How To Use A Math Tool Kit

So you want to use math tool kits but don't quite know where to start or how to organize in the best and cheapest way possible? Don't worry, I got you!


This school year is definitely completely different than any other year. There's no more shared supplies and students need to have all of their own things. ALLLLLL the things! I have never had to have so many folders for students in my life! Trying to keep a 5-8 year old organized is a feat of its own. This years goal is for students to be independent with their supplies and always know where to find the things that they need.


So now let's talk about math manipulative. There are a bunch that your students use on a daily basis. Learning math SHOULD be hands on and when it came out that we would all need to have our own individual supplies and students could not share manipulative, well my head started spinning. After a bit of a panic I calmed myself down and got to work creating a resource that would work for all primary students and their teachers.


The math tool kit is meant to help you as the teacher seamlessly still continuing your kick butt lessons while giving your students all of the supplies that they need in order to still be the rock star learners that they are. There are mats for various skills as well as spinners and mini anchor charts!


Now how do I use this? The beauty of this resource is that you can print, laminate, and give to your students to keep in their math tool kits quickly. You may be thinking about what you can you use as a tool kit. Really whatever works for you and your students! If they can handle a gallon size ziplock bag that would be the most economical way to store their items but you could also use a supply box or these mesh bags that I have my students use. They have a zipper and are large enough for the bigger pieces as well as they wipe clean in order to stay safe! You can grab the link for the bags that I use HERE.


Quick note: any link to Amazon on this website is an affiliate link. That said, I only recommend products I actually use and love and know will help you too!


Once you've determined what you will use to store your students math tool kits then you can start printing and prepping the materials that you want your students to keep in their tool kit at all times. Below are the physical manipulative that are in our room on a daily basis that I washed and divided up into individual baggies so that the students could keep the items in their tool kits for the entire year. Please remember, there is no shame in using ziplock baggies to store items! I use them for a ton of stuff in the classroom!

*Unifix Cubes

*Linking Chains

*Counters (Target erasers)

*Counters (red/yellow chips)

*A Dice

*A Spinner


The printed and laminated material that I have my students start out with at the beginning of the year is as follows....

*120 chart

*Number Line

*Ten Frame

*Number Bond

*Number Cards 1-20

*Dice Cards 1-10



As the year progresses and the students become solid in their understanding of math concepts I will take items out of their tool kit in order to add new items that will coincide with their current learning. I do like to laminate things as they last longer and they also make for an easy wipe and clean.


Once you have your math tool kits put together now its time to USE them! This is the exciting part. I pass a kit out to each student and we talk about expectations of how to use our kits and keep them organized. I teach them what each item is in the kit and I give them time to freely explore the items in their kit as well, this is key! Never give a student an item and not expect them to want to play with it or use it right away.


We also make an anchor chart together of our expectations for our tool kits-my main goal is for them to not lose everything! If you would like the anchor chart for FREE you can click HERE and print it poster size.




If you need help printing poster size I have a blog post that shows you step by step how to do it. You can find that post HERE.




In the beginning of the year in first grade we use our 120 chart as well as number line A LOT! It's a great tool to have and students will regularly pull their 120 chart out of there tool kit when they are doing independent work also!


Guess what?! You are ready to get started with math tool kits! Check out the resource HERE and get started helping your students continue to learn math in a hands on manner!


If you have questions about how to set up a math tool kit that would best fit your students feel free to reach out, I would love to chat!

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