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Puzzles, Manipulatives, and More

Toys like pattern blocks, geometric solids, or tangrams (anything concrete that can be viewed and handled by kids) allow students to construct their own understanding of mathematics. They help engage students, increasing their interest as they go. Playing with math toys involves exploration, discovery, and experimentation while encouraging discussion and communication skills. It also activates the senses— kids use sight and touch to break down concepts and make their way through problems.

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Search a list of recommended toys. I have purposely selected ones I feel are especially effective for teaching math concepts and sparking kids’ interest. And, I am continually seeking out newly released products that make math fun.

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Another great product from MindWare, this logic and strategy toy includes 50 challenges, increasing in difficulty. Choose a puzzle card and place the tiles on the board so that the marbles land at the correct targets at the bottom. As the puzzles become more difficult, the cards include fewer tiles to get you started…

This puzzle, which includes ten tiles, challenges you to connect the tiles in order to build loops of different shapes and colors. With many different solutions, Tantrix can provide hours of experimentation and creativity…

With this cookie jar filled with cookies, children can develop their counting, subitizing (seeing how many are there without counting), and number recognition skills. Each cookie has raised chocolate chips so children can easily count the number of chocolate chips on the cookie. On the bottom side of each cookie is the matching numeral…

In this logic and spatial reasoning game, you must tackle the challenge cards to get the marble through the maze. There are 60 challenges in total, ranging from beginner level to expert; also included are a game grid, nine towers, one target piece, and three marbles. The toy not only builds logic and reasoning skills, but also planning skills as children take on each challenge…

Featured Articles

Why Do Teachers Use Manipulatives To Teach Math?

Why Do Teachers Use Manipulatives To Teach Math?

As parents, you may have noticed less emphasis on algorithms and memorization in mathematics and more emphasis on "sense-making" since the time when we were kids in elementary school. A big piece of this process is using manipulatives-- toys that are used as teaching...

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Why Use Children’s Literature to Teach Mathematics?

Why Use Children’s Literature to Teach Mathematics?

Children love stories. Parents and teachers can take advantage of this by using literature as a vehicle for teaching math and consolidating understanding. Children's literature can highlight concepts, act as a springboard to new math learning, stimulate discussion, or...

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