Here’s a simple math manipulative for kids who are learning to add and subtract!

Owen is in kindergarten, but he wants to have a math assignment every day just like his brothers. He reminds me if I forget! I made him this “calculator” by stringing pony beads onto a pipe cleaner. Large beads glued onto the ends keep the pony beads from falling off.

Kindergarten Calculator

The pipe cleaner provides enough friction with the beads that it’s easy for young kids to set up their math problem without the beads sliding around.

2 beads + 8 beads… slide them together and it’s 10 beads!

Addition and Subtraction Tool for Kids

I love a simple solution!


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  2. Amanda Matheny Nov 12, 2014

    This is a great idea! It's like a simple, cheap, and easy to make abacus for early math learners. I love it and should try this with my son.

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  4. Valerie Lui Nov 16, 2014

    This is a great idea.

  5. Gulcin Alpoge Nov 19, 2014

    This calculator idea can also be fun for girls.

  6. Nan Jay Barchowsky Nov 19, 2014

    This is great fine motor practice and just the prep needed for handwriting. He is using exactly the same fingers that he should when holding a writing tool. I'll bet his hands are more relaxed here than when he tries to make all those different 62 alphanumeric shapes. He needs a relaxed hand if his handwriting will ever become easy and fluent.

  7. Kimberly Edmondson Nov 20, 2014

    Thanks for the great idea! I am going to give my high functioning Life Skills class number beads and let them make their own number lines! They are going to love this! They can add decorative beads to the beginning and end :)


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