Math Mats Free Printables & A Mega List of Manipulative Ideas

If you are looking for math mats to practice addition and subtraction, then I have just the free printables for you! In this post I have also included my mega list of math manipulative ideas, many of which you may already have in your home. So, keep reading to find out more.

Math Mats Free Printables

The best teachers know that using visuals is imperative to teaching basic mathematics. Students need visual representations to help them understand the processes of adding to and taking away. These addition and subtraction math mats are a great way to help children learn and practice adding and subtracting.

All of the math mat pages are available in one easy to download PDF file at the bottom of the post.

Each page includes 2 large boxes on which to place manipulatives (see below for more information and examples) and 3 boxes at the bottom to write an equation to represent your math problem.

There are 3 color formats:

  • Black and white format (which is great if you want to save ink or don’t have access to a colored printer)
  • Colored border format (which provides some color contrast without being too taxing on your printer)
  • Color filled format (which provide a greater area of color contrast)

On the colored math mats, the color of the manipulative box is the same as the corresponding box in the equation at the bottom of the page. This helps your child make connections and develop a visual understanding for writing math equations.

These mats were designed with a variety of learners in mind (including those who are typically developing as well as those with visual impairments, learning disabilities, and/or other special needs). So, feel free to use whichever option works best for you and your child.


Manipulatives can be any small object your child would enjoy counting. (Of course, always supervise young children and be mindful of safety for any child who may place small items in his/her mouth.) If mouthing is a concern, I would definitely recommend using small edibles that you don’t mind your child consuming.

Here is my mega list of fun math manipulative ideas:

  • Edibles:
    • Dry snacks like cereal, crackers, pumpkin seeds, or pretzels
    • Small sweets (gummies, jelly beans, marshmallows, chocolate chips, etc.)
    • Fruit (such as blueberries or raisins)
  • Craft Items:
    • Buttons
    • Pom poms
    • Cotton balls
    • Little bells (My pick for Christmas time!)
    • Craft jewels
    • Little foam shapes
    • Googly eyes
    • Dry pasta
  • Small Blocks
  • Math Linking Cubes: If I could only recommend one math tool to anyone teaching primary level math, it would be these. We use them everyday for math instruction and practice at my house. You can buy them from many online retailers, such as Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target, etc.
  • Coins: Teach money value at the same time by having your child add and subtract coins. (In Georgia, it’s actually a kindergarten math standard to count with pennies.) I recommend using real coins whenever possible. In my opinion (and based on my experience), real coins feel and look different enough that some children may find it difficult to generalize their understanding from fake coins to real ones. However, you know your child better than anyone else. So, use what works for you and your learner.
  • Game pieces:
    • Pawns from your child’s favorite board games
    • Bingo markers
    • Chess and/or Checkers pieces
    • Barrel of Monkey pieces (These are great when working between 0 and 10.)
    • Poker chips
  • Toys and Accessories:
    • Small figurines
    • Little cars, trains, or trucks
    • Hair clips/barrettes
    • Marbles
    • Bouncy balls
    • Finger rings
    • Hair ties
    • Glow sticks
    • Doll accessories
    • Finger puppets
    • Mini nail polishes
    • Lip gloss/lip balm
  • Office Supplies:
    • Fun shaped erasers
    • Crayons
    • Mini markers
    • Paper clips
    • Small rubber bands

If you would like to reuse these math mats…

These printable math mats are easy to laminate. Then, you can use washable markers and crayons on the laminated pages. (Crayola washable markers and washable crayons are my go-tos, and you can find them at your local grocery store.) Just wipe the laminated pages clean with a damp paper towel, baby wipe, or cloth, and it’s ready to reuse.

Details for Downloading

Click on the link below to download the PDF file. Save it to your device, and print as many as you like.

These pages are free for non-commercial use.  You are free to use them at home, in your classroom, etc.

If you would like to share this free printable with others, please share a link to my website.

You may not use or reproduce these pages or images for profitable purposes. (See terms and conditions.)

Math Mats PDF File

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Thanks for visiting today! Happy learning!

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