Manipulatives for Center Time


Manipulatives are an important part of the early childhood classroom center. They can be what makes the center fun or what can make it boring. Fun, creative manipulatives that promote critical thinking can create a learning center that becomes an effective learning tool. When creating a high-interest center look for manipulatives that can be used for a variety of activities. In my third grade classroom, there are several items that I consider a "must have" for my learning centers.
Unifix cubes - I believe that unifix cubes are one of the best manipulatives. Some activities might include using the blocks to identify a word during a listening center, creating patterns for a math center, and using scales for a science activity. They can be used for almost any subject area ranging from literacy activities to science experiments.
Figurines - There are a variety of figurines that can use for many different types of learning centers. These manipulatives can encourage students to retell stories, count, and use their imagination. For examples, when you are reading a story about zoo animals, set out several tubs of animal figurines and have a student retell the story for the class and then have it be a literacy center during reading groups.
If learning centers are part of your daily routine, make sure that you have the manipulatives that you need to make the center activities meaningful and fun. The above items can be used in a variety of ways.
We always love to hear from you! Tell us what your favorite manipulatives are and how you incorporate them into your center activities.