Math Manipulatives and Supplies to Help Teach Math at Home

Teaching your student math at home can be so much fun!

It really is awesome to watch them learn and grow, and to see them demonstrate their thinking. One of the best ways to teach students new math concepts and have them physically show you their math skills is through manipulatives.

Manipulatives are physical objects that students can use to demonstrate and represent mathematical thinking. They provide an opportunity for them to model their problem solving process. There are SO many great manipulatives out there that can help your student learn math, especially if they are very hands on and benefit from visual representations. I have gathered some helpful manipulatives and math supplies that can be good to have around the house for teaching math.


These place value blocks are a great tool for teaching young students about place value. They can also be really helpful when teaching addition and subtraction as a visual way to represent what is happening. Especially when regrouping is involved, seeing where the borrowing comes from helps students conceptualize it and retain it.

Math cubes are very helpful for students to use to build physical models of the math they are learning. Whether they’re working on counting, addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, measurements, or trying to visually represent a situation in a word problem they’re working on, their thought process can be modeled easily with these blocks that snap together when needed.

Fraction tiles are an awesome way to help students visually understand fractions and how they are related to each other. Fractions are often difficult for many students, but having this physical representation of them can really help them make sense.

Number lines are a nice way for students to be able to visualize addition and subtraction, and having a dry erase number line is helpful so your student can practice quickly and easily.

These Multiplication Pop It Boards can be really helpful for visual and kinesthetic, hands-on learners learning their multiplication tables. They are also great for students with anxiety, ADHD, and any students who benefit from fidget toys and objects.

These foam two-color counters can come in handy for counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, they can be used as game pieces on game boards, and they come especially in handy when learning about positive and negative numbers (one color for each type of number).

Plastic pattern blocks can be really great for teaching basic geometry, patterns, shapes, sizes, colors, symmetry, fractions, measurements, shape attributes, and much more! Students will benefit from having the physical shape in front of them that they can observe and work with.

If you’re teaching your student(s) about money and don’t want to give them real money to learn with, having some play money around can be helpful. It can also be used when learning about addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. It often helps to relate those topics to real world applications.

These geometric solids are very helpful when teaching different geometric shapes and their attributes, and to help visualize surface area and volume. It’s helpful for students when they can see these shapes in 3D because it can be really tricky for some to picture them based on a 2D drawing.

School Supplies

A compass and protractor will come in handy when learning about basic geometry. Students will need these tools to be able to draw and measure angles, draw circles, and do geometric constructions in the middle and high school levels of geometry.

Having a whiteboard around is really helpful because it makes working out problems quick and easy, and students often like getting to draw on the board. It’s also helpful to find one like this with a graph on the back to help create accurate graphs when learning about the coordinate plane.

A scientific calculator is great for students to have around during elementary and middle school math. It’s good to have one with square root and exponent capabilities so when they get to those topics, they will already have a calculator that can help them do those kinds of calculations.

Once students start taking high school level math classes, a graphing calculator can be very helpful, especially if they plan on taking pre-calculus and calculus, or the SAT, ACT, or AP math exams.

Hopefully this list of math manipulatives and school supplies will help make teaching math easier and more fun for you and your student this school year! If there are any other things you think I should add to this list, leave me a comment and let me know!

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