If you had $100, what math manipulatives would you invest in?

Over the past 2 years, I have written about every kind of math manipulative imaginable.  We have explored, nesting dolls and Legos, sorting boxes and puzzles, Tangrams and dominoes.  The list goes on and on.

This got me thinking about limited budgets, limited space, and feeling overwhelmed by too many choices.  A lot of the manipulatives I have described over the past 100 or so Mondays, are really expensive.  Many of them are beautifully made and wonderful additions to any classroom, but may also be unnecessary and take up a lot of space.

How do you choose?  Which do you invest in?  The only way to truly consider this is to imagine yourself opening up your own program on a limited budget with only $100 to spend on math manipulatives.  Strip away everything you have, and which manipulatives could you not live without?  Which manipulatives have the broadest teaching and learning potential and which ones are limited?

What makes the list?math manipulatives

2 Replies to “If you had $100, what math manipulatives would you invest in?”

  1. Great question that really made me thing about those items that those children in my care gravitate toward and they are the teddy bears and pegs. The older toddler enjoys the bears because of color and size recognition. Also, family recognition is a favorite due to the different sizes. The younger children enjoy the colorful peg boards that helps with counting, colors, size and most importantly they really enjoy grasping and building upon the pegs. Whereas, the prek group enjoys designing shapes upon the peg boards.

    1. I think peg boards are really great as well. They do seem to offer endless possibilities for play. I have also seen children really use them differently as they develop. I\’ll have to look back through my files but I used to have a couple of videos of children playing with peg boards and you can distinctly see the younger children (2s) using the peg boards in completely different ways than the older 3s. I also like the family bear counters – and although they are the most popular – there are a lot of family counters that are just as good. Personally, I like the sets of dinosaur families…. great ideas Faith!

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