I am a huge believer in hands-on learning. Students are able to become active participants in their own learning through using manipulatives. They are able to learn by physically handling and manipulating objects to explore a concept.
I love using manipulatives with math concepts. It really transforms a concept into a concrete learning experience. Young children and kinesthetic learners really benefit from showing the concept and bringing it to life.
Math manipulatives do not need to be expensive. You can look around your own home and classroom to create some simple and effective manipulatives for your math lessons.
Here are some fun posts on DIY math manipulatives from me and some amazing bloggers: Greater Gator
Hope you found a manipulative that works for you! I would love to have you leave me a comment with any fun math manipulatives that you use with your students. I love DIY projects and would love some new ideas to make the math concepts come to life!
I love fall! The crispness in the air, the pumpkin patches, and cozy scarves. I especially love watching your children explore the wonder of pumpkins.
In our house, baking soda and vinegar/lemon juice reactions are a huge draw. The kids can NEVER get enough of the fizzing and exploding. They love watching the differences in the reactions, as well, as playing in the goop. I decided to add the wonder of fizz to the fun of pumpkins. Such a hit!
We started out by mixing baking soda, food coloring, and a little bit of water in a bowl.
We mixed until the consistency was firm and packed like a snowball. This one needed a little more baking soda. Notice that it is pretty watery.
We just kept adding baking soda, until we had the perfect pumpkins. We made a batch of orange baking soda and green baking soda to make our pumpkin patch.
The kids had a ball shaping their pumpkins. They used so much great mathematical and scientific language, while creating the pumpkins. We discussed liquids, solids, larger, smaller, taller, shorter, and so much more. It provides a gold mine of language opportunities.
We created our pumpkin patch in our homemade sensory table. This is an awesome, portable table that is easy to transport and to store when not in use. You can see the directions here.
The kids also talked about the life cycle of pumpkins. You can see that they created pumpkins that are still green. We were able to talk about how the pumpkins progress, as they grow.
Next, we got out the vinegar and lemon juice. I had some fun ketchup and mustard squirters, so we filled them up with the liquid. Yellow was lemon juice and red was vinegar.
Here is a reaction to the lemon juice. The kids loved describing the bubbles that were produced. You could definitely create a Venn diagram to chart the differences and similarities in the two reactions.
Here is a reaction to the vinegar.
As the exploration went on, they poured larger amounts of the liquids on the pumpkins to see a larger reaction.
Here they are pouring vinegar through a funnel into the middle of the pumpkin.
I provided a variety of tools and the kids came up with their own experiments. Ones that I had not even thought of trying.
This made for a huge set of bubbles and the fizzing even came back up through the funnel.
I would definitely recommend trying your own pumpkin patch fizz! Every step of this activity was enjoyable and created so many opportunities for cross-curriculum exploration. I have so many ideas for the next time that we try this experiment!!
Even better is all the sensory fun!
We also tried played with my Pumpkins Interactive Play Dough Mats. Great for differentiating needs in math! Get your copy here.
We used the play dough mats in a variety of ways. They used play dough to form the numeral and create pumpkins to match the same number on the mat.
Here, we used pumpkin manipulatives and dry erase markers to do the same thing. The student drew ten circles on the mat and then covered each with a pumpkin manipulative. It allowed her to use one-to-one correspondence to match the numeral 10.
There are cards included in the pack that have numerals, addition sentences, and ten frames. Here, the student drew a card and represented the addition sentence with two colored sets of pumpkins. Then, they used a dry erase marker to record the answer on the mat. I use this as a partner game. One partner draws a card and represents the equation or number of objects. The other partner double checks their work. Then, they switch.
Here are a few of the fun printables that are included in this pack. Students will read the numeral and draw the appropriate number of pumpkins on the hay stack.
There are a bunch of differentiated worksheets that allow students to trace and fill in the numbers 1-10, depending on their ability.
In “Hit The Hay”, students count the pumpkins on the hay bales and write the matching numeral in the box.
Some of my favorite activities are centered around the pirate theme. Kids seem to love the mystery of buried treasure, maps, and intrigue on the high sea! What better time to play like a pirate, than “Talk Like a Pirate Day”. You can check out the official site for “Talk Like a Pirate Day” here.
