RightStart™ Manipulatives

What’s so special about the manipulatives used for the RightStart™ Mathematics program? Let’s run through the list.


AL AbacusThis abacus has 100 beads and is grouped in 5s and 10s using color. It is different from the Chinese abacus, the Japanese abacus, and “play” abacuses (where each string of beads is a different color). Both sides of the abacus are used in different ways.

Six Special Decks of CardsBasic cards (0 to 10), multiplication cards, fraction cards, money cards, clock cards, and Corners™ cards make up the six decks. Notice that the cards are just the numbers without any distractions.

Fraction ChartsOne plastic fraction chart stays intact and a second chart is pre-cut to allow  the child to manipulate the individual pieces. Very importantly, this chart includes the 1/7ths and 1/9ths. It is also one color so that the student doesn’t associate a specific fraction with a specific color and encourages the “mixing and matching” of fractions without the constraints of color.

Abacus TilesThese tiles are a representation of 100 beads entered on the AL Abacus, allowing for a child to see numbers beyond one hundred.

Geometry PanelsWe make these ourselves. Kids love these!

Place Value CardsAdaptation from Montessori’s decimal cards.

Goniometer (Angle Measurer): This tools measures angles and is exclusive to RightStart Math.

Drawing SetThese pieces can all be found individually elsewhere and we assemble this kit in our warehouse. Triangles and the T-square are transparent for ease of use.

Base-Ten CardsThese drawings represent ones, tens, hundreds, and thousands with the groupings of five to allow for quick recognition of quantities. Images align with the AL Abacus bead grouping. Other base ten cards, stamps, and/or blocks ignore the grouping in fives.

Yellow is the Sun CDWe make these ourselves, although you can download the song online and the music is in the back of the teacher’s manual.

Side note: All these exclusive and special items are all made in the USA, most in North Dakota, with the exception of a few items in the Drawing Set.


Math Balance: Pegs for the balance are on both sides of the balance arm which allows for twice as many weights to be hung on a number making addition and multiplication a breeze.

Centimeter CubesOur centimeter cubes weigh one gram. This is an important aspect for RS2!

Geometry Solids: This set consists of 12 beautiful wooden shapes and each is used in the curriculum.

4-in-1 RulerThis ruler measures in centimeters, millimeters, and inches in sixteenths. What makes this ruler special is inches divided into tenths! When a calculation calls for 4.3 inches, the student can precisely measure and draw 4.3 inches, rather than approximating.

Colored 1” Square Tiles: We had a hard time finding tiles that were consistently one inch square. Sadly, there was a LOT of variance. We have these tiles made in the USA now and have the precision needed. Quantities are 50 in four different colors.

Geoboards: These come two to a set. Pegs need to be 7 x 7. Many geoboards are 5 x 5 which will not allow for enough space for the children to do their lesson work.

Casio Calculator SL-450s: This child-friendly calculator has a quirk that allows for skip counting, so the SL-450s is needed.

Mini-Clock: This clock is geared, which means the hour hand will appropriately follow the minute hand as it is moved.

TangramsTangrams can be found in all sizes and colors. Many other tangrams have rounded corners making measuring a challenge. RightStart™ provides two sets with two different colors and have sharp and precise edges. Lessons in RS2 reference the two colors.


Tally Sticks: These are craft sticks. If you have some around the house, that will work! You will need 55 sticks.

Plastic Coins: As long as you have 30 pennies, 20 nickels, 20 dimes, 20 quarters, and 4 half-dollars, you’re ready to go. Canadian coins are also available.

Folding Meter StickAny meter stick will work. Ours folds simply for convenience.

Geometry ReflectorThis handy reflector creates reflections. It is made of transparent material, so it can also been seen through for additional comparisons. A rectangular hand-held mirror will also the trick.


We’re all for saving money. I’m right in there with you all! If I can shave off a penny here and a dollar there, I’m a happy girl. So, let’s say you can find some of these manipulatives at a second hand store, discount store, or borrow from your friend. That’s fantastic. But then you still need the rest of the items.

The RightStart™ Math Set has a significant discount savings. So, unless you have an amazing treasure of manipulatives at your fingertips, it’s usually cheaper to buy the kits because of the healthy discounts incorporated into the kit pricing.

If you’re wanting to see it all the manipulatives, check out this video where Eileen opens the RS2 Math Set and helps identify all the items.

Don’t forget to check out the Super Saver Math Set too!



  1. Hilary Millikan says

    I am planning to homeschool my Kindergartener and then send him back to public school for 1st grade. So I ONLY Need manipulatives for Level A and B. Can you help me know if I need the big kit Math Set or the Super Saver kit? 🙂

    Thank you!

    • Rachel Anderson says

      Hi, Hilary. My name is Rachel and I am happy to help you today.

      Thank you for your post.

      For Levels A and B, you will use almost all of the manipulatives in the RS2 Math Set. The only manipulatives you will NOT need are:

      Drawing Board Set
      Folding Meter Stick

      It is actually less expensive for you to get the RS2 Math Set than to order all the items separately. You could choose to order the Super Saver Set, but that comes with the Drawing Board Set.

      Here are a couple of purchasing options:

      Level A Book Bundle
      Level B Book Bundle
      RS2 Math Set


      Level A Book Bundle
      Level B Book Bundle
      Super Saver Math Set (you can also use the Downloadable File with this)
      Geometric Solids
      Plastic Coins (or you can use your own)
      Geometry Panels
      Geometry Reflector (or you can use a small mirror)
      Casio Calculator 450 (or you can use your own calculator)
      Geared Clock
      Tally Sticks

      I hope that helps. Of course, if you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to email me back. I am happy to help.

      Have a fabulous school year!

  2. Heather Farmer says

    Hi I have a 12 year old son who is starting 6th grade. He grasps concepts very well but does not know his facts well at all. We have tried lots of things but I am thinking I need a different approach. My question is what will he use as far as manipulative moving forward from level d. I do not want to spend a lot of money on manipulative that he will not be using.

    • Rachel Anderson says

      Hi, Heather. My name is Rachel and I am happy to help you.

      Thank you for your post.

      For Level D, your child will use all of the items except: Base-10 picture cards (will use in Level F, though), Geoboards (will use in Levels E and F), Tally Sticks (Will use in Level F, though) and the compass, which is part of the drawing set – which your child will need for Level D.

      Level E – your child will use everything EXCEPT: Base-10 picture cards, Abacus tiles, Tally sticks, Yellow is the Sun CD

      Level F – your child will use everything EXCEPT: Geometry reflector, Geared clock, Yellow is the Sun CD.

      I hope that helps. Let me know if you need anything else.

      Have a great day!

  3. Hi! I am unhappy with the math curriculum I purchased already that came with a large manipulative kit. I’d like to switch to RightStart but can’t afford to buy everything all over again. Can you tell me what manipulative are needed for Level C and I’ll know if I already have them and what I need to purchase.

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