If you have been saving kleenex boxes but don’t know what to do with them, then here is a simple idea for turning those boxes into games for color sorting, counting, patterning, and anything else you can think of…

To prepare one kleenex box, simply attach an envelope to each side of the box. I used self-adhesive library pockets found at our local school supply store. They fit perfectly and keep the opening sitting upright…

For each pocket, I cut a sentence strip down to fit by length (the width already fit) and printed words on the sentence strips for the children to begin familiarizing themselves with. Some of my students already recognized many of their color or number words and others didn’t. Where I needed to add symbols next to the words, I added them…

Throughout our school year, we collect “math tokens” which are really just odds and ends the children collect from home to bring for our math time each week. As the year progresses, we collect quite a few math tokens so on different occasions, I sort the math tokens into our Kleenex boxes. How the math tokens are sorted depends on which words we are using to go with the tokens…

For simple counting and number word recognition, the children pull out the number words in the pockets of their Kleenex pockets and then reach in the box to pull out math tokens to count out the number of tokens represented on each card…

I made enough “Math Boxes” for each child to have one of their own and the children are encouraged to swap the boxes around with each other to see if they can find new number cards and new math tokens to explore…

Each math box has a different variety of math tokens inside which the children find interesting to examine and since the tokens all come from home, the children enjoy finding something familiar too…

After math time is over, the children scoop up all the math tokens and put them back in our boxes and I save the boxes for a new type of sorting, graphing, patterning, or other math skill…

We have also used the boxes for tracing and drawing…

Math box color sorting…

Math box color word sorting…

Lots of possibilities so start saving those Kleenex boxes!

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Nancy Brunner says

Hi Deborah….do you do these activities as a large group or at your center time?

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. says

Our math is large group but there are times when we do this as a center too. It depends on how familiar the children are with what to do with the materials.

jackie says

What a great activity, Deborah! I have a few kleenex boxes that I’ve been saving for a while now! Ok, and how sweet are those little drawings in the one photo. *sigh* Too sweet!

Pauline, Lessons Learnt Journal says

What a great classroom resource to have. Thanks for the fab ideas

xo P

Heidi Butkus says

What a neat idea! Thank you again, Deborah!

Heidi

Carolynne Schmidt says

Looks like fun. I don’t quite understand one thing – you have 4 pockets on each box? So do you just put 1 card in each pocket? Or are the 4 pockets for different things, such as one for colors, one for numbers, etc.? Thanks.

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. says

Hi Carolynne,

I think it can be designed any way you want based on what you think your students are ready for. But in our case, I did it this way…

For a focus on numbers and number words, each pocket had a different number placed inside the pocket. The child draws the first card and counts out that many objects from the box and places it on top of that card. Then the child chooses a card from another pocket (which will be a different number) and now puts the number of objects on that card. The child keeps going until all the cards are out of the pockets and the objects have been counted. Then the child puts the cards back into the pockets and the objects back into the box and can start over by using a new box which will have a different set of numbers. Make sense?

For colors and color words: Again, each pocket has a different color word on it. The child draws a color word and then finds objects that have that color on them to place on the color word card.

In other words, each time we used the boxes, we made a new game and a new set of cards. We did not introduce color words and number words on the same day. We focused on one concept each time we used the boxes.

I hope that helps!

Carolynne Schmidt says

Thank you! Sounds like a neat idea! I can’t wait to make some!

-Carolynne

khatira says

i love your activites. i do them with my 3 years old. Right now i am working on teaching him his name.