Home » Education » Playing with math manipulatives

Playing with math manipulatives

Find out how children learn simply by playing with math manipulatives.

How Children Learn by Playing with Math Manipulatives

Johnny playing with math manipulatives

We spend a lot of time playing with math manipulatives in our house. Johnny uses them in fairly traditional ways: he sorts by color, shape, and size, counts them, and makes patterns.

Emma pleased at writing her name with math manipulatives

Emma gets quite original in her math manipulative uses. Last week she told me she “made Emma”. And here is what I found:

Emma's name written out with math manipulatives

I think she was hoping to use all red blocks, but ran out. Not a traditional use of math manipulatives, but still an educational one! And there is some sorting in there: blocks for the E, triangles for the first M, then circles for the second M and the A.

Share comments and feedback below, on my Facebook page, or by tagging me on InstagramSign up for my newsletter to receive book recommendations, crafts, activities, and parenting tips in your inbox every week.

MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

11 thoughts on “Playing with math manipulatives”

  1. I am very impressed that Emma thought of making letters with those manipulatives (they are very popular here too). Anna also uses them “creatively” – she makes so many uses out of them in her pretend play – anything but counting :)
    .-= Natalie´s last blog ..Money- Money- Money… =-.

  2. Can you tell me what these are called and where you got them? Are you happy with them? We don’t have anything like this, but I sometimes think about getting them.
    .-= Jaimie´s last blog ..Self Portrait Saturday 13- September 4th- 2010- Watching Fall Blow In =-.

    1. @Jaimie – I’m not sure what they’re called, but they were from the $1 bin at Target. I do like them, they’re made of foam and nice and lightweight!

  3. Elisa | blissfulE

    I was impressed, but then I saw how she used different shapes for each letter, and WOW that is super impressive!! Great smiles from Johhny and Emma, too. :)
    .-= Elisa | blissfulE´s last blog ..Nikki plays ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ =-.

  4. Fun! I do so wish we lived closer to each other. Emma seems so much like Melody and Jessica, and we wear costumes at home for no particular reason too!
    .-= Sadia´s last blog ..Prayers =-.

  5. jeannine: waddlee-ah-chaa

    We have these manipulative too! Miss Enigma loves sorting them.
    .-= jeannine: waddlee-ah-chaa´s last blog ..5 Lessons Children Learn From Writing Thank-You Notes =-.

  6. That’s pretty impressive she wrote out her name with the manipulatives and the fact that she came up with the idea on her own!

  7. Girls are so creative. It is amazing to me that almost all boys sort just as Johnny does. I know my Joe and Jack both do too. LOVE Johnny’s attire.
    .-= Susana´s last blog ..Mama in the Middle =-.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top