Monday, November 8, 2010

Milk Cap Math: Preschool Activities

I hate throwing things away. I'm less a hoarder than a I-don't-want-my-stuff-to-take-up-space-in-the-landfill kinda gal.

So, whenever possible, I try to recycle. Or, better yet, reuse.

We go through a lot of milk. A. LOT. My youngest came home from China drinking nothing but milk. LOVES milk. And with six people living here, we constantly buy milk.

I either recycle (on the good months that the local recycling center will take most plastics) or throw away 3-4 milk jug caps a week. Ever stop to look at a milk cap? They're actually sorta cool in a "I'm just a lowly milk cap" sorta way.

I decided to make use of 'em.


I've come up with several games and activities. Here's the first few simple ones, designed for preschoolers.

  1. Gather milk caps. Alternately, other caps would work great: juices, water, soda, etc. If they have writing on them, sometimes you can get that off with a little sandpaper. If not, stick to blank ones.
  2. Have a variety of colors? Figure out a pattern. (Or, better yet, have the kids figure one out.) The pattern can be part of the math activities.
  3. Lay out the caps in the pattern and number them. I first made one set of 1-12. I'm working on two sets for game playing. I put a line under 6 and 9 so as to distinguish between the two.

PreK-Grade 1 Activities:

  • Put the caps in numerical order.
  • Do you see a pattern to the colors?

  • Sort the caps by color. 
  • Which color has the least caps?
  • Which color has the most?
  • How many more yellow are there than green? (various color combination questions)
  • Using tile or another manipulative, have the child place the correct number of tile below each number. If available, use the same color tile as cap.
  • What do you notice about the lines of tile?

As soon as I save up a few more milk caps, I'll post another game for bigger kids. In the meantime, save caps. :)

P.S. I did NOT see this idea on any other blog. I thought I had an original idea. (A rare and exciting phenomena.) However, I thought I'd better do a search before I posted. Good thing. I discovered "nothing is new under the sun." Google search gave 120,000 results. Here are some ideas from folks who thought of this before I did:

Milk Cap Numbers and Animal Counting Worksheets--cool templates!

Milk Cap Letters--templates for words/letters

Bottle Caps Math Game--for middle schoolers

This would be a great Work Box activity!

Link up your math ideas at Joyful Learner! ;)


  1. Funny, I've seen this idea too but isn't it exciting when you think of it yourself (that is before you find out someone else did)! It is a great idea, btw. We'll be saving some caps. Thanks for linking!

  2. What a great use for all those extra caps we all throw away!

  3. Very cool! I love this idea, and will look at things as small as a milk jug cap in a whole new way. Thank you for sharing this.

  4. We have a LOT of milk caps too - great ideas!

  5. I think we might add numbers to our caps for extra fun!

  6. Hey! This is great! I'm starting a recycling blog and would love to add these ideas. May I have permission to post a pic from above along with a link back to your blog? Thanks!

    FlapJack Educational Resources

  7. Sra. Carro,

    You are absolutely welcome to link back. Please do not post my photos but rather refer folks to my site to see photos. Thank you for asking and thank you for your interest.


  8. Hey Cindy! I was just going to let you know that The Green Classroom blog is up! I've actually decided to have people link up their green ideas! I know you don't want pictures posted but I would absolutely love for you to link this post up and any other green ones you have or give me permission to. Here's where to link - Your Green Classroom

    I'll be sure to post your button if you link up :).

    Thanks a bunch!


Thank you for leaving me a message. I love comments almost as much as I love chocolate! And I do LOVE chocolate. :)

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Blogging tips