Winter Explore Tubs!

Hi there!  I am back today with a new set of explore tub ideas!  Explore tubs have been added as a option to my daily five/guided reading time.  I also use explore tubs as an option during indoor recess {we seem to have that a lot}.  I have eight explore tubs but that is just because that’s how many nicely fit onto the shelf- – no other reason ha!

Alright, up first… pony beads and pipe cleaners!  Well, you might be saying, “Golly we have done this every month!”  However, this is such an important skill and one that our students tend to lack!  I was so surprised to see that this skill AKA pincer grasp should really be developed by 12 months of age! With the pincer grasp the student uses their index finger and thumb, or the index and middle fingers opposing the thumb, to pick up small objects.  The student at this age should be able to pick up and place items in a controlled manner.

So, for this fine motor tub I purchased some fancier pipe cleaners to resemble icicles from Amazon HERE.  However, I also saw it at Walmart!  After scrambling around for different color beads I splurged and purchased a large set of pony beads at Walmart for $11!  It will have all the different colors I will want for each season!


Make an igloo! For this explore tub the students will need small paper drinking glasses or bathroom cups.  You will also want to decide between small marshmallows or small cotton balls.  Honestly, I see the benefits of both…but the marshmallows will for sure be stickier- – see that as you want ha!  The kiddos will also need glue!

You will want to pre-cut the igloo entrance so the kiddos don’t have to worry about that.  They will be gluing their marshmallows/cotton balls to the paper cup creating an igloo!  Be sure to express the importance of kiddos letting it sit and not trying to transport it while it is wet!

Explore in “snow!”  For this explore tub you can again choose between cotton balls or marshmallows!  The marshmallows will quickly harden and not be as sticky, but again completely up to you and if you have any sneaky eaters you might need to stick with cotton balls!  I also snagged these explore tools from Amazon HERE.  However, simple tweezers or clothespin will work just as good!

Write it in the “snow!”  For this explore tub I placed some table salt into a take home container.  I then printed off some number and sight word cards!  The kids simply will write the word in the “snow.”  You can download those freebie sight word flashcards here!

Build a 3D snowflake!  For this explore tub you will want to print off these freebie cards and then gather your supplies.  I chose to use craft sticks and foam balls.  However, this would also work just as well with small marshmallows and toothpicks/craft sticks!  You can choose what would be best for your kiddos!  With the foam balls my kids have to reuse the supplies so they are not able to take them home.  If you were using marshmallows you might choose for them to take them home after they are finished!

Build a wintry tower!  Students will be working on that pincer grasp once again!  They will make a small playdoh platform and the stick their tooth pick or craft stick into the playdoh.  They will then place the pony beads onto the stick one at a time!

Building 3D Shapes!

If you are also studying shapes now like my kiddos you can have the kiddos practice building shapes with yet again…marshmallows and toothpicks!  Rachelle Rosenbilt has a freebie set of cards you can print off HERE!

Fine Motor Winter Mats!

You can also print off these freebie winter fine motor mats below for your kiddos!  They can use pony beads, perler beads, marshmallows, fuzzy poms, or cotton balls! Click the image below to download!

Have a great week and talk soon!


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