# Improve Math and Fine Motor Skills with Snap Cubes Manipulatives

My middle son is both artistic and a hands-on learner. I have been looking all summer for a way to help him improve his math skills and explore his creative side as well. I found Snap Cubes® and loved how they linked together on multiple faces of the cube, increasing all the creative possibilities! They reminded me of one of my sons’ favorite shows where cubes teach kids about numbers and math. I knew my son would make the connection between the show and the cubes immediately.

When the Snap Cubes arrived, my son was really excited. I had told him something was coming that we could use to work on his math skills, and he couldn’t wait for them to arrive. I opened the box, and he wanted to play with them immediately! A couple of days later, I brought the Snap Cubes out for all the boys to play with. We started by watching their favorite show together and stacking the Snap Cubes to match the numbers on the show. My youngest two practiced some simple math equations. For example, they started with a stack of two and another stack of three, then stacked the sets together. Next, they counted the new stack and found they now had 5 cubes. I pointed out to them that they had just learned 2 + 3 = 5!

After a couple of episodes of the show, the boys wanted to build with the Snap Cubes. So, I set them up at their creation table, and they started building. I encouraged them to each build their own designs, as my younger two boys tend to copy their oldest brother.

As each one finished, they ran to me to show me their creation. My youngest one came to me with the first builda wall! He was so proud as he showed me what he had made with his little fouryearold hands. He even held his wall up against the wall of our house to compare the two!

You can tell from the picture that not all his cubes are tightly connected, since he is still developing his fine motor skills. Another plus of the Snap Cubes is that connecting them requires the use of fine motor muscles which are essential for writing. So, while he’s building and playing, he is also working on his prewriting skills. As his hands get stronger, the Snap Cubes will be connected closer together, and he will have the muscles needed for writing!

My middle son was finished next, and he came to me with such excitement! He had built a windmill that spun and had a special handle to help you hold it.

While he was building, he figured out that if he connected the Snap Cubes in a specific way, he could make one of them spin! After his discovery, my son then connected cubes on the outer surfaces of the cube to make the windmill blades. While I didn’t watch his discovery process, I can imagine he had a lot of trial and error before coming to his final design. Even the handle design likely involved trial and error, in order to find a way for the windmill to spin without the hand holding the windmill constantly being hit by the blades. I love the engineering he put into make his windmill, and his excitement over his accomplishment!

My oldest finished last, and I wondered why he was taking so long. Then he came around the corner and showed me what he made, and I could see why—he had built a helicopter!

His helicopter included both the main and tail rotor, along with landing skids. He also made sure both rotors could freely rotate without hitting each other. He was so proud of his design that he was inspired to build even more.

My kids love the Snap Cubes! Though we’ve only had them for a short time, the boys have all created so many different things. They have even used them to conduct science experiments! Who knew something as simple as a cube could build kids’ fine motor skills, spatial recognition, and self-confidence?

3 months ago
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