  • Tangrams
  • Pentominos
  • Rekenreks
  • Abacuses
  • Cuisenairre rods
  • Dice
  • Geometric shapes
  • Geometric solids

Great Manipulatives for Patterning Activities

·         Lego

·         Mega blocks

·         Counters

·         Buttons

·         Fruit

·         Windows

·         Floor Tiles

·         Wallpaper

·         Songs

·         Drums


·         Unix cubes

·         Balls

·         Candy

·         Beads

·         Numbers!

·         Pattern blocks

·         Pinecones

·         Beans

·         Letters

·         Pasta


Have more suggestions? Add them in the comments below!

Have fun making math more meaningful!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s