(Gifted for review)
I love these little connecting cubes. I remember loving them at school and now my kids love them too. Thing is, for something so utterly simple, there are loads of ways to play with them, all of them educational.
A pack of Mathlinks cubes cost £11.50 for 100. You get 10 different colours and 10 of each which means there are so many things you can do with them, activities you can set up and lots of learning opportunities.
So, I’ve put together a list of my favourite ways to play with these bright and colourful linking maths cubes. Let me know in the comments if you can think of any more or what ones you’re going to try.
11 Ways to Enhance Math Learning with Mathlinks Cubes
1 – Play along with Numberblocks
Literally, the first thing we did when these arrived was build the Numberblocks characters. If you’ve never seen Numberblocks, it’s a great little program on CBeebies (or iPlayer) where the characters represent numbers and work as a visual aide to help children understand simple maths and numbers. This is perfect for those young ones just learning to count and understand numbers.
2 – Simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
Number sentences become a lot easier to understand when you can actually hold and manipulate the blocks. Physically adding two blocks to three blocks will give you a tower of 5 blocks. Taking a tower of cubes and sharing it up will help answer division questions in a way that you can see and feel.
3 – Fractions
Using Mathlinks cubes for fractions is a great way to help visualise that two halves make one whole, two quarters make one half and four quarters is the same as 2 halves, etc.
4 – Games
One game we have been enjoying with Paisley at the moment is the race to 20. We take turns to roll a dice and add the number of cubes shown to our tower. The winner is the first to reach 20 cubes in their tower. A great way to teach further counting for those that have learned to count to 10.
5 – Sorting
A great little activity to help teach colours to little ones. Make it trickier by removing some and sorting by quantities as well as colours and then when they are old enough, they can move on to making graphs and charts or even move on to probability.
6 – Pictures
What pictures can you make? I’ve attempted a couple of flowers but there are so many things you can do. You could even draw them out on gridded paper and plan your creations first.
7 – 2D/3D shapes
A great way of showing that 2d shapes are flat and 3 shapes are not is to build them. How many shapes can you make? What are they? Can you talk about the number of vertices, edges and faces?
8 – Estimating/Measuring/Weighing
Estimating and testing is a great way of learning. By getting it wrong, you get better. Pick a few things to draw around on your paper – Your hand, a drink bottle, a shoe, whatever else you have to hand. Estimate how many cubes long each item is and then measure it. Were you right? Did your guesses get better as you went along?
Do the same with weights and a set of balancing scales.
9 – Repeating Patterns
Bridget has really enjoyed doing this one. Set up a repeating pattern of 2 alternating colours. Your child has to correctly identify which colour comes next in the sequence. Once they’ve mastered this, make it trickier by adding another colour. Then try with two of one and one of another ie green, green, red, green, green, red etc.
10 – Counting in multiples
This is one I’m currently working on with Dexter. We’re working on 2s, 5s, and 10 times tables so using these in groups is helping him get better at counting in multiples
11 – Demonstrating units and tens
This is one I really remember from school – showing how two-digit numbers are made up by using blocks of 10s and individual cubes for units.
So for example 27 is made up of two 10s and seven units (or ones)
Where can you get some Mathlink Cubes?
So there you go. Just some of the ways we have been enjoying playing with the Mathlink cubes and using them to help support our children during home learning.
What other ways can you think of? I’d love to know.
If you want to get hold of a set, you can purchase them here from Learning Resources for just £11.50. I’m tempted to order us another pack…