Hands on lessons and activities are a must in special education classes, so we often end up wanting all the manipulatives we can find. The problem ends up being that we don’t have the space to have all the things and keep them organized.
Instead, we need to prioritize which manipulatives will be used for multiple subjects and activities. I want my manipulatives to be able to do all the things so I don’t need to have all the manipulatives! 🤣 Here are the ones that I have found to be the most versatile and useful. Disclaimer: Some of these links may be affiliate links. That means that if you purchase from the links, I get a small percentage at no cost to you.
My number 1, all time favorite manipulatives are the snap blocks. I can use these for so many lessons and subjects. They are my go to visual support and center manipulatives. Here’s some of the ways that I use them:
- Sorting by colors, number of blocks in the tower, length of tower, etc.
- Work on long versus short
- Manipulatives for adding, subtraction, multiplying, place value, etc.
- We use them in our science experiments when we use a scale, sink or float lessons, hard versus soft, does it roll lessons, etc.
- Non-standard measurement activities
- We use them as a visual support for conversations to illustrate taking turns talking.
- In task boxes we use them for replicating a model, extending a pattern, “put it” tasks, sorting tasks, making sets tasks, etc.
- In reading we use them for counting sounds
I love these giant tens frames! They are magnetic and come with 2 different colored circle manipulatives.
Use this set for more than just adding and subtracting! We also use the circles when we work on ratios, for whole group counters, for beginning patterning and for making sets. I have also cut one of the magnetic frames into 3 to 4 blocks and used them as sound boxes in my reading instruction!
I was so excited to find this magnetic money set. They’re double sided and very realistic!!
So many different ways to use it….
- Identifying and stating the value of the coins and bills
- Making sums of money given a amount
- Counting money to determine the amount
- Making the number of the day during morning meeting (or the number of school days, day on the calendar, etc.)
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- Click the links to read more tips on using manipulatives: