We love a good math manipulative! Children absolutely need concrete examples before they can grasp abstract math concepts, and there are many wonderful tools available for this purpose. However, if we were all to stock our home or classroom with every available math manipulative, not only would we be spendin’ those Benjamins, we’d also have an organizational crisis on our hands.
If you’ve reached your max of physical math toys you can handle but still want to make some other manipulatives available to your kids, digital manipulatives can fill the gap while providing a little novelty as well.
Math Learning Center has several digital manipulatives available online. Flexible, colorful, and free, here are a few of my favorites:
In addition to being hella fun to say, a Rekenrek, also generically referred to as a “number rack,” is a fantastic tool for modeling early addition and subtraction problems. Unlike a physical Rekenrek, the digital version allows you to add or subtract strands of ten so that you can work with larger or smaller numbers. Math Learning Center even provides a tutorial on ways to use their Rekenrek with a variety of math concepts. Check it out!
Ah, ten frames! Very useful, but isn’t it annoying how the little counters never stay where you want them to? Especially with younger kids, they are constantly getting bumped out of place.
No longer! Particularly if your kid is working on a tablet or other touchscreen device, this digital Number Frame tool is as simple to use as a physical ten frame, and everything stays where you put it!
Beyond ten frames, you can also use this tool with frames of twenty or one hundred or customize your own size (perfect for building multiplication arrays). For a bit more novelty, you have several color options and can even use different shapes for counters instead of the standard circle. #brilliant
3. Number Line
You can never have too many ways to show kids a number line, so here’s one more. This digital Number Line can display whole numbers, fractions, or decimals, and it can be expanded to show negative numbers as well. Perfect for modeling any operation and for helping kids make sense of tricky concepts with negative numbers.