Get this girl some math manipulatives

Sarah is obviously starved for some math study time. Look at what she pulled out and played with (for a good 30 minutes) this evening.

easter eggs

Perhaps other mothers wouldn’t immediately leap to the math manipulative conclusion. They might just think it sweet that their little girl has found some new toys. Some might even be grateful that the Easter decorations were out of storage and ready for use. I, however, am a homeschooling mother and my mind instantly translates these moments into school applications. In this case, preschool and kindergarten math.

Sigh, I am NOT a good kindergarten teacher. I am terrible at crafts and hands on activities. I do NOT have buckets and containers full of cool manipulatives. This site has literally 10 pages of items for sale under the math manipulatives category. I have deep envy for other homeschoolers who are gifted in this area.

looking closely

My math manipulative sense is heightened because this afternoon I was talking about math with another homeschooling mom and she mentioned how much her children are enjoying their new program (I believe it was Right Start Math) and all the creative ways it approaches math. Homeschooling moms have a perverse desire to talk about curriculum with other moms – it usually leads to some online shopping and, if you aren’t careful, a serious inferiority complex as the ‘curriculum is always more engaging on the other side of the homeschooling fence.’

Thankfully I stumbled across an article on creative (i.e. CHEAP) math manipulatives. It’s already late (I do my blogging in the evening when the distractions are in bed) but I immediately wanted to do further searching for other handmade manipulatives. I think I just like typing out the word manipulatives. It has such a great ring to it.

I have to be careful or I spend all my time reading and researching about interesting, creative curriculum choices but never actually do any teaching.


It doesn’t exactly look as if Sarah is suffering with her Easter egg manipulatives but I still might start praying for some good spring garage sales or a used curriculum sale (perfect places to pick up these type of things).

sarah pie


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9 thoughts on “Get this girl some math manipulatives”

  1. Is it possible to say “math manipulatives” ten times fast? And if so I would like to hear you say it ten times fast.

  2. Well, even as a non-homeschooling mom, I think talking curriculum is interesting. I’ve bought some of the “Draw-Write-Now” and “Explode the Code” and other learning stuff as supplements when my kids need something to do. And wouldn’t Legos made fine math manipulatives?

  3. Rachel–yes, Legos are a great idea for math manipulatives. I think they were mentioned in that article I found. Also, now that I think about it I’m not sure Sarah really cared about the math aspect of the Easter eggs but really just liked the little, tiny, interlinking nature of the toys and their bright colors. What’s a mother to do?

    The Draw-Write-Now and Explode the Code books are great. I just placed an order with Rainbow Resource (LOVE THEM!!!) for some more books. One of the best things about homeschooling is all the shopping you get to do that is totally justified. “But honey, I’m just buying school things for the children.”

  4. Samuel–you’re on! I will get working on that little project. Be sure to be looking out for a future blog with sound effects!

    Aunt Koffee

  5. I think you’re on to something, Kathy. If you protest a little, maybe she’ll be more inclined to learn as much as she can without you!


  6. Kristine – reverse psychology! Excellent idea. Do that eventually lead us to un-schooling? I love the idea of unschooling but I’m afraid at our house it would lead to hours of playing Pirate (the computer game, not dress up) and reading Garfield and Archie comic books. Not a real shining example of homeschooling.

  7. Ahhhh reverse psychology . .. it’s something my father used on us many times as we were growing up!

  8. I have SO many math manipulatives… hey that is a FUN word to type (LOL)…. I’m with you on having so many fun things it’s hard to just sit down and “teach.”

  9. Kathy thanks so much for the link with the article about CHEAP math manipulatives. I am just starting Saxon 1 with my 6 year old and this will information be very beneficial to us! I love the thoughts you expressed about how we as homeschooling moms see everything as a learning opportunity. Thanks so much for sharing!!!!!!!!

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