Hi there and thanks so much for stopping in this mid-June week! I hope you are enjoying your SUMMER and you’ve been able to relax and take a teacher breather! Today I am here with something super “light” and FUN! Today’s post is all about hands-on exploration in our classrooms! A few years back I implemented explore/fine motor tubs in my classroom after I saw a drastic decline in my students’ fine motor skills. Oftentimes, my students were coming to school in August with little to no fine motor skills. I swapped “Read to Someone” during my Daily Five time with EXPLORE and it kept it there all year! I started with very hands-on and eventually added in academics to the explore tubs as well! You can read all about those original explore tub ideas *HERE*
This summer, one of my main to-do’s was get together a set of comprehensive exploration tubs so that you could go to ONE document for all of your explore needs and not have to track down items here and there! A lot of teachers asked me to create a set of exploration tubs for their morning work! Many teachers are wanting to go paper free for morning work and explore tubs are PERFECT for that! However, I also wanted the exploration tubs to be a great addition to any and all classrooms– not just those that do morning work! I actually LOVE what Mindy had to say about the exploration tubs implementation,
“I’m a kindergarten teacher, BUT… in my school there is not a lot of time for “play” type of activities. We do breakfast in the classroom and I don’t see why students wouldn’t LOVE many of these activities while they are waiting for their peers to finish eating. I could see them being used as an inside recess option, or to have in hand for students who are always working hard and just need something different. These could be used as a brain break.”
Mindy summed up many different ways that hands-on exploration tubs can be used beyond my use of them during daily five and that of morning work! My set of Hands-On Exploration Tubs are designed to offer an engaging and FUN way to explore! The packet can be used to strengthen fine motor skills, explore during morning work or used as supplemental math centers. The packet is broken down into 10 different activities. The activities are each designed to maximize student engagement and offer a chance for students to show their creativity. **Be sure to read to the end of the post where I give you a free sampler of all the activities below!**
The Hands-On Exploration Tubs packet includes 450+ task cards/mats. Each of the cards or mats are labeled with the manipulatives needed to complete the task. This packet uses a variety of common classroom manipulatives (snap cubes, pattern blocks, teddy bears, building blocks, fuzzy pom poms, geoboards and play dough).
The Hands-On Exploration Tubs packet includes two different sizes of labels for your containers. The containers used in the pictures can be purchased at the Dollar Tree. Each of the activities also include a detailed “I can” statement card. This card can be included in the tub to increase accountability. The task cards/mats are best used once printed on cardstock and/or laminated. You can place the smaller task cards on a metal binder ring. You will want to determine if you would like to offer all of the task cards at once, or you can introduce them over time to not overwhelm the students.
The tub I used are from Dollar Tree and can also be purchased online! The larger container is 14 x 10 and the smaller container is 10 x 10! A lot of teachers want to know if full size paper will fit in the larger container! It does but it will have to be in there slanted! If you want the paper to go in flat, just print it at a reduced 95% on your printer. I actually go over that print tip in **THIS** print tip video!
What is included in the Hands-On Exploration Tubs packet?
– 450+ task cards/mats (detailed list found below)
– activity labels (offered in two sizes)
– activity “I can” cards
This packet uses ALL real-life photographs!
What activities are included in the Hands-On Exploration Tubs packets?
Activity One: Build It In this activity students will get an opportunity to explore using pattern blocks. They will view the included picture card and recreate the “scene”. **50 cards included**
Activity Two: Band It In this activity students will get an opportunity to explore using geoboards and bands. They will view the included picture card and recreate the “scene”. **50 cards included**
Activity Three: Dough It In this activity students will get an opportunity to explore using play dough and play dough tools. They will view the included prompt card and then complete the task. **50 cards included**
Activity Four: Match It In this activity students will get an opportunity to explore using a variety of manipulatives. They will view the included prompt card and then “match” or “copy” the card with the exact creation. **50 cards included**
Activity Five: Pattern It In this activity students will get an opportunity to explore using a variety of manipulatives. They will view the included prompt card and recreate the same pattern using their manipulatives. **50 cards included**
Activity Six: Manipulate It In this activity students will get an opportunity to explore using pattern blocks. They will use pattern blocks to recreate the picture on the mat. **50 mats included**
Activity Seven: Tweeze It In this activity students will get an opportunity to explore using tweezers and fuzzy pom poms. They will use fuzzy pom poms to recreate the picture on the mat. **50 mats included**
Activity Eight: Snake It In this activity students will get an opportunity to explore using play dough. They will use play dough snakes to recreate the picture on the mat. **50 mats included**
Activity Nine: Cube It In this activity students will get an opportunity to explore using (snap) cubes. They will use (snap) cubes to recreate the picture on the mat. **50 mats included**
Activity Ten: Stick It In this activity students will get an opportunity to explore using stick on pictures. They will use the included pictures to recreate the scene on the mat. **10 mats included**
I also share all about the manipulatives used! Please note the following links are to help give you a
I recently added 90 *FREE* cards into the packet and it had only been posted a day! WOOT! If you had purchased earlier in the week, be sure to redownload so you have access to all 450 cards/mats!
You can view the packet on TPT by clicking HERE or on the image below!
FREE SAMPLER! That’s right! I have a free sample for you! You can check out each of the activities in this free preview! Please note that these are all *NEW* so even if you own the packet already you’ll want to snag these FREE additional cards/mats! Click **HERE** to download the free preview or on the images directly below! (After you click to download, click the WHITE DOWNLOAD ARROW in the far right corner! This will download the Adobe file!)
Thanks so much for joining me today and last but not least is a manipulatives giveaway valued at $100!!! You can enter the giveaway **HERE** or using the rafflecopter below! I will choose a winner Sunday!