One of the fantastic things about learning math through hands-on techniques is that you can use a variety of objects to assist in learning. We call these objects manipulatives because learners manipulate them by moving, stacking, counting, and more. The trouble with manipulatives is that they can get expensive, especially if you prefer to have a variety of options on hand for your learner.

The good news is that you can use less expensive options than what math companies sell for most math activities. For example, I often find cardboard or white board calendars and clocks at my local dollar store. They are also sometimes in the dollar area at larger stores such as Walmart or Target. You could print these items on cardstock instead, then laminate if you prefer that option. Do an Internet search for the item you need, print, follow the directions for putting it together, and enjoy!

I also look at dollar stores and craft stores for items students can count, skip count, or multiply. Chenille wires (pipe cleaners), popsicle (craft) sticks, pompons, buttons, and other items can be a great, inexpensive tool. Why pay more if you don’t have to? Keep in mind the child who will use the items. If a child may put an item in their mouth or nose, then avoid the item.

Use old boxes or dollar store items such as pencils, toys, and puzzles to create a store for children to purchase items from or they can be the shopkeeper. This helps practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and more. Create your own paper money or purchase from a dollar store when they have toy coins and dollars in stock.

Hands-on math activities don’t have to cost a lot. Using what you have on hand or can find at dollar stores can be a way to save money and still help children learn more effectively. If you would like a personalized consultation regarding this or another educational topic, please contact me here to request a meeting.

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