Manipulatives are physical objects that are often used in teaching mathematics.They can help to make abstract mathematical ideas concrete.It may also make maths more interesting to children and can bring the subject to life.
Manipulatives include items such as blocks, geometric shapes, plastic counters; base ten blocks, fraction pieces, geoboards, tangrams. Many different kinds of manipulatives can be purchased at your local ‘Kırtasiye’. It is also possible to make them yourself using household objects, such as egg boxes, beans, or buttons.
The following links show how you can make your own manipulatives:
In addition to concrete manipulatives conceptual understanding can also be be developed through the use of visual representations.Computer-based virtual manipulatives can be found on the internet.
The National Library of Manipulatives has the largest collection on the web.
There is also a Turkish site which has virtual manipulatives : SAMAP Project ( Abant Izzet Baysal University)
It must be remembered that manipulatives must be clearly explained and presented by the parent or teacher, otherwise the child may be confused. If, however, manipulatives are used properly, they can be very helpful in developing the mathematical understanding of children with learning disabilities.