Manipulatives are physical, educational toys that are used to support learning. Providing learners with physical manipulatives during learning allows them to visualize their learning in a 3D space.
- Learners can learn more actively when they have manipulatives than when learning through instructor-centered direct instruction tactics.
- It helps learners who need to visualize the information they are learning.
- The creation of physical models helps learners to form mental models (“cognitive schemata”).
- It can be expensive to provide enough education materials for all learners in the classroom.
- Providing learners with manipulatives can distract them from the task. Strong classroom management skills are required.
- Base tens are cubes that can be bundled into singles, groups of ten, groups of one hundred, and groups of 1,000 to help learners visualize the decimal system of counting.
- Colored beads can be used to help learners in early childhood learn to recognize patterns.
- Froebel’s Gifts are nine manipulative toys that learners can utilize to solve developmentally appropriate puzzles.