Manipulatives are a great tool to enhance learning and retention. There is something about putting your hands on an object that helps you remember. As I mentioned in my first post it really turns a lesson into an experience. There are lots of ways to incorporate maniplatives into a lesson. Some curricula come with them but if they don't you can always make or buy your own.
Blocks are a great way to put your hands on learning. Of course we all know about the alphabet blocks and those certainly helped Gess learn her letters. But they can also be used to learn lots of things. Here is Gess learning her books of the Bible. All they did here was write the books on the blocks. Arranging them in order was a fun way to practice.
Speaking of alphabet blocks, the other day at the library we saw they had letters made out of cloth. You can also find puzzles that have letter and number shapes. They can be pretty cheap. Those magnetic letters and numbers can be great as well.
I found these at a garage sale, they are great to demonstrate fractions!
Unifix Cubes are fairly inexpensive and very helpful with math too.
Other things to use for manipulatives are magnets. We learned how to spell with these letters but of course you can buy magnet strips and use them for many other subjects as well.
Gess learned to tell time with this little clock.
Clothespins can be used for lots of things. They work motor skills while using them.
Cards are fun to make games or activities out of. Here is Gess using both cards and an abacus to play a game that helped her learn how to count on from a number.
Candy is another really fun manipulative. They have books to teach math skills using M&Ms, Twizzlers, Hershey's Kisses, Hershey's Bars and I am sure lots more. We sometimes used them in therapy. Here is a tasty pattern!
Toys can be used in many ways. We used them for lots of speech games. This one is "Why is it different?"
Most of the manipulatives we use are found around the house or are fairly inexpensive. I have picked tons of stuff up at garage sales as well. A few resources that come with manipulatives already are:
Handwriting Without Tears that I mentioned above uses blocks, clay, chalkboards, and sponges to teach writing.
Math U See has some great blocks and materials for teaching time and place value among others.
Touch Math is something we haven't used due the expense but some people really find it useful.
Super Duper Publications has some excellent tools you can use as well.
I am sure there are tons more. I just can't seem to afford many of them that come with all the fancy helps but that is OK because I just have fun making my own. These are just ones that came off the top of my head. There are lots of ways to add manipulatives to learning. Tomorrow my topic is Teaching With Games and I will share a few games that we play and encourage you to make up your own too. Until then be sure to see what the other members of the Crew Blog Hop are talking about by clicking on the banner below.