Preschool manipulatives are the most effective way to teach young children.
What are Manipulatives in Preschool
Manipulatives are anything a child can touch and manipulate by hand to experience and learn new information. You might use manipulatives to help your student explore counting, adding, the alphabet, or even mindfulness. A hands-on approach using manipulatives helps students absorb more information quickly, and connect new information with old more easily.
Why are Manipulatives Important in Preschool
From the moment a child is born, the brain is building neural pathways for new information. Children absorb this new information at an astonishing rate. As neural pathways are built, hooks are created for future learning. A hands-on learning toy that allows a child to explore shapes is creating hooks for geometry that will be used thirteen or fourteen years from now to connect new information with old information. Neural pathways and neural hooks are essential building blocks for your preschool child, and manipulatives are a very effective way to create more of them.
Sensory learning is an approach that connects learning with one or more of the five senses, and a multi-sensory approach has been proven very effective. Manipulatives involve touch and sight at the very least, and may also involve smell, hearing, and taste. Using preschool manipulatives allows your child to experience multi-sensory learning at its best.
How do Math Manipulatives Help Preschoolers
Numbers are an abstract concept we expect kids to learn and understand when they are still very much in the concrete phase of learning. Manipulatives help make numbers a concrete reality for your child. Counting, adding, subtracting, and even fractions become much more real when we can see these concepts in real life using math manipulatives. When candy or money needs divided up between children, even the youngest becomes interested.
Manipulative Toys for Preschool
Even though my own children are past preschool, I am still obsessed with finding the best and coolest manipulatives to use in my preschool classroom, where I have taught once a week for several years. Some of the best toys are also manipulatives and kids don’t even realize they are learning. I love finding manipulative toys that empower the brain and create new and better neural pathways using the power of play. If it is handmade and can become an heirloom for my grandchildren someday, even better. I’m making a wish list on Etsy.
Manipulative Games for Preschoolers
When we start talking about neural pathways and learning, games are amazing for both! Children learn so much about life, thinking, and strategizing through games. Playing manipulative games is a great way to get a firm grasp on any subject. Once your children are older, you can even play a hands-on game to learn states and capitals. Preschool manipulatives that are really games are a great way to get little kids hooked on learning. Especially if that game includes one-on-one time with a favorite adult.
Manipulative Play Ideas for Preschoolers
Puzzles, puppets, toy cars are all play-worthy objects that can also help your child learn role play, imagination, counting, and thinking skills. These are manipulative play ideas for preschoolers. Play is one of the most important jobs of any preschool child. Play builds brain power like no other activity! When you can combine play with learning, you create an atmosphere where learning is on steroids.
Pre K Manipulatives We Love
My favorite preschool manipulatives are ones that are relevant to the child and fun to explore. The importance of relevance cannot be overstated. If your child loves dinosaurs, get some dinosaur puzzles to play with. If your student loves jelly beans, count with jelly beans. Find manipulatives that are relevant to your child. Something they will connect with instantly. Animals are usually high on that list. Some children naturally gravitate towards vehicles like cars or tools. Some children want to pick flowers. Find what your child loves and tap into that. Here are some pre k manipulatives we love.
The Best Math Manipulatives I’ve Found
Math manipulatives help children explore numbers and mathematical concepts. I love math manipulatives that stack together or interact with each other in some way. Those little plastic bricks are at the top of my list. Some of the best math manipulatives are found on Etsy!
Look at these gorgeous stacking number trays! I love how you can use this set so many different ways.
Use cotton balls or pom pom balls to play with this beautiful counting tray.