Go-To Guide to Morning Tubs: Part 1 – What to Use for Tubs

Welcome to the first part of my Go-To Guide to Morning Tubs series!

You may be new to morning tubs, or maybe you’ve used them in the past but you’re looking to revamp or reorganize what you’ve been doing.

No matter where you are in your morning tubs journey, welcome!

morning tubs for kindergarten

Before we even start thinking about what types of activities we want to use or how to promote student independence, it’s important to start with the basics. The most basic way to start is by answering the question, “What will I use for tubs?”

One of the (many) great things about morning tubs is that they’re extremely versatile and can work in any size classroom. It doesn’t matter what type of containers you use and I promise you don’t need a fancy, expensive tub organizer. Although if you have one of those, that’s great!

What if I told you that teachers just like you are successfully using morning tubs by putting the activities in gallon-sized Ziploc bags?

Yes, it’s totally possible!

Here’s a roundup of some of my favorite containers and storage solutions for morning tub activities!

morning tubs for kindergarten

Plastic Shoeboxes or Bins

When I picture morning tubs in my head, I usually see plastic shoeboxes like these. These tend to work really well if you have the storage space for them. 

If you can get away without lids on the boxes, that prevents students from not being able to open sometimes-tricky lids. BUT I will say that many teachers in my Morning Work Tubs Facebook group stack their tub containers and keep the lids on and it works for them!

Plastic shoeboxes are easy to label and they hold quite a few supplies really well.  Here are some from Amazon, but I’ve seen them cheaper at Target and Walmart!

Works best for: Classrooms with storage space, students choosing their own tubs

Pros: Sturdy, inexpensive

Cons: Take up more space, lids can be challenging for students

Gallon-sized Baggies

As I said before, many teachers are using gallon-sized baggies for their tub activities and it works really well!  

If your students sit at tables or in grouped desks, one great tip for this method of storage is to put activities for each group in a plastic basket. For example, if you have five students at each table, put five tub activity bags in a basket. Place a basket at each table every morning and students can grab a bag. It’s that easy!  Then simply rotate the baskets around your room until each table has had all of the baskets.

Works best for: Classrooms without a lot of extra storage space, grouping activities by table

Pros: Inexpensive, don’t take up much space

Cons: May not be able to fit as much in a bag vs. a plastic bin

kindergarten morning tubs

Pencil/Supply Boxes

Another popular storage container for morning tubs is pencil boxes. I love pencil boxes because they stack neatly and don’t take up a bunch of space!

One downside to pencil boxes is that they don’t hold quite as much as a plastic shoebox, so you might have to consider that when planning your activities. For example, any full-page activities you want to use will need to be reduced in size when you print them. 

Fortunately, lots of the activities in my Morning Work Tub packs are versatile enough to use no matter what size containers you’re using!

These are the pencil boxes I like to use.

Works best for: Any classroom size

Pros: Sturdy, don’t take up as much space as plastic shoeboxes

Cons: May not be able to fit as much in a pencil box vs. a shoebox, they can be pricey

10-Drawer Plastic Carts

What teacher doesn’t love these 10-drawer rainbow carts?! I mean seriously – it was one of the very first things I bought for my classroom because I just HAD to have one!

Plastic carts or drawer storage containers are a really great, compact option for morning tubs. You can label them easily and they look well-organized.

I will say that I didn’t allow students to use my rainbow cart and it was a place where I stored my own copies and activities. This was for a couple reasons. One, I noticed that the plastic drawers tend to be a little fragile and can crack, posing a safety hazard to students. Two, I felt like the drawers wouldn’t get put back correctly or it would be confusing to my students.

Again, plastic carts or drawer storage containers work great for lots of teachers, so if you already have them and want to give it a try, go for it!!

Works best for: Any classroom size

Pros: Easy to keep organized, compact 

Cons: May not be sturdy, can be pricey

What works best for you?

In conclusion, the type of storage container you use for your morning tub activities is really up to you. It’s great to be able to use something you already have and not have to buy anything new.

What’s next?

In my next blog post, we’ll chat about how many tubs you should have. Although the answer to this might seem really obvious (at least once you have your class list 😉 IYKYK), I’ll share some things you’ll want to consider before you decide how many tubs to use.

Click here to head to the next post!

Two Things to Do Now

1. Want to get a head-start on planning your morning tubs? Already using morning tubs but need to refresh a bit? Get my Morning Tubs Planning Guide delivered instantly to your inbox by filling out the form below!

2. Join my Morning Tubs with Katie Roltgen Facebook Group on Facebook for tips, support, and collaboration with thousands of other teachers!

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