# Using Manipulatives to Teach Elementary Mathematics | Free Printables

When you walk into a first-grade classroom, you expect to see little children counting objects, Using Manipulatives to Teach Elementary Mathematics, or drawing pictures to solve a math problem.

We encourage our little ones to explore math concepts using more than just a formula. If a first-grade teacher said she wasn’t going to let her children use any type of manipulative in math…we would be shocked. We could come up with tons of reasons why she should. Why? Because we know that using manipulatives in math has been researched thoroughly and they help our kiddos.

Using Manipulatives to Teach Elementary Mathematics allows children to develop a deeper understanding of abstract math ideas. They provide a common language for students and teachers to communicate with. And guess what? When math is more engaging, research shows mathematical ability increases.

## Unique Ideas for Using Manipulatives in Maths

Number lines, Cuisenaire rods, fraction strips, blocks or stacks, base ten blocks (also known as Dienes or multi-base blocks), interlocking linking cubes (like Unifix), construction sets (like Polydron and Zometool), colored tiles or tangrams, pattern blocks, colored pencils, and colored paper are some examples of common manipulatives in math.

When students are engaged, they learn better, and using manipulatives in maths in the classroom makes it simple for kids to become excited. That’s why I come up with innovative ideas to teach math in the classroom using manipulatives.

### Dice Playing with Manipulatives

Who doesn’t like to roll dice? The style of play and the surprise make learning more enjoyable right away.

Two opposing teams compete in the game. Give one group the 1-6 dice and the other group the 7-12 dice.

Each team member rolls a die, and the first student to scream out the correct total of the two dice added wins a point. If a team scores 10 points, they win, and the game restarts.

### Fraction Tile Magnets as Manipulatives

Students are fond of colorful tile magnets. It is also easier to carry anywhere as it has magnets; students can’t lose them.

So I am thinking of playing a game with our children in the classroom. It is called “Shopping with Fractions.”

Place three cookie sheets and three sets of fraction magnets in a specific area of our classroom. The students are the clients, and teachers should assume the role of the cashier. Post images of various things with fractional pricing from the shop. The students must multiply several items to a specified total. They can alternate acting as the cashier after they thoroughly grasp the concept.

### Sand Hourglass for Time Management

Sometimes our children can’t manage their time in the examination hall. So I think I can teach my students time management through a game.

The one-minute sand timer can be used in a variety of educational activities. This one is also offered in 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-, and 10-minute versions. Teachers can play any game with students, like chess, Ludum Dare, etc. Students must have been divided into groups.

They have until the sand runs out on the timer to make their move. The game becomes “beat the timer,” and the kids have little trouble finishing it.

### Money as Manipulatives

Students always like to play with money. It’s helpful for our kids to have the right visuals.

Teachers can play the game by making a store where many toys are kept. Students are the cashier and teachers play the role of customers.

For example, a student has a doll which is 50 cents. A teacher asked her the price and gave her 50 cents.

### Mini Time Checker Activity

With a clock in front of kids, learning about and knowing time is much simpler. Miniature clocks have surfaces that are writing and erasable.

Parents and teachers give their kids mini clocks and ask them to write the time.

### Playing Dominoes War

Children love to play in a dominoes-based game of “Number War.”

All we have to do is set the dominoes in the center, face down. One domino is rotated by each child. The dominoes are given to the child who has the highest total.

We could also make it a challenge involving addition or multiplication. The kid who has all the dominoes at the end is the winner.