Homeschool Early Math - Making a Manipulatives Kit -

Summary:  How to make a Manipulatives Kit for your little homeschool learners, out of things you already have around the house.  #homeschoolpreschool #homeschoolkindergarten #earlylearning

Are you homeschooling your little ones?  Do you wonder how to introduce math to them?  

Did you know that you can do this  through playful activities, using things that you already have around the house?

When my daughter was little, we did our homeschooling with lots of fun, hands-on activities, and fit her learning time into our daily routine.  

And she learned her basic early math skills through Math Play. Here's how we did it...

Making a Manipulatives Kit

Our little ones learn best through play.  Basic math concepts, such as counting, sorting, bigger/smaller, same/different, adding, subtracting, etc can all be learned through play with manipulatives. 

Manipulatives can really be any small object that you have around your house.  Buttons, shells, rocks, etc, can be sorted by shape, color, or size, and grouped into sets. This teaches early math concepts, as through play!  

When you are four, everything is math!  Toys can be counted, towels sorted and put into sets.  

Cookie making became a lesson in adding and subtracting, and beads can get sorted into patterns as well, while making necklaces.  Also, buttons, shells, rocks, sorted by shape, color, size, what have you.  

Even laundry could be sorted into sets. And the easy way to do this, is to make your own manipulatives kit. 

This is frugal and simple to do.  I just collected small items from around the house, and put them into small containers.  

You can include any of these in your kit:

1.  Small toys or legos
2.  Our old collection of buttons
3.  Beads that we had from a holiday gift
4.  Crayons
5.   Favorite shells and rocks from the beach
6.  Pinecones from the yard
7.   Or other small things that you find

These can be sorted too, by color, or can also be used to make patterns. 

Example: Line up the crayons like this: red/blue/ to make math patterns

Organizational Tips:

Use a small container, such as an old margarine tub for each category of manipulatives. 

Then you could place each of these containers into a nice shoebox or basket.  

This way, you can pull out one container at a time.  This helps to control the clutter!  You can limit the number of manipulatives used at one time. 

For example:

 I gave my daughter a container of buttons to sort, while I worked alongside her older cousin.  

She could sort them by color, size, put them into sets, count them, and even practice adding them together.

I saved our manipulatives kit for use only during math play time.  This made it special for my daughter.  And she looked forward to math play time each day!

My daughter is now in her first year of college, taking precalulus.    But it all started with simple math manipulatives play as a little one.  

And don't forget all the great math learning that happens in the kitchen, too!

Baking is also great for practicing adding and subtracting....

Subtracting was my daughter's favorite, especially when we made brownies.

And there's always pizza night, for learning fractions....

Who gets to eat the last piece, 1/4th?

The most important thing that your kids need to learn about early math is that, she can do it and....Math is fun!

More information on homeschooling preschool is here:

Are you homeschooling a high schooler this year?  The details to plan your high school at home are here:

Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,


Betsy is mom to her now college grad, whom she homeschooled through high school.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early yearshighschool
collegegifted/2e and wrote -Homeschooling High School with College in Mind, 2nd Edition,   She offers homeschool help through messages at BJ's Consulting and has had some of her articles picked up by the Huffington Post.

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