Go-To Guide to Morning Tubs: Part 2 – How Many Tubs?

Welcome to Part Two of my Go-To Guide to Morning Tubs series!

Today, let’s do some brainstorming about how many tubs you want to have in your classroom. If you haven’t already downloaded my Morning Tubs Planning Guide, you might want to download it at some point. It has brainstorming pages that go along with each part of this blog series. It’s optional, but you might find it to be useful! You can sign up below to get it sent straight to your inbox.

I know you might be thinking, I just need the same number of tubs as I have students, right?

Well, yes and no!

If you’ve read through part one of my morning tubs series, then you already know what you’re going to use for tubs. Whether you’re putting your activities in individual bins or gallon-sized baggies, the number of containers you’ll need obviously depends on how many tubs you will use.

The three most common options are individual tubs (one per student), partner tubs (one per partner group), and table tubs, which I’ll go into detail about below!

morning tubs for kindergarten

Individual Tubs

Based on my discussions with other teachers, I would say that having one tub activity per student is the most common morning tub setup. I like having the same number of tubs as the number of students because I can have a wide variety of tub activities. 

You’ll want to have a plan for how tubs will be distributed, such as whether students will pick a tub each day or if you’ll assign tubs. We’ll dig into this more later!

Works best for: Any classroom

Pros: Students know that they’re expected to work independently; students work at their own pace

Cons: You have to make enough activities for every student

morning tubs for kindergarten

Partner Tubs

If you want to provide more opportunities for peer interaction, partner tubs might be a great solution for you!  You can decide whether students will be assigned a partner or pick their own partner.

Some groups of students may struggle working with a partner at the beginning of the year. If this is the case, you could do individual activities for the first month or so until students get used to the tubs routine. Then you could introduce partner tubs. The opposite of this could be true as well – it just depends on the group of students you have!

Works best for: Any classroom

Pros: You could make half as many tubs; encourages peer interaction and problem solving

Cons: More opportunity for conflict; you’ll need to decide if you’ll assign partners and have a plan for managing that.

morning tubs for kindergarten

Table Tubs

The reason why I separated “table tubs” from “individual tubs” is that there are lots of different ways you could manage table tubs.  Most often, you’ll still create the same number of tubs as you have students and divide the activities between your tables. 

For the table tubs format, place the activities into baskets (one basket per table) and rotate the baskets weekly. I like to label the bags (here are the sticky labels I like). Here’s a sample page from my planning guide with an example of how this rotation could work.

morning tubs for kindergarten

Works best for: Any classroom where students are seated at tables

Pros: Activities are organized into baskets that are easily rotated weekly or daily

Cons: none

morning tubs for kindergarten

Another Thing to Consider

No matter how many tub activities you choose to have, you might want to consider making a couple extra tubs, just in case. We all know that things can get lost, or playdough could get dried up, etc. Making a couple extra tubs doesn’t have to be stressful – just duplicate a few of the activities or add puzzles, a whiteboard and sight word cards, or color-by-number pages (you can find a couple options here and here!).

morning tubs for kindergarten

What’s next?

In my next blog post, we’ll get into the big question everyone has about morning tubs: What activities am I going to put in the tubs? There are so many options out there and I’ll share them with you. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about preparing activities and putting it all together, I promise that a) I understand completely and b) I’ll help you find a solution that works for YOU!

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!

morning tubs for kindergarten

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