I have some fun pirate activities that we are playing with all week! Did I mention that I love pirates??? We started out by making “Pirate Gold Play Dough”. We used a recipe from Kids Activity Blog. To make the play dough more like treasure, we added glitter to the dough. The kids got to pour it in and knead it into the dough. Great fine motor practice and FUN!
We used the “Treasure Dough” with my Pirates: Interactive Play Dough Mats Pack. The kids used the play doh to create the numerals. Some kids made snakes to create the numerals, others smashed the play dough down on the numeral.
I always have them trace the letter, after building it with play dough. It lets kids really experience the letter formation in a very tactile way. It’s also a great way for kids to take ownership of the numbers. They build the number and trace it themselves.
Below, the students used the play dough to create the numeral and to make the matching number of “pirates”.
Another way to use the pirate manipulatives is to press them on top of each play dough ball. This will really help students to focus on one-to-one correspondence.
I include treasure chest mats and cards to make these mats more interactive. There are three types of cards: numerals, ten frames, and addition cards.
Here the student chose a ten frame card and created the same number of play dough treasure in the chest.
Here is an example of a numeral card.
Here is the addition card. I have students use two different colors to represent the addition sentence.
Then, students will use their fingers to physically touch and count each piece of “gold”. This student smooshed each piece, as he counted. It really gives them the kinesthetic experience of counting each piece of play dough.
Students will record the addition sentence on the recording sheet.
Here is an example of how I set up the center. I include the missing addends mats, the pirate counters, and the recording sheet. Check out this post to get the little story that goes along with the mats and more suggestions!
We also experimented with pirate treasure! We used a recipe for dinosaur eggs from Projects for Preschoolers. See it here. We used the same recipe. My son wrote it down for us to follow. On the last part, he was experimenting with cursive.
The kids were able to use measure each ingredient.
They mixed it all together.
Added the water and started to hide our treasure!
We used all kinds of “treasure”. Pirate coins, beads, costume jewelry, even real coins.
They had a great time hiding the treasure in the “rocks”.
Costume jewelry peeking out.
When they were done, we put them on an old cookie sheet and let them dry overnight. We put them in a window, so the sun helped dry them.
While we waited for the treasure to dry, we created treasure chests.
I cut an egg carton in two pieces.
The kids painted them and decorated with stickers.
The next day, I hid all of the pirate treasure. They were able to go on a treasure hunt (with maps) to find all the pirate treasure. They wore their pirate hats and the eye patches (for about one minute) to complete the pirate look.
After collecting all their treasure, they got to break open the “rocks”. It was really like hunting for buried treasure.
They wanted to use pirate tools, but you could just break them open with your hands.
They got to use old toothbrushes to clean their treasure.
Then, they added the treasure to their treasure box!
It was such a fun experience!
I hope you have a fabulous “Talk Like a Pirate Day” tomorrow! If you would like to use any of my pirate resources, you can click on the pictures below to purchase them. Ahoy, matey!!
I linked up with Manic Monday at Classroom Freebies!
I love fall! Even though it is still August, I can taste that fall crispness coming. Nothing says fall like sweet, crisp apples!
I put two of my favorites together, apples and play dough, and cooked up some juicy fun!
I started out by making up a batch of play dough. We made two types of play dough. The first was a new type for me. I got the idea from Crayons and Cuties in Kindergarten. You can see her awesome post on coconut play dough and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom activities here.
The coolest part of this recipe is that it has only two ingredients: conditioner and corn starch. We used Suave Apple Conditioner, so the play dough would spell like delicious apples. You use one cup of corn starch and 5 tablespoons of conditioner. You need to make sure to stir well in between each addition of conditioner. You can see the directions in pictures on Jenn’s post.
We added food coloring to the play dough to make green and red apples. Our hands did get dyed when using the food coloring, but it doesn’t get on your hands once the dye is mixed in.
Notice the green hands 🙂
Here is our red dough.
This play dough has a very different consistency than regular play dough. My son and daughter kept asking for the apple clay. It almost feels like cloud dough. I kept the dough in the fridge and used it for several days and then tossed it. It definitely does not last like play doh!
Now for the fun! We broke out the play dough mats with numbers. The kids used the dough to form the numbers. Great fine motor activity, as well as, practice with number formation. I always have them “trace” the number after they create it on the mat. It is a very tactile experience to run your finger over the bumpy play dough. It also helps them get familiar with the shapes of each numeral.
For each number, they also made the corresponding number of apples on the tree. We practiced counting with one-to-one correspondence after they created the apples.
