Teachers and students both know that math manipulatives can help make tricky concepts much easier to understand. They’re most popular in pre-K and elementary classrooms, but hands-on math tools have a place in upper-level math too. Check out our favorites, both physical options and virtual online tools you can use on digital devices.
Need more ideas? Check out Creative Ways to Use Math Manipulatives in Your Classroom.
Physical Math Manipulatives
Stock your learning centers and supply cabinet with these top physical math manipulatives that teachers and students love.
These cubes have at least a hundred different uses, from math practice to imaginative play. They have more than 31K 5-star reviews on Amazon too!
Real User Review: “I am a teacher and use these with my students for patterning, counting, place value to 100, and representing quantities when adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. I have used different brands of interlocking cubes in my classrooms over the years and these are my favorite.”
Buy it: MathLink Cubes at Amazon
Base 10 Blocks
These blocks are especially helpful when teaching place value, but they have plenty of other uses in the classroom and home learning environment.
Real User Review: “The place value blocks are very durable. They are solid, not flimsy and hollow. I was pleased that they are nice enough to stand up in a classroom environment.”
Buy it: Base 10 Blocks at Amazon
Magnetic 10-Frame Set
Ten-frames are incredibly useful for so many math activities! This set includes magnetic markers and dry-erase markers too.
Real User Review: “These boards are very sturdy and the magnetic ‘spots’ are a nice size and very sturdy as well. … My students have used these boards and spots for about a year now with heavy use and the set shows no signs of wearing out or falling apart. This is a great set and I would definitely recommend it for your classroom.”
Buy it: Magnetic 10-Frame Set at Amazon
Link ’N’ Learn Links
Give young learners some fine motor skills practice as they use these to practice counting, patterns, and more.
Real User Review: “I was a teacher and had these in the classroom. Students (ages 5-8) loved playing with links making all sorts of patterns and creative uses. My niece turned 2 and I gave them to her as a gift. Out of all of the toys she received, she played with links the most.”
Buy it: Link ’N’ Learn Links at Amazon
Pretend Play Money
It’s more fun to learn about money when you can actually see and use it. Set up a classroom store and let kids use this pretend money to buy and sell for meaningful practice.
Real User Review: “I use this in my classroom to teach money and it is a great! The coins are durable.”
Buy it: Pretend Play Money at Amazon
Students can use pattern blocks to create their own images, or match up the blocks with the included pattern cards. This is one of those classic math manipulatives you’ll find in every pre-K and kindergarten classroom.
Real User Review: “My first graders love this. The cards let them know the difficulty level and the exact blocks to use.”
Buy it: Pattern Blocks on Amazon
You can use this set to play a traditional game of dominoes, but they’re also terrific for math facts practice and more math games.
Real User Review: “So perfect for our math centers in my second-grade class. The dominoes are weighty and sturdy, and the bright colors are so much better for young children. Love the jar they came in too, so they are easily and neatly stored at the end of each day.”
Buy it: Double-Six Dominoes at Amazon
Dice are definitely one our favorite classroom tools, with endless uses across the curriculum. This set has enough colorful dice for your entire class!
Real User Review: “I use them in my classroom. The colors are bright, corners rounded, and they are small enough for little hands.”
Buy it: Standard Dice at Amazon
Polyhedral dice are excellent for upper-elementary math classrooms, where kids use larger numbers on a regular basis. You can get these with 8, 10, 12, or 20 sides.
Real User Review: “I teach second grade and these dice are perfect for math games. They are good quality, not too expensive, and the kids love the different colors.”
Buy it: Polyhedral Dice at Amazon
These have become a real classroom favorite in recent years. Find our favorite ways to use dice-in-dice here.
Real User Review: “One of the reasons I highly recommend these dice is because they have many uses. They can be used for various math games, probability experiments, or even to teach basic math concepts like addition and subtraction. The students love playing with these dice and often don’t even realize they are learning about math while having fun.”
Buy it: Dice-in-Dice Set at Amazon
Geometric Solids Blocks
Younger students will enjoy building with these (be mindful of the sharp points, though), while older students can use them to practice identifying geometric shapes, learning about volume, and more.
Real User Review: “As a learning/teaching aid, these things are super cool! They are see-through and have an opening, with plug, to fill each shape with water, and demonstrate the concept of volume! I liked them as an introduction into shapes, and when I got them, I saw that they were to teach all about volume too! By far, one of the coolest little sets to have in your classroom/homeschool.”
Buy it: Geometric Solids Blocks at Amazon
Display these on your classroom whiteboard, or let students use them at their desks instead. These are made of foam instead of plastic, but reviewers say they’re sturdy enough for classroom use.
Real User Review: “Used this product in my math classroom. Children loved using it and the size is perfect for little hands.”
Buy it: Magnetic Numbers at Amazon
The rekenrek (Dutch for “counting rack”) might remind you of an abacus, and they definitely share similarities. Teachers love these for teaching students to decompose numbers, understand addition and subtraction, and other math concepts.
Real User Review: “I ordered these for my 2nd graders who are still struggling with addition and subtraction facts up to 20. The mini size makes them easy to use at their desks. Well made—would buy again.”
Buy it: Rekenreks at Amazon
Card games can turn your students into math aces! This set of 12 decks is affordable and provides enough cards for your entire class.
Real User Review: “Great deal for teachers. Cards are thin, but they do the job and lots of students can play. I even gave some packs away to students who wanted to keep playing.”
