While you can use the non self-adhesive foam sheets, I personally like to use the self-adhesive. This way if I choose to use a template, I can easily attach the template to the foam sheets and then easily cut my manipulatives.
I love these for a number of reasons. First, they came in a package of 30 for one dollar. Second, who wouldn't love a classroom set of dice that can't be heard???? These cubes can serve multiple purposes. Create the traditional die, a die with numbers, fractions, or operation symbols. You name it, you can make it!
DIY Colored Tiles
Colored tiles can be made with these foam sheets by simply cutting squares. I happened to have a circle punch, so I cut my tiles using this fancy tool.
DIY Place Value Disk
Like the colored tiles, these place value disks were cut using my circle punch. Then, using a permanent marker I color coded the disks according to place value.
DIY Number Tiles
This is where the adhesive sheets and the template comes in handy, but isn't necessary. I'm a little bit of a perfectionist, so I wanted my numbers to be nice and neat. I printed the template, adhered it to the back of the foam sheet, and then cut out the numbers.
DIY Pattern Blocks
To create the pattern blocks, a template was used. Once again not necessary, but it ensured that the polygons were regular polygons.
DIY Tangram Pieces
These tangram pieces were created using a template.
DIY Fraction Bars
These fraction bars were also created using a template. Using a template for the bars was extremely important, because they needed to depict wholes, halves, thirds, fourths, fifths, etc., accurately in order for them to teach fractions correctly.
You can grab the templates mentioned above HERE.
These are just a handful of manipulatives that can be created using these foam sheets and cubes. I'm sure there are many other uses for these that the creative teacher in you can put to use!