Snap Cubes verses Base Ten Set

I was recently asked if I had to choose between our Snap Cubes and our Base Ten set which one would I choose.  That is a really tough question.  We use both resources a LOT in our Maths activities but I will try to break down how we use each one and what my thought are on each set.

I will start with our snap cubes.  We bought the  Learning Resources Snap Cubes (Set of 100)-the 100 cubes are broken down into 10 cubes in 10 different colours.  This was one of the first Maths Resources that I bought for my daughter and we have been using it ever since.  I used our snap cubes with both my kids as a way of helping them learn their numbers. We did lots of match the correct number of snap cubes to the correct number type activity when they were little. (The photo below includes numbered dinosaurs which are free to download from Twink here – Numbers 0-20 on Dinosaurs)

We also used them as a way of creating pattens and (2 red followed by 1 green then 2 red and 1 green and what comes next ? – that type of activity)

And all types of basic maths like – number bonds, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, greater than and less than.  .

In fact both my kids use them on such a regular basis that our container of snap cubes stays semi permanently on their working area so they always know where it is.

My only regret about the snap cubes is that I did not buy the bigger set (you can get a set of 500 – Learning Resources Snap Cubes (Set of 500)).  With hindsight I think this bigger set would have been a brilliant investment.  We could then use them for numbers / sums over 100 and the bigger set would be nice for my two as they like to work on activities together.

We bought our snap cube set for about £7 over four years ago and I have definitely got my money’s worth.  I really do think the snap cube set is great for younger kids who are learning numbers / basic sums.  They like the colours and the fact they can click the subes together to build numbers.

The Base Ten Set that I bought is just the straight forward basic starter set – Learning Resources Grooved Plastic Base Ten Starter Set.  I probably bought ours about two years ago and I can see us still using it for many years to come (definitely had our money’s worth in our household already).  The Base Ten set allows you to do everything you can do with the snap cubes except for the patterns and our set is all one colour (there is more colourful option available).  In my mind the base ten set is aimed at slightly older kids than the snap cubes as it allows the kids to work on numbers and sums that go into the thousands.  For me the BIG bonus is the visual representation of numbers.  The way a one, a ten, a hundred and a thousand are visually represented.  This was a massive thing for my daughter who is a very visual learner.

She does miss the tactile input she receives from using her snap cub set (she likes clicking the cubes together) but the visual way the base 10 set helps her understand larger numbers and sums has been a game changer for her.  Working on place value and understanding certain number relationships (like 4+5 = 9 so 44+5 is just 40 more) is so much easier when the kid can see it in front of them. (Photo below includes a place value card from Twinkl which is part of their paid for package)

Having the Base 10 set in the house has given my daughter more independence when she is trying to work on maths problems as she is able to visually set out the problem and then figure out the answer for herself.

I personally think if you can not invest in both then it depends of what stage of Maths your kids are at.  If it is still basic understanding numbers/ patterns then snap cubes but if they are dealing with larger numbers than Base 10. I do think long-term both my kids will still be using our base 10 set for years to come whereas the snap cubes, my daughter is already not using them as much (but then we did get the set of 100 and not the set of 500 and I do think that makes a big difference is terms of how long the kids will use them for).

This post is my personal opinion.  No-one asked me to write it.  Both the snap cube set and the Base Ten set were purchased by our family as maths resources for our children to use in their home-education.

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