1 Help children keep small pieces together. Spread trays, box lids, jelly roll pans, and bath towels on the floor to provide good play surfaces and make clean-up easy for children and adults.

2 Store items in clear plastic boxes. Place the boxes on low shelves, so children get a great view of the fascinating contents.

3 Keep handy a variety of manipulative-friendly containers. Use interesting receptacles-gg cartons, ice cube trays, cardboard fruit tray dividers, and sixpack cartons-for smaller manipulatives. For larger ones, hanging shoe bags and partitioned cardboard bottle boxes inspire children to count, sort, and classify items in new ways.

4 Create a game for keeping manipulatives organised. When various kinds of manipulatives get jumbled, spread items on a table or a sheet on the floor and ask children to join you in a sorting game. Children enjoy finding their chosen kind of piece and putting it back in its rightful place.

5 Provide duplicate of popular items. Having multiple items reduces disagreements about sharing and encourages children to cooperate while they are building and classifying.

6 Provide now materials to keep children interested. Ask parents to contribute items for collections, such as smooth pine cones or colorful beads.

7 Share manipulatives with other classes. Expensive materials, such as attribute blocks and Cuisenaire rods, and items that are used infrequently can be shuttled back and forth between rooms.

8 Help children document and evaluate Chefs activities. Place writing implements-chalk board and chalk, crayons and paper-next to shelves holding manipulatives so that children can easily make charts, graphs, and booklets about their discoveries.

9 Add great accessories. Help children expand their use of manipulatives by providing pan balance scales for weighing items, yarn or hula hoops to delineate intersecting sets, and paper plates for classifying.

10 Arrange the environment for optimum use of materials. For example, provide two chairs next to the scale so children can work in pairs, or cluster four chairs for small group projects, such as measuring colored plastic links.