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Home : 2004 : Jul : 21

    math manipulatives
    By maryellen

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    A lot of the math manipilatives I have been able to collect really cheaply. My kids really like using my key collection. Most of those are from friends' and families' junk drawers. Any place that has a busy lost and found has tons of keys too, like a recreation centre, neighborhood newspaper, motel. You can sometimes make another junk box from the different key tags. I also have collected lots of different lids and bottle caps (not from beer - they hold the smell too long). If someone you know plays bingo, the colorful lids from bingo daubers are thrown away at the bingo hall. From a craft store, pompoms are quite cheap, so are buttons. A local church thrift store sells leftover clothes by the pound for rags, but has to take the buttons off first - and they give those to me. Colorful stones from aquarium supplies or for filling vases, bags of mixed nuts or pasta from the grocery store work well for patterning and counters. Playing cards and bread bag clips can be donated all year. Poker chips, eraser pencil toppers, bags of toy animals can be relatively cheap. Also, the boys especially liked the box of real nuts and bolts from the hardware store. I included my own collection of stir sticks (from my mis-spent youth) and my sons contributed their soccer and hockey medals after they grew up. I also let my class parents know some of the things I could recycle from their junk drawers and empty margerine and yogurt containers, and got quite a bit of help that way. I put the child's name on a poster by the junk boxes as a thank you. Hope these ideas help.

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