Small counters and sewing cards are excellent grocery manipulatives.


Any items that assist in the development of small motor control can be a manipulative item. Typically these are puzzles, counters, sewing cards, even Legos and other small, connecting building items. By focusing on the theme, it is easy to create grocery manipulatives.

Fruit counters

* Egg cartons* use for creating patterns or counting

Fruit Counters

* Pieces of foam rubber, 2 – 4 inches thick and 12 – 18 inches square* Cut slits in even rows along the top of the piece of the foam rubber approximately 1” deep * Push pieces of fruit into foam rubber to “plant”* Add miniature farmer and/or tractor to enhance play

Transportation counters

* Ribbon or tape for roads

Cash register & money

Geo-board garden plans* 8”x8” piece of ½ “ plywood* Hammer nails into the plywood ¼ “ deep in rows 1” apart * Nail heads should extend from the board evenly* Use fabric loops or large, colorful rubber bands to create designs on the boards* Store the geo-boards and loops separately

Sewing cards (fruits and vegetables, transportation)* Cut out pictures of fruits and vegetables* Glue on sturdy but light-weight cardboard and cut to shape* Using a hole punch, punch holes around the edges of the picture* Use a shoe lace or length of yarn with taped ends to sew around the cards

Puzzles* Cut out pictures of fruits and vegetables* Glue on sturdy but light-weight cardboard * Cut into pieces to create a puzzle

String seed necklaces* Soak pumpkin or sunflower seed in water to soften* Using a plastic needle, string the seeds together to make a necklace* Allow to dry

Stringing fruit and vegetable shaped beads* Purchase beads or make them from colorful plasticine clay * With a small (coffee stirrer)straw, bore a hole through the fruit bead* Allow to dry* Connect with lace, ribbon, string or yarn

Go to Grocery Unit from grocery manipulatives

Go to Grocery Art

Go to Grocery Math

Go to Grocery Dramatic Play

Go to Grocery Science

Go to Grocery Outdoor Games

Go to Grocery Materials List