A happy heart makes the face cheerful...Proverbs 15:13

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Frugal Manipulatives

Just like many other homeschooling families, we are doing everything we can to be frugal, but still provide the best education for our children. Luckily for me, many of frugal homeschooling moms have blogs with ideas of what they do to be thrifty with curriculum. I wanted to share one of my children's very favorite math manipulative's.
One math curriculum I really enjoy is math-u-see. It is a wonderful program, but it is a bit pricey. It uses the block manipulative's to help give the child a visual of what they are counting. Though these blocks aren't too expensive on their own, I decided to try to find things around the house
that would give the same dynamic without costing us anything additional.
FOOD! Who can't get excited about food? Now, not everything we use is edible. We sometimes use those wagon wheel noodles or dried beans. Both of which you can get for under $1.00.We also use fruit snacks, gum balls, skittles, M&M's, marshmallows, goldfish, or cheeze-its. Over Christmas we used mini candy canes. The options are unlimited.
I found that this actually really helps them to focus on their math. Especially if it is something more yummy like skittles or gum balls. They are so excited about eating that treat when they finish, that their little eyes rarely come off the page. By the way they act when you put the 'counting candy' in front of them, you would think that they never get anything yummy.
I think that our manipulative's, beat out the blocks by 100%. Blocks can be boring. However, the little ones do enjoy building them while your working with your older children.
What is your favorite frugal manipulative or curriculum?

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