Construct New Ideas Together and Learn Through Play

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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IQ Fit is a great way to challenge kids while building spatial reasoning skills and flexible thinking. The object is to rotate the colored pieces to fit on the board and match the challenge shown in the accompanying booklet. With 120 different puzzles, ranging from easy to expert level, this toy is great for kids of many ages. Making it even trickier is that each piece is three-dimensional and can be used in different ways…

These easy to use manipulatives simplify algebraic concepts for kids. You use the balance along with various game pieces to represent and then solve algebraic equations. Using the balance helps reinforce kids’ understanding of the equals sign meaning “same as”, as well as helps them understand what they are doing on paper to “balance” the equations and solve for the variable…

With hundreds of different challenges of increasing difficulty, Katamino offers brain teasers for all ages. It is a bit like Tetris in that you are tasked with finding ways to fit the shapes together and cover the board, but instead of using tetronimoes (shapes made of four blocks), you use pentominoes (shapes made with five blocks). The high quality wood game helps kids understand basic geometric concepts…

With cute puppies and colorful numbers, this game is sure to engage your early learner. In this game, you place one of the numbers (1-10) on one side of the scale, then count out the correct number of puppies to match and put them on the opposite side of the scale. If the scale balances, you are correct! Once your child masters number recognition and counting…

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