Using Manipulatives in Maths

Research continues to highlight the importance of using manipulatives within mathematics, including for mental maths. Children’s understanding of mathematical concepts evolves through first-hand experience, and concrete objects provide a vehicle through which this can happen. Therefore, it is paramount to incorporate real objects for children to manipulate when revising their mental maths objective. When revising times table, ask your child to use pasta, pencils or books to create groups of’. When learning number bonds, encourage your child to make the ‘whole’ and explore splitting it into parts. When exploring commutativity (groups of numbers e.g. times tables) use muffin baking trays to demonstrate that the order in which multiplication is worked out does not affect the answer. Continue to embed the above and more (the list is not exhaustive!) practical maths experiences for your child to grow their confidence towards tackling new maths problems.

Furthermore, National Numeracy have provided the “The Family Maths Toolkit”. A website of free resources to help families engage with children’s maths learning. There are ideas to encourage parents and children at primary age to enjoy everyday maths activities together. See the link below: (

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