Explore Tubs – Set Two {freebies included}

Well hello there!  I am back with an all new set of explore tubs!!!  I mentioned back at the beginning of the new school year that I would be swapping out read to someone for “explore” during my daily five!  I really felt that I needed to bring back some more hands-on activities AKA “fun” to daily five…not that work work and listening to read aren’t awesome, but who are we kidding….they are not necessarily the fun that our kids are wanting!

You can read about my first set of explore tubs HERE.  I used those tubs for the first month of school…I don’t usually go a month before swapping out something, but the kids only go to explore every other day so with 8 tubs to choose from they rarely had to do the same tub unless they wanted!  Okay off to our new explore tubs…

TUB ONE: Fine motor work with pumpkin seeds!  Oh yes…go me for the season win!  You can snag these pumpkin mats for free HERE!  I purchased the seeds at the dollar tree and the fine motor tweezers were purchased in a set from Amazon..found HERE.

Tub Two: Fine motor work with perler beads!  I purchased the larger perler beads from Amazon HERE.  I went with the larger beads just because they can also be used with pipe cleaners and they are a little better to grab for those little fingers!  These perler bead motor mats are part of my Fine Motor packet!

Tub Three: Now this explore tub is a little out of my teacher comfort zone, but it has been the biggest hit so far!  I purchased an assortment of locks from the dollar store and the smaller ones from Walmart.  I then placed all of the keys onto one binder ring and the kiddos get to crack the mystery of opening the locks!

Tub Four: Tub four is an easy and cheap fine motor/learning tub!  For this tub I purchased a thing of oats for $1 and then tore off the name…I also three in some colored popsicle sticks from the dollar store and a number cube!  My husband cut a slit into the lid.  The kiddos roll the number cube and place that many sticks into the container!
Tub Five: For this explore tub I purchased this larger water bottle from the dollar store, but really any size water bottle would work great!  I just liked this one because it was a little sturdier 😉  The kiddos will use the fine motor tweezers to remove the pom poms from the larger tub to the water bottle!

Tub Six: I kept my playdoh tub but now with a little more of a purpose!  I stumbled across this great tutorial video for this explore tub HERE.  I then screen shot a still from the video to leave in the tub for my kiddos to remind them how to use it!  We all know their ideas for playdoh can be quite imaginative 😉  
Tub Seven: For this explore tub I threw in some lacing cards!  I was surprised that these were also a hit!  These are perfect to build those little fingers nice and strong! 🙂
Tub Eight: Tub eight sure got their attention HA!  For this explore tub the kiddos will use clothes pin to put on hair for each of the silly faces!  Clothes pins are great for fine motor and especially building up a strong pinching motion!  You can download these silly faces for free HERE!
I also have a few other quick ideas that I will use to swap out for mid-month!  I purchased these hole punchers for a $1 each and will be leaving scraps in an explore tub for kiddos to work on hole punching!
I also added these mats to my Fine Motor packet!  The kiddos will build playdoh snakes and roll mini playdoh balls!
I also whipped up these pipe cleaner shape cards!  You could also use these for the perler beads, stickers, or playdoh!  You can download them for free HERE!
As I mentioned above I do also have a fine motor mats packet if you’re needing additional ideas!  You can check it out here or by clicking below!  Have a great week!


  1. Hi Tara,

    Could you share when you use these explore tubs? Are they a part of your literacy/ math center time, or a completely different choice on their own?


  2. These look fun! I've done the hole punch; that was a favorite. I also have a ton of lacing cards, but no one ever wants to do those. Have you ever had anyone spill the beads? Just about everyday the tub gets tipped over and beads go everywhere! The kids love to look for them, especially when I'm teaching and they spot one across the room and feel the need to interrupt to say they found one!

  3. I love your blog! I am prepping my tubs right now to use instead of morning work. I teach 1/2 day kindergarten so we don't have time for Daily 5. Will you continue to put more of your explore tub ideas on your blog please?

    1. Hi there! In the post you’ll see some pictures of the centers stored in containers from the Dollar Tree! All of the items could be stored in those for the year especially the cards that are on the rings!

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