My daughter and her friend switched mats and they “checked” the other’s apples. This was a great way to have them use one-to-one correspondence and hold them accountable for their work. Plus, they loved being the teacher!
I also have apple manipulatives in the pack. We used these along with the play dough. I hot glued foam to the back of the apples. This makes them easier for kids to manipulate.
One child would make the numeral with play dough. The other would trace it and count out the same number of apples.
We talked about how many apples were in the tree and how many fell down. The kids seemed to get a kick out of this!
I also have some blank tree mats. These are so useful! We used them to tell story problems. The kids used the different colored play dough to “show” the story.
Josh saw 5 green apples in the tree. Jeremy saw 5 red, ripe apples in the same tree. How many apples were there all together?
Here is another mat. The apples aren’t quite in the tree, but they are on the mat!
They wanted to make the answer in play dough after they counted the apples.
Above, you saw the basic play dough mats. Now, I want to show you the exciting part of these interactive play dough mats! I have included 3 different types of cards: numerals, ten frames, and addition sentences. It makes it very easy to differentiate for different students and ages. I am able to use the same mats and games with my four year old and a 6 year old, by simply substituting different skill cards.
Here is an example of the numeral cards. The cards are placed in a pile and the student will choose a card and represent the numeral with apples on the tree. Fun, hands-on practice for a necessary skill.
There are numeral cards to 20.
Next, are the ten frames. There are ten frames to 20. Students will choose a card and create the same number of apples on the tree. This is good for getting students comfortable with the ten frame format AND to show them that the same number can be represented in a different way.
A student created 15 apples on the tree.
There are addition cards included in the pack. There are sums to 10.
We used two different colors of play dough to represent the two numbers in the addition sentences. This can be used as a partner game. One partner can draw a card and create the number sentence with play dough.
The other partner can count up all the apples and create the number with play doh. Then, they will switch jobs.
The numeral, ten frame, and addition cards can be used for:
The numeral, ten frame, and addition cards can also be used for a memory game. Just select the specific numbers/sums that you would like your students to work on. Place the selected cards face down and have students try and match a numeral to a ten frame, numeral to addition sentence, or any combination that works for your students.
In “Go Fish”, you would use two sets of cards. Either print two sets of numerals, or use a combination of numerals/ten frames/addition. Use the skills that your students need to practice. Pass out 5 cards to each student and put the remaining cards in the fish pond. Each student will ask another for the card that represents a number in their hand. If the other student doesn’t have the card, they say “Go Fish”! The original student will choose a card from the fish pond. Play will continue until all the matches are found.
War is another fun game for children to play. You can call it “SMASH!”. This is played just like the original “War”. Choose the combination of cards that you would like to use. I often use ten frames and numerals together. Students slap down their cards and whoever has the largest amount of “apples” wins! If the students get the same number, they will put out cards for the letters in SMASH. When they flip over the last card, they will see who has the largest amount of “apples”. That number SMASHES the other!! It’s a fun spin on War.
I have a free “SMASH” poster that you can use with the game. This will allow students to reference the poster for the spelling of SMASH and give them a visual that the larger number wins. Click here to get your free poster.
The fun doesn’t stop there! I have included extension worksheets for students to work on the specific skills. There are worksheets where students count the apples and write the matching numeral.
I was able to differentiate in a really cool way for students that need to trace the numbers. I found these cool markers at Target. They have regular markers that write in a normal color. They include markers that are white. When the students trace over the first marker, the color changes. It’s so exciting and fun to kids. I have 8 year old children that ask to use these markers for different activities!
I wrote the numerals on the paper and my daughter traced them. I had her count the apples first, so she was able to demonstrate her one-to-one correspondence to me and then wrote the numerals.
Another way to really have kids focus in on one-to-one correspondence is to have them count each apple as they dot with the bingo dabber. This adds a very visual and kinesthetic component to the one-to-one correspondence.
There are ten frame extension sheets. You can have students draw the apples, but why not use a bingo dabber. It’s easy to see the separate apples and so much fun!
We also used bingo dabbers to represent the matching number of apples.
There are also addition worksheets for students to complete. You can have them color or dot the apples in two different colors.
Hope you found some useful ideas to use with your kids and students! Enjoy fall 🙂
If you would like to purchase Apples: Interactive Play Dough Mats click here.