Virtual Manipulatives!




Kids get hands on with fractions; guidance needed at first.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Virtual Manipulatives has simple instructions on the opening screen, but kids will need guidance to learn how to use the tools. Once they understand, it's easy to move the tools around -- just touch them and drag them wherever you want. 

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable

A small "more apps" button, when tapped, asks if you want to visit the apps in iTunes. Choosing "yes" will take you out of the app and into the App Store. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that kids -- especially those unfamiliar with fraction bars -- will need an adult's help to get started with Virtual Manipulatives. The app is simply the use of manipulatives to help kids visually understand the relationships among percentages, fractions, and decimals. Used with support, this visually engaging math app can help kids grasp a concept that can be difficult for many children. 

What kids can learn



  • fractions

Engagement, Approach, Support


The app is well designed and colorful. Once kids understand how to use the tool, they'll find it to be helpful.

Learning Approach

Just as with real-life manipulatives, the visual representation with fraction bars (or circles) can help kids build an understanding of a challenging concept.    


Simple directions help kids navigate the app, but there's no real instructional support for kids, parents, or teachers.

What kids can learn



  • fractions

Kids can learn about fractions, equivalency, and comparing decimals and percentages with Virtual Manipulatives. The color-coded barsor pie shapes snap together, and when clicked, an equivalent will appear in a bubble to support learning of equivalencies. In each of the three categories (percents, fractions, and decimals), colors are the same. For example, 1/5 is the same green color as .2 or 20 percent. With an adult's guidance, kids can use Virtual Manipulatives to help build their understanding of some challenging math concepts.

This Learning Rating review was written by ADK AccessAbility

What's it about?

Kids will need a grown-up's help in the beginning to understand how to manipulate the tabs and bars (or circles, if you choose) to show the connections among fractions, decimals, and percentages. After the initial learning curve, kids will be able to snap boxes together and line them up to convert percentages, fractions, and decimals with independence.

Is it any good?


VIRTUAL MANIPULATIVES is a solid math app with a focused purpose: to help learners visually understand the relationships among percentages, fractions, and decimals. Kids who use fraction bars/tiles at school will probably know what to do with the app and may find it to be a great homework helper. Otherwise, you'll need to explain the how and why for using this tool before kids will get much out of it. This is where the app falls short: It doesn't offer any guidance to parents on how to use the app with their kids.

But if you're able to meet that challenge, Virtual Manipulatives can make a tough concept a bit more easy to understand for kids with a variety of learning styles, with visual representations that kids can use their hands to manipulate. It's colorful, well designed, and free, making it a good addition to your math apps collection.

Families can talk about...

  • Support kids with an initial demonstration of equivalency and conversions; you'll need to use sources outside the app for tips.

  • Encourage kids to make "pizza" using the pie-shaped pieces or "candy bars" with the bars to discover that the more parts in a whole, the smaller the individual pieces.

App details

Pricing structure:Free
Release date:July 5, 2012
Size:3.80 MB
Minimum software requirements:iOS 3.2 or later

This review of Virtual Manipulatives! was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

Top advice and articles

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide