Place Value Manipulatives for 2nd Grade

Place value is one of the most important math concepts taught in 2nd grade. It is the foundation upon which greater number sense skills are built. The key to helping your students develop a concrete understanding of this concept while staying engaged is to use place value manipulatives in your lessons. Read on to discover my must have math manipulatives for place value instruction.   

Place Value Manipulatives for 2nd Grade


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Place Value Pocket Chart

Using a place value pocket chart in your classroom is an effective way to practice place value throughout the entire year, not just during your place value unit. You can use this place value chart to keep track of the number of days in school during your morning meeting time. The more exposure students get with this concept, the better. 

During your place value instruction, you can use this pocket chart to model different numbers. You can even have students draw a number card and then model the number using the place value chart as part of your whole group mini lesson or small group activities.  

Place value pocket chart

Place Value Flip Chart

A place value flip chart is another effective visual aid for teaching place value in 2nd grade. The color-coded cards give students the ability to differentiate the ones, tens, hundreds, and thousands place. Students can use this place value flip chart to solve problems and explore various number forms. 

For example, students can model a number on the chart and then write on a piece of paper or in their interactive math notebook what the standard form, expanded form, word form, and picture form is.  

Place value flip chart

Place Value Mats

Another great place value manipulative to keep on hand are place value mats. Students can use these mats to sort base ten blocks or place value disks when building numbers. This offers a great visual for them to organize their thinking.

These place value mats and number cards can be found in my 2nd Grade Place Value unit as well as the 1st grade and 3rd grade place value units.

Place value mats with number cards

Base Ten Blocks

Base ten blocks are one of the best math manipulatives for 2nd grade. They can be used for a variety of place value activities, including modeling numbers, building numbers, skip counting, number sense, and more. 

I love using base ten blocks with my Make It Different Ways place value activity to help students visualize the various ways that numbers can be built. 

Base ten blocks place value manipulatives

Magnetic Base Ten Blocks

In addition to having hands-on base ten blocks for practicing place value, it’s also great to have a giant magnetic set of base ten blocks in your classroom. This allows you to model numbers for your students during your whole group mini lessons or small group instruction. 

It also helps you show students HOW to use base ten blocks. Your students can follow along and build numbers with their set of base ten blocks while you use the magnetic set on the board. 

This makes it fun to call students to the front of the room to model numbers and solve problems using the magnetic set. This makes them feel so special and excited!

Magnetic base ten place value manipulatives

Place Value Disks

When it comes to math manipulatives for 2nd grade, place value disks are another staple. They are easy to store, versatile, and provide a ton of options for differentiation. These disks go up to the millions place, which is a great option for advanced learners. 

Place value disks can be used interchangeably with base ten blocks. Another fun way to use this place value manipulative is to have students put a small handful of place value disks in a cup. Have them shake the cup and spill the disks. Once they organize the disks into the correct categories of ones, tens, hundreds, thousands, etc, they can determine what the number is and write it in number for or other forms. 

Place value disks

Place Value Dice

If you know me, then you know I am slightly obsessed with dice! They are by far my absolute favorite math manipulative. When I found these place value dice, I was instantly in love. There are 24 dice in this set, all with 10-sides each. There are dice ranging up to the thousands place, making these perfect to use alongside your place value lessons for 2nd grade. 

Students can roll various combinations of dice to build numbers and record them. These place value dice can also be used alongside hands-on place value activities such as Roll it! Make it! Expand it! in my 2nd grade place value guided math unit. 

Place value dice

Unifex Cubes

One of the most versatile math manipulatives for 2nd grade and even younger students are unifex cubes. Unifex cubes help students build number sense, skip count, and learn the value of numbers. 

As they explore with unifex cubes, they understand that 1 cube has a value of one, 1 stick of 10 cubes has a value of 1 ten, and so on. Students can even transfer unifex cubes and sticks of ten onto ten frames to show larger numbers. 

Unifex cubes place value manipulatives

Dry Erase Place Value Answer Board

When teaching place value for 2nd grade, students not only need to be able to visualize numbers broken down using hands-on manipulatives, but they also need to be able to break them down in writing. 

These dry erase place value answer boards are perfect for small group instruction. Students can represent the value of numbers using the columns on the board that go up to the millions place.

To help them connect the learning, they can use place value disks or base ten blocks to build the number and then record the answer on their board. 

Use these boards along with these Mystery Pop task cards so they can find and show their answer.

Place value dry erase answer boards

Place Value Activity Cards

Place value is a skill that requires a lot of practice and engaging math lessons using manipulatives. These place value activity cards come with 50 different double-sided activity cards to help you teach place value in a fun way. 

You can put all of your place value manipulatives to good use as you incorporate them into these place value activities. These are perfect to use during your small group lessons or whole group mini lessons.

Place value activities using manipulatives

Math Stacks Place Value Games

One of my favorite ways to practice place value is with this fun Math Stacks place value game. Whenever you can incorporate games into your place value lesson plans, the better!

In this game, students take turns drawing cards and using their place value knowledge to find the correct stack to add it to. Once a 4-card stack is made, that student keeps the stack. The player with the most math stacks wins! This is a great way to practice the various forms of numbers. 

Math Stacks place value manipulative game

I hope these place value manipulatives help inspire you as you plan your place value lesson plans for 2nd grade. For more ideas and lesson plans, check out my 2nd grade place value guided math unit

Need more activities, math read alouds, and games for teaching place value? Check out my 2nd Grade Place Value Activities blog post

Looking for a set of free printable math manipulatives for your students to keep in their desk or at home? Fill out the form below to get these delivered straight to your inbox for FREE!

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Place Value Manipulatives for 2nd Grade
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