Mathematics manipulatives are essential in teaching math because:

they help to make abstract ideas concrete. Math manipulatives provide children ways to construct physical models of abstract mathematical ideas. According to Piaget’s theory, a child is an active learner who masters concepts through the progress of three level of knowledge - concrete, pictorial and abstract. Concrete manipulative is the first step for our children to explore and understand about math concept.

they are useful tools for problem solving by allowing students to experience solving problems in different ways.

they build students' confidence. Children understandings become more robust when they put their thoughts into physical concrete evidence for testing.