Bright Idea for Using Extra Math Manipulatives

Two math adoptions in less than 5 years combined with 21 years of teacher hoarding collecting, has left me with an abundance of math manipulatives - especially foam shapes like these:

I seriously contemplated throwing them out or trying to find a place to donate them, when I realized that I could put them to good use. I needed a quick center for my kids to practice adding 10's so instead of making matching cards with each number, then laminating, and cutting them all apart, I wrote the answers on extra foam shapes and I was done in a fraction of the time!

Besides being faster and easier for me, it's also easier for the kids to pick up and use the pieces that have a little depth to them. It's also a lot easier to spot pieces that fall on the floor. Using different colors and shapes for different boards also helps keep things organized. 

If you've got some extra shapes hanging around, give this bright idea a try! {Also works well for bottle caps if you happen to hoard collect those, too}

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  1. So great, where was this idea three years ago when I was the team leader and had so many of these they fell off the shelves!! I've pinned you for other to find this great post! :)
    Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas!
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  2. Love this - what a great way to "upcycle" all those manipulatives. There are always pieces lying everywhere! :)

    First Grade Fairytales

  3. love this! As much as I am a laminator addict, this will definitely cut down on the hours spent at school on friday nights! Thanks!


  4. Great idea!!! I have a laminating addiction myself that probably needs an intervention!!!

    Jennifer with Simply Kinder

  5. Thanks for the great idea on using bottle caps for another idea! Now I can put the 5,000 (so it seems/looks like) water bottle caps to use. Maybe I can even let my students "make their own" set of numbers for math this year (and still have plenty left for my other uses).

  6. What a great idea! Is there a place to get the mat of 1 more, 1 less you used with this idea?


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