What are math manipulatives?

I had heard the term, but had to do some checking to define it.  What are math manipulatives?  Most homeschool math curriculum is in the form of textbooks or workbooks, which doesn’t give kids much experience with hands-on math skills.  Even if you do an online math program, the images on the screen are still two dimensional.  Some children learn great that way, but kinesthetic or “hands-on” learners can really benefit from math manipulatives.

Manipulatives are things like base-ten blocks to learn about decimals, or a pretend pizza pie to teach about fractional parts, or a toy clock with moveable hands for learning to tell time.   Real objects that can be touched, counted, or moved can really help reinforce the lesson.  Even something like a thermometer is easier for some kids to understand if they can hold it and look at it up close, rather than seeing pictures of one.