Using Beads as Math Manipulatives

We have lots of different kinds of beads in our craft collection. All different sizes, colors, shapes and textures. We use them for a lot of crafts and the kids have free access to them at just about any time. However, the thing that we use them for the most is as math manipulatives. Using beads as math manipulatives is a great way to work on various math skills and build fine-motor skills at the same time.

Using beads as math manipulatives is a great way to work on math skills such as patterning and addition while working on fine-motor skills!

Beads are the perfect fine-motor manipulative. The work great for using the pincer grasp and you can also work on hand-eye coordination with them.

Using beads as math manipulatives is a great way to work on math skills such as patterning and addition while working on fine-motor skills!

I love these chunky foam beads because my special needs preschooler can easily hold them while putting her focus on other skills such as sorting the colors and counting the number of beads that she puts on the strings.

Using beads as math manipulatives is a great way to work on math skills such as patterning and addition while working on fine-motor skills!

Throughout the last year we have used beads many times for patterning activities:

Build patterns with these free patterning cards.

Create beautiful spring patterns with this free printable! Works with any type of beads!

A blue-themed free pattern printable.

Build complex patterns with these cute wintery beads and printable pattern cards.

Another great idea for building patterns with beads.

red white patterns square

Beads are also great manipulatives for sorting as they can be sorted by colors, shape and size all with the same set of beads.

Sorting beads by color:

Explore the colors of the rainbow while practicing classification with this beautiful rainbow bead sorting activity.

Here are some great ideas from some other awesome bloggers:

Use beads and pipe cleaners as counting manipulatives. You could use the same principle and use two different colors of beads to show addition facts as a step up from just counting.

Create a huge abacus using jumbo-sized wooden beads. This would be great for kids to explore on their own. I love activities that can be set up and kids can go back to them time after time.

This fun dice game is a great way to learn about colors and counting at the same time!

Plus a great set of Montessori-inspired activities for various math concepts using beads complete with free printables.

Practice math concepts with these everyday math manipulatives that you may already have!

Head over to School Time Snippets to check out some other great ideas for doing math with manipulatives that you already have!

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5 Comments

  1. Really love the math manipulatives and all of the ideas you presented. I saw you featured on Fun Family Friday and popped by. Sharing!

  2. I love your pattern printable! We use beads a lot here too . I started thinking of them as sensory play recently, and wrote about it. I had some math ideas in it, but none as specific as you have here. Great ideas!

  3. I love all the math activities using beads, Kim! Lovely photos, too! Thanks so much for including my post. I pinned your post to my Kids’ Math Activities Pinterest Board. 🙂