Numbers can be tricky for some! Here are 5 creative ways to teach kids math with manipulatives that makes it easy to learn!
When teaching my kids, number sense is something I am very passionate about!
I want my kids to not only be able to recognize number symbols, but to visualize the value of them. Sometimes young children have trouble understanding the difference. They can commit number symbols and operations to memory, but they don’t fully understand the quantities those things represent.
To help teach this concept, I normally use base ten blocks or money but I have found something even BETTER! Newmero Bricks!
They are amazing for building numbers and their representation. At first, these bricks seemed like simple stacking blocks with numbers. I realized they can be used in really creative ways to teach my kids math!
On their website they also have a free pdf manual with tons of fun games and learning exercises for kids. These games and exercises are awesome because you can combine activities and the manual is super easy to read making setting up very simple. I can let my children help with set-up which just adds to their fun!
Click the link to get the PDF Manual emailed to you! You will need to scroll to the bottom of the page to see where to enter your email. I have LOVED the free manual!
5 Creative Ways to Teach Math with Manipulatives
Activity #1: Find the Fish!
Math with manipulatives is so simple for number symbol recognition, but can also evolve into counting.
You start by having the kids pick out all the yellow Newmero Bricks. This is a simple way for me to delegate tasks to kids. This peaks their interest even more and preps their mind for learning/having fun.
Place the bricks out onto the floor. That pile then becomes our “pond”! The kids “fish” for the brick by choosing from the “pond”. They’ll say what number they see on their brick. If one of my kids is having trouble with saying which number they see, I’ll just have them count the knobs on the top!
To make the game more challenging for my older kids we will use more than just the yellow bricks, we add different colored bricks into the “pond” to represent the hundreds and thousands and as they fish they’ll add up their numbers.
If they get stuck, the knobs are always there to help them count! Isn’t that super fun? If you want to check this one out in action, check out the video below!
Activity #2: Who is Largest?
I like to call this “I am greater than you, I am less than you”.
This game you can change up in a lot of ways! I have a couple variations that my kids love and make this game more fun for them! We use mathematical language by saying “I am greater than you” if they have a greater number and “I am less than you” if their number is smaller.
You’ll find that your children are highly intelligent and will easily understand the proper language with instruction or explanation. We play this game in a circle using partners on the left and right and each child gets to say whether they are greater or less than the person on the right or left.
We also love to make shark or alligator hands and eat the bigger Newmero Brick number of the person on their left or right! This all helps with understanding size, and the shark and alligator hands will help when teaching greater than and less than symbols! > <
Math with Manipulatives Activity #3: Number Bingo
Who doesn’t love a game of bingo?! It is a fan favorite in our home! When you sign up to receive the Newmero Bricks Manual it will have free bingo boards in the document. I repeat, free bingo boards! I do not know about you, but whenever I am playing bingo with my children I have to scour the internet for a blank bingo board or try to find an already done bingo boards and make it work for my activity.
The fact that they have one ready to go is perfect for me when teaching my kids at home. You can also print out the Number Bingo materials here.
This game is simple. All you have to do is get the bingo cards for your kid and lay out the Newmero Brick. I’ll usually start as the announcer, but I love to change it up by making one of my kids the announcer. Then, watch them lead with pride! If I am playing with lots of kids, I like to have crayons, markers, or even colored pencils, and when I say the number they can color their Newmero Brick on their paper!
Activity #4: At the Cash Counter
This game is SOOO much fun for me and my kiddos! To start, the kids and I run around the house grabbing items we would like to put into our home store. Each child can choose pretty much anything in the house as long as it is not a danger.
My kids like to choose each other’s toys, it’s pretty fun. Then I set up the table and line up all the “products” we gathered and I’ll act as the store owner where I decide how much each item costs. The different colored Newmero Bricks are used as their money, and each person will start with a random handful so that no one has the same amount. Now they get to go on a small shopping spree from the items we chose at the beginning! Once chosen they’ll have to count out their “money” to make sure they can afford it.
I usually let the child’s knowledge of numbers determine the price of the item; larger numbers for my older children, and smaller numbers for my younger children. Sometimes my kids work together by helping each other count, or even pooling their bricks together to buy something big!
When money or items run out I change the game up by allowing one of the children to be the store owner, or, if you’re very entrepreneurial, your children can sell items back to the store! How fun would that be?!
Activity #5: Ten Friends (I call this, Finding Friendships)
Ten Friends is all about making groups of ten using the jigsaw side of the Newmero Brick.
I lay out all of the yellow bricks and explain to my kids that we are finding friendships, not just any friendship, but a very special friendship that adds to 10. Only bricks that can add to 10 can fit perfectly together. For example if my child tries to connect a 4 brick and a 5 brick, the two bricks will not fit perfectly together. I then tell my kids to find all the special friendships.
What I love about this is my kids do not need a lot of knowledge of counting to do this task. Yes, if you know how to count this game would be easier and faster, but I love watching my kids explore the numbers as they try attaching different sides, and counting the knobs.
This is one of my favorite games because I love watching my kids explore the possibilities. Seeing how smart children are when they are able to learn for themselves is so rewarding. For changing this game up, I use the other colors and do Finding Friendships of hundreds and thousands!
Newmero Bricks for Math with Manipulatives!
There are so many fun, amazing, creative games with Newmero Bricks! This list for Homeschoolers by grade with all of the games has been awesome for me and my kids.
I am super passionate about keeping math fun and engaging. These Newmero math bricks help me do just that! I did not even mention their games for higher level math, up to algebra, solving for missing numbers and side lengths.
If you have a creative math with manipulatives activity mention it below in the comments! All of our children could benefit from fun math learning tips, tricks, and tools!