Category Archives: math manipulatives

Mid Week Freebie- Star Wars Multiplication

Big Brother has been struggling to remember his multiplication facts so I let him make this “cheat sheet” of multiples. It is Star Wars themed … therefore a win.

I had him put together the sheet himself. He cut flaps on the main sheet and then glued just the side where the characters are to a plain white sheet. He then proceeded to fill in the various multiples.

star wars


Feel free to Print out a copy of Star Wars Multiples for yourself! Click on the link BELOW the image for the printable version.

star wars math Click for Printable Version —->> Star Wars Math

I’m curious. What are your tricks of the trade for teaching multiplication? What games, songs, methods do you use? Comment below and let me know!

Clip Art: Characters were Desinged by Dorky Prints. The light sabers were designed by Big Brother himself.

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Filed under free, homeschool, math, math manipulatives, printable

Freebie Friday- Clock Minutes Printable

Do your children struggle with understanding the minutes on a clock? My son is having the hardest time remembering that the 1 on the clock is the same thing as 5 minutes. I mean… he can count by 5s and all that… he’s just having a hard time making the connection. This week in Math U See, he’s been working on the minute hand, so I threw together this printable to help reinforce what he’s working on.

I hope you find it helpful!

Clock Minutes

¬†Click to Download ————–>Clock Minutes

FYI: Here’s what the completed activity should look like:

I do love feed back so let me know if you like/ used this week’s free printable!!!

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Filed under free, homeschool, math, math manipulatives, math u see, printable

Preschool Busy Bag Ideas with Free Printable

I periodically post the activities I have for Little Sis. I have to rotate them often to keep her attention. I have a stash of busy bags that she can pull out while the big kids are doing school.

Here are a couple of activities I added this week:


In this activity, she uses clothes pins and playing cards. She places a clothes pin on each diamond on the card and then counts. This helps with number recognition and 1 to 1 correspondence.


I have seen this activity on Pinterest, but I couldn’t find any templates for the block patterns. If you scroll down, I made a template of my own that you are welcome to use.


She uses duplo blocks to match the patterns.

Duplo Pattern Template Click here to Download——-> Duplo Pattern Template

The template is in black and white so you can customize to the blocks you have. Enjoy!

Linking up with:

Hip Homeschool Hop Button


Filed under busy bag, free, hip homeschool hop, homeschool, math, math manipulatives, patterns, pinterest, printable

More Do It Yourself Math Manipulatives

Geoboards are great for exploring shapes- how they are formed and how they work together. Most elementary classrooms have geoboards included in with their math supplies.

You can pick up geoboards at your local school supply store, find them on ebay… Or, if you are on a tight budget and have some scrap wood at home…make it yourself.

I happen to have a husband who is very handy at building things and has an ever increasing pile of scrap wood in the garage. He was happy to oblige when I presented the geoboard project to him.

How to make your own Geoboard:
– Cut a piece of plywood in a 10 x 10 square.
– evenly space 25 nails (my husband did screws because they would be more durable) in a 5 x 5 square.

That’s it! Give the board to your child with a handful of rubber bands for some open ended exploration.

We’ve talked about how you can start with a triangle or a square and stretch it to a rectangle or trapezoid or parallelogram, etc. The kids have really enjoyed playing with their boards- this morning, they turned them into “guitars” and made “beautiful music.”

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Filed under geoboard, math manipulatives, rubber bands

Greater Than, Less Than

Do you remember those number cards we used a couple of weeks ago for number recognition? Well, pull them out for our lesson on greater than and less than. This week in math, we are working with numbers again… Mostly comparing numbers and amounts.

All I did for visual aids was pull out the number cards and the beans and drew the greater than/ less than symbol on a card. We practiced by making piles of beans, determining which had more and placing the correct symbol between them. We also used the number cards by placing two cards on the table, putting the correct symbol between them and reading the “number sentence” that we had made. “16 is greater than 1.”

The monkey boy got the hang of the symbols pretty quickly and had no problems with the tasks. Today, Little Sis sat in on the lesson. For her, I drew teeth on the symbol cards and told her my “chompers” always want to chomp the bigger number. She understood for the most part… But she’s three… So, I am not expecting her to fully get it.

They were so excited about math today, they made their own “chomper” cards to use when practicing greater than and less than.

Materials for this lesson cost less than a dollar!

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Filed under beans, cards, greater than, less than, math manipulatives

Number Fun

At the suggestion of the My Father’s World curriculum, I made a set of cards numbered 1-100. Because I didn’t have enough index cards of one color to do them all, I did even numbers on blue and odd on pink.

We have been using these cards this week with our math lessons on number recognition.

Here are three activities that are very easy to implement:

1. Number War- divide up the cards between the players. Everyone puts their pile face down in front of them. At the same time, everyone puts the top card face up. Whoever has the highest card wins the stack. Continue until all the cards have been played.

**you can vary the amount of cards you use to accommodate the age you are teaching (we only used the cards 1-20 this week)

2. Guess My Number: a person gives clues as to what number they are thinking of. The other(s) must guess.

Clues can be simple:
“My number is 1 more than 4”

Or a little tougher:
“My number is what you get when you take 6 away from 10”

3. Bean Count: give you child some of the number cards and a pile of beans- have him or her match the number of beans with the number on the card. Again, you can vary the difficulty depending on the age of the child (our 3 year old had cards 1-8 while the 5 year old had 9-15).

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Filed under beans, cards, games, homeschool, math manipulatives, mfw

Pasta- It’s Not Just for Dinner

I know I’ve already posted about pasta as a math tool, but we used it in a different way last week (sorry for the lack of posting… we’ve had a full house).

Anyway, each child got a muffin tin and a pile of pasta. I told them that they could decide how to sort it… by size, shape, color, etc.

The five year old monkey caught on with no problem… The three year old needed some coaching.

Pasta is now not only a favorite food in our house, it is a favorite toy as well!

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Filed under homeschool, math manipulatives, muffin tin, pasta, sorting

Money Saving Math Manipulatives

When I started my first teaching job, my classroom furniture had been ordered, but not delivered. I got to pick out and order most of my supplies…but none of it came until well after the school year began. I had to put together a make shift kindergarten classroom at first. I had centers made from cardboard boxes, donated books and toys- I scavenged the halls and snatched up what other teachers left behind.

I have also traveled to Haiti several times and visited classrooms there where no materials are to be found. They don’t have cute little decorations or centers or manipulatives. They make do with what they have.

I would love to be able to go to the nearest school supply store and buy up all the great stuff they have that will surely enhance my childrens’ learning… But we are in a chapter of our lives where we just aren’t afforded that luxury. Instead, I am forced to look at what we have and make do or go without!

We are working on patterns this week. I took a couple of egg cartons and a few handfuls of various pastas from the pantry and put together a lesson on patterns! The kids loved it!

The pasta will also be used for our lesson on sorting and classifying next week.

Other household items that can be used in teaching math:
– fruit loops
– buttons
– stickers
– measuring spoons/ cups
– dried beans
– bottle tops
– nuts and bolts
– keys

The list could go on and on!

I enjoy school supply stores. I loved teaching in a fully stocked classroom! I think those things are great to have… But I am not going to let not having them right now put a damper on our schooling!

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Filed under egg carton, math manipulatives, money saving, pasta