education research

Make Your Own Maths Manipulatives

In this post, we will look at two great resources to buy and two free to make maths manipulatives. As an SEN teacher, you will be used to making the most of what you have. Specialist sensory toys, resources, and equipment are usually very expensive. This means the SEN teacher needs to get creative when it comes to resources. See our Teaching Size post for more free resource ideas.

We needed to resources some of our SLD classes with new maths equipment so invested in some Learning Resources kits. In an SEN school, we often have to cover the key concepts repeatedly and using a variety of contexts so size, colour, shape, counting to 10 will be covered in for some classes well into the secondary department. This is a challenge when it comes to age-appropriate resources – see our discussion on age-appropriateness here. The resources also need to be robust which is why the following two maths manipulatives resources were chosen.

Counting Cars.

vehicle maths manipulatives idea

10 well-designed plastic cars that hold between 1 and 10 people. Great for counting, fine motor activities, and simple science experiments. These maths manipulatives have rolling wheels and are a good size for those still developing fine motor skills. We bought ours from TTS – on the website the car colours look different but I am happy with our multi-coloured set.

Colourful counting cars maths manipulatives SEN

Counting Cones.

Ice Cream maths resources

Who wouldn’t want to explore a maths manipulative based on Ice Cream. These are very engaging (if a little pricey) you can get a smaller set of counting cones on amazon. We bought ours from TTS Teaching Resources.The boy loved these, building towers, counting, making and copying patterns. The ice cream part is a softer plastic that may get chewed a bit. These would tie in well for a beach topic as well.

ice cream cone maths manipulatives autism

Free Maths Manipulatives: Milk Bottle Lid Maths

If you haven’t got £20 to spare but you do have a bit of time you can quickly make this counting to 10 set. Just 10 milk bottle lids and a marker pen. I didn’t think of just using a pen until I had made the paper inserts. There are multiple uses for milk bottles as maths manipulatives – colours, numbers, letters, sums,

Milk bottle lid maths manipulatives 1-10

Baby Pouch Lid Maths Manipulatives

widgit symbol maths colour sorting

Well, I can only make this as I have a new baby but as with anything in schools ask around and you will quickly get contributions. This resource uses the multi-coloured pouch lids as maths manipulatives. These are a good size for holding. They are great counters as they are easy to pick up for those developing fine motor skills. You can use this for colour sorting or counting. They are equally good for patterns and sequencing. This TEACCH task box style resource uses a washing capsule box with widgit symbol labels.

colour sorting baby pouch lid

I would love to see your free DIY maths manipulatives. Add them to the comments.

DIY Maths Resources For SEN learners

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