We have very few math manipulatives, but will be spending some of our grant money to purchase some within the next month or so. In the meantime, what are some easy ways to "make" or substitute for base 10 blocks (to use when teaching carrying, borrowing, etc.)?

I used to use beans and popsicle sticks. Single beans were units, then the students would glue 10 beans to a popsicle stick to represent tens, make a raft of 10 tens for hundreds and stack 10 rafts to represent thousands. The students really enjoyed the project and it seemed to help the concept of 10 ones = 10, 10 tens = 1 hundred etc. Now we have many manipulatives so I don't do this except with the students who have trouble with this concept.

We have laminated cards. One is red with 100 squares, then we have yellow strips that have 10 squares(they were cut from the 100 template so they match), then individual green squares. A little timeconsuming to make but cheap and work great.