Rock Sums

Whether your child is just learning a new math concept or needs help reinforcing a skill, math manipulatives are always a big help. Manipulatives aren’t just a fancy new math term, nor is it something you need to run out and purchase.  It’s simply a group of small items used to illustrate a math concept. I’m teaming up with a group of bloggers to showcase ordinary items you probably already have at home and the fun ways you can use them to reinforce math concepts.
We’re using a basic item, rocks. With rocks, you can do math anywhere… in your house, in your backyard, on a camping trip, in the park. They’re easy to find. And, if your kids are anything like mine, you may already have a nice collection of rocks at home. We’re using them to reinforce addition skills, but they can be used in many other ways.
Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for more details.
My youngest daughter just finished kindergarten where they started learning the basics of addition. She understands the concept, but doesn’t have her facts memorized. (It’s a bit too early for that anyway.) Right now, the reinforcement she needs is to work on is the concept and manipulatives are perfect for the job.
How do we use the rocks? It’s simple. Check out the picture above. The problem we need to solve is 3 + 2. Add 3 rocks and then another 2 rocks. Add the rocks together and you have 5. Easy peasy.

Even before a child is writing the number sentences, they can start learning the basics with manipulatives. Make 2 piles of rocks and ask your child how many rocks they have all together. Or, start with a small group of 3 rocks. Ask your child to add 2 more to the pile, and then ask them how many they have all together. It can be a very simple way to sneak in a bit of math practice.

Other fun ways to use rocks:

*Practice subtraction. Start with a pile of 7 rocks and ask your child to take away 3 rocks. How many do they have left?

*Use the rocks to help when adding 3 or more numbers together.

*Do you have toddlers or preschoolers? Use them simply to learn how to count. Help them count a small pile of rocks. Or, ask them to collect 10 rocks.

Have you ever practiced math with rocks?


Illustrate math problems with rocks - a simple way to help kids who are learning addition.
Rocks aren’t the only fun everyday math manipulative you can use. Check out all the great ideas from a group of fantastic bloggers at this link, or on the image below.


The following two tabs change content below.
Terri is a writer and mom of two elementary-aged girls. She has a passion for learning and is always looking for ways to make learning fun. You can find her at Better Than Homework where she shares fun learning activities or Creative Family Fun where she shares art, craft, and family fun ideas.

Latest posts by Terri Thompson (see all)