Buy it: Playing Cards at Amazon
Time Activity Set
Learning to tell time requires a lot of practice, and this pretend clock and accessories are perfect for the classroom or use at home.
Real User Review: “As a teacher, I fully recommend the set. … The puzzle pieces that connect the analog clock with the digital hour and half hour are excellent starting points for students as they learn to tell time.”
Buy it: Time Activity Set at Amazon
Multiplication Fidget Square
Kids love pop fidgets, so playing with one can help them learn without even realizing it. This one has the multiplication tables up to 9.
Real User Review: “I’m a teacher and have purchased several of these. My students feel that being able to ‘pop’ their answer helps the multiplication facts stick in their heads, and it’s a more fun way to learn.”
Buy it: Multiplication Fidget Square at Amazon
Fraction Tower Cubes
Fractions can be a challenge, so the more tools in your teacher tool belt, the better. (See more of our top ways to teach fractions here.)
Real User Review: “These are very sturdy and durable! … The numbers are easy to see, the pieces stay connected well, and the bright colors are fun too.”
Buy it: Fraction Tower Cubes at Amazon
Math Balance Scale
This is a unique math tool students can use to understand a variety of concepts, from weights and measures to balancing algebraic equations.
Real User Review: “I am a teacher and I have this in my math center. It is so simple, yet it is a powerful learning tool. It exposes students to math and science concepts through play. It’s easy to set up and seems fairly sturdy. I recommend this item!”
Buy it: Math Balance Scale at Amazon
Transparent Counter Chips
These chips have a ton of uses in the classroom. Use them as bingo markers, counting tools, for playing math games, and so much more.
Real User Review: “I originally bought these for math to use for multiplication and division, but I can also use these for when we play bingo in class! They’re transparent so it’s easy to use if you’re pairing the pieces on top of words or numbers.”
Buy it: Transparent Counter Chips at Amazon
Kids have loved experimenting with rubber bands and these peg boards for a long time now. By making patterns and shapes, they absorb lots of geometry concepts in a fun and engaging way.
Real User Review: “The pegs have a flat tip that helps hold the rubber bands on the pegs better than traditional boards. Really easy for little fingers, perfect for young elementary learners. I have used them with the craft bracelet rubber bands with great success. Wonderful addition to centers in the classroom.”
Buy it: Double-Sided Geoboards at Amazon
Liquid Measuring Set
When you’re ready to tackle measurements like volume and mass, a set like this is the perfect manipulative. It’s handy for STEM activities too!
Real User Review: “I am starting to teach a lesson on mass, volume, and length and fractions. This set is great for these lessons. It gives students something concrete to help them understand these concepts.”
Buy it: Liquid Measuring Set at Amazon
Hundreds Chart Board
Hundreds charts are incredibly useful for young math students, and this wooden version is sturdy enough to reuse year after year. The set also includes several dry-erase board hundreds charts.
Real User Review: “Every teacher wants math manipulatives that are going to last for years and years. This colorful 100s chart doesn’t take up much room, and it is durable enough to be used in independent math centers. … I used this in my first grade classroom and the students enjoyed working with it.”
Buy it: Hundreds Chart Board at Amazon
Rainbow Counting Bears
These little bears are incredibly popular among the early learning crowd. Use them as math manipulatives, for imaginative play, and more.
Real User Review: “Walk into any pre-K or kindergarten classroom and you will see a bin full of these rainbow counting bears … they’re there for a reason! They are a fantastic manipulative with multiple uses.”
Buy it: Rainbow Counting Bears at Amazon
Dry-Erase Number Line
Number lines help students visualize the relationships between numbers. This dry-erase version is ideal for classroom or home practice, and it folds up for easy storage.
Real User Review: “A little whiteboard cleaner, and this has stayed pristine. Easy to mark, correct, see, have multiple kids putting their marks on it in different colors. Good teaching or tutoring tool.”
Buy it: Dry-Erase Number Line at Amazon
Place Value Flip Chart
Give students a hands-on way to learn about place value with this flip chart, perfectly sized to use with one student or a whole classroom. It’s double-sided, one with a decimal point and one without.
Real User Review: “Helps with my small-group instruction. Helped to demonstrate place value with tenths, hundredths, thousandths along with place value mats. Good tool! Highly recommend for practice.”
Buy it: Place Value Flip Chart at Amazon
Virtual Math Manipulatives Resources
Whether you’re teaching online or want to offer math manipulatives your students can use at home, these virtual options fit the bill. Many sites offer entire suites of tools, and these are some of our top picks.
Didax Virtual Manipulatives
Find a full collection of virtual manipulatives at Didax, all entirely free. Get 10-frames, rekenrek, base 10 blocks, a balance scale, and more!
Get the tools: Didax Virtual Manipulatives
Toy Theater Virtual Math Manipulatives
Here’s another robust suite of virtual math tools, from clocks and pattern blocks to geoboards and playing cards.
Get the tools: Toy Theater Virtual Math Manipulatives
The Polypad tools are especially nice for older math students, since they include a wide array of virtual manipulatives for geometry, algebra, probability, and more.
Get the tools: Mathigon Polypad
Oyrx Learning Virtual Math Tools
Some of the tools you’ll find here include base 10 blocks, money manipulatives, and fraction models.
Get the tools: Oryx Learning Virtual Math Tools
The Math Learning Center Apps
The handful of apps available here are all high quality. We especially love the 10-frames app, which is customizable with a variety of frame sizes and different icons for markers.
Get the tools: The Math Learning Center Apps