I truly believe the best way to teach math is through hands-on learning! Not only is it fun & engaging, but it’s also a proven learning method for students. There are a variety of math manipulatives ones can use when teaching mathematical strategies!
However, we all know that with hands-on learning comes much STUFF! Dice, cubes, counters, calculators…the list goes on!
Let’s be honest…as teachers, we tend to be somewhat of hoarders anyways so don’t try to tell me you don’t enjoy having all of the pretty, colorful things in your classroom! 😉
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having these pretty, colorful manipulatives, but the question then becomes “Where do I put it all?” “How do I organize all of this stuff?”.
Allow me to let you in on a little secret! Two things will soon become your very best friend…BINS and LABELS (LOTS of labels)! Let me share four simple ways that you can organize your math manipulatives.
4 Types of Organization
1. Plastic Shoe Box Containers
I always suggest to keep each manipulative or “math tool” separate and not mix them together. This makes it much easier to label and find them quickly when you are in a hurry.
Transparent plastic shoe box containers that students can see into are perfect for any age! Don’t be afraid to grab these at your local Family Dollar store or you can grab this 20 pack of them here on Amazon!
2. Storage Drawer Cart
This storage drawer cart is one of my most FAVORITE organization tools EVER! Not only is it super handy, but the bright colors just make me smile! It’s perfect for keeping your math manipulatives perfectly organized.
Make sure each drawer has it’s own label so that you aren’t trying to pull every drawer out just to find one item!
3. Individual Size Cups
Small baby food containers work great for individual manipulatives.
Check out my blog post here in which I show you exactly how I use these storage containers to keep my money manipulatives organized for various games and small groups!
4. Math Tubs
Several years ago I started using math manipulative tubs in my classroom! If you’ve never used them before, they are a GAME CHANGER!
Essentially, they are a clear plastic shoebox container like mentioned above, but they tend to hold more than one manipulative inside. For organization purposes, each manipulative is stored inside a Ziplock bag.
These tubs can save so much of time during your math block, but be sure to include a label of exactly what is inside of it!
As you can see, it really doesn’t matter what kind of plastic container or tub you use, as long as it’s clear and easy to label for you and your students!