Plastic bottle caps are a favorite teaching tool of mine. They’re of endless supply in our house (three gallons of milk a week, anyone?) and I love the opportunity to be a greener home, even if it is with a small object.

I’ve found that 1″ round mailing labels (I picked mine up at Staples), fit perfectly on the surface of milk bottle caps:


Using a black Sharpie, I marked labels with the numbers 0-9. I added a dot with a green Sharpie underneath each number to help my little learner recognize the bottom of each bottle cap. Next I stuck the labels to bottle caps. Ta-dah! Math manipulatives on the cheap!


To practice numerical order, I had my child arrange the numbers from smallest to largest:


After my child put the numbers in correct order, I mixed up the caps and we tried again, this time trying to complete the sequence at a quicker pace. The bottle caps slide easily on smooth surfaces, and it was fun to zoom each number into place.