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Hands-on Learning Materials (and Ideas) for Elementary Math Skills (Counting, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, Time & Money)

hands-on math

This page is an extension of our Multisensory Store.

According to educational research, students learn best when multiple senses are involved and when they can create or recreate a concept in order to to understand it. “If they can do it themselves, they understand it.”

I am passionate about hands-on activities because in my experience as a tutor, educator, and parent, I have seen first hand how they engage learners and help them retain concepts, while keeping learning fun; a positive for all! Below are some of my favorite hands-on activities for enhancing elementary math skills.

Math games, such as the ones shown above for addition and subtraction, are a great way to get kids excited about math, while also practicing social skills (communicating, taking turns), etc. I have played Sums in Space many times with by own son and it was a blast. Do you have a favorite math game? If so, please comment and let us know.

Math manipulitves (items students can move and touch), such as the ones shown above, are great for practicing counting (by 1s, 2s, 5s, 10s). They are also useful for practicing addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, fractions and geometry.

Activity Ideas: Hide pieces (of a whole) around the room and have your child find them to build the whole, hide 3D shapes and name them when your child discovers them. Create basic math problems about your child’s favorite characters with counters (Spiderman had five blue chips and Batman wanted two of them), the possibilities are endless.

Multiplication and division can also be fun with games and tools like the ones above! Trying knocking down some math problems with multiplication dominoes! Try to beat your parents, teachers or friends in Multiplication Bingo! You can easily create and make your own bingo cards and grid if you don’t want to purchase anything.

Check out some more math fun below to teach your students about time and money.

I also love teaching number recognition with numbers students can touch and feel like the ones below. You can also make your own numbers out of play-doh, or cut them out of card board or construction paper.

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