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Dd is only 3 now but I have decided to start building up our homeschool resources so that many things will be in place as we transition someday to intentional activities or "lessons". Math is my forte so I'm most comfortable starting here and there are so many fun manipultives that can be played with and explored by her now, before we use them in a more formal way.<br><br>
I'm thinking of getting a set of wood pattern blocks and a set of either Unifix cubes or Pop cubes (or Snap cubes or MathLink cubes). So first question, why the heck are there so many types of linking cubes! Anybody have a recommendation on which style to go with. I'm thinking Pop or Snap or MathLink becuase they can be used 3 dimensionally while Unifix is limited to towers or trains. Then some are cm units and some are inch units. Are any of the styles too hard for a 3 yr old to snap together and get apart? Some come in the same color scheme as cuisinaire rods, is that actually useful or not? I do think I'll be using cuisinaire rods eventually so should I take that into consideration?<br><br>
Well, besides those two items what other manipulatives have you found to be indispensable? There are so many out there and I don't really want to overwhelm us with options, just a few really useful ones that we will get a lot of use out of over the years.
 

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We loved (and still love) our wooden pattern blocks. Dice are excellent, especially the ten-sided ones.<br><br>
For cubes/rods I much prefer the cuisenaire rods. Unifix type linking cubes are kind of neat from a building standpoint, but we found that for actual mathematical use they were fussy. You couldn't just line them up against each other -- you had to assemble and disassemble them by snapping them together in order that the nubbins wouldn't skew the comparisons. The disassembly in particular was a pain, as it needed to be done after every equation solved. Like taking apart a Lego construction. No fun. For us cuisenaires, with their fixed length and fixed colour associations, were simpler and more enjoyable to use for math. For building stuff the kids mostly used actual building toys like Lego or Knex.<br><br>
We eventually augmented our cuisenaire collection with base-ten set materials, adding hundreds flats and a thousands cube at the same scale.<br><br>
Miranda
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>moominmamma</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15387495"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Dice are excellent, especially the ten-sided ones.<br></div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/nod.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="nod"> to what moomin said but especially dice we have a massive collection of dice and they get used a lot.<br>
we also love our unit blocks, abacus and those little glass pebbles you can get at craft stores they just really speak to my kids. But cookies seem to be the most valuable, DS has taught himself multiplication and division based soley on his need to know just how many cookies will we all get, or do we need<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Eat">
 

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we have countless math man. because frankly the boys love to use them and it seems to really help them grasp concepts. The ones they love the most (and even play with them when not doing "math") are these<br><br><a href="http://www.christianbook.com/funtastic-frogs-48-medium/1564516970/pd/44390?item_code=WW&netp_id=205795&event=ESRCN&view=details" target="_blank">http://www.christianbook.com/funtast...N&view=details</a><br><br>
The funtastic frogs also come in a pack with assort sizes (the one we have but they are currently out of) plus the maker has several books that have activite suggestions for the counters. We are getting another set this coming yr. They are very durable (hard plastic) and are not so small they get lost.
 

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Pattern blocks, Cuisenaire rods, and my husband's old gaming dice (different shapes, from 4-sided up to 20-sided) get the most play in our house.<br><br>
I love the rods the best. We have the small group 155-piece set of wooden rods, and they really just call out to be handled - the colors are deep and they feel smooth and good in your hands. Kids pick up a lot about math relationships just from free play with rods.
 
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