In a kindergarten classroom, there’s such a wide range of abilities from the beginning of the year to the very last day of school. Having an early finisher is normal. This range determines how quickly and slowly students complete their tasks sometimes. Some students are so meticulous that they take longer than others to finish. Some students finish their tasks quite quickly, leaving teachers in need of activities to keep them occupied and learning until it’s time to change tasks. Here are 29 early finisher ideas for your students.
Early Finisher Reading Corner
Set up a cozy reading nook with decodable books or picture books.
Provide puzzles of varying difficulty levels to promote problem-solving skills and fine motor development.
Alphabet Scavenger Hut
Hide letter cards around the classroom and have students search for them. Once found, they can write them down or take pictures of them if you have available tech.
Let students explore new math manipulatives that will be coming up in your lessons. This gives them time to play and get acquainted with the manipulatives, so when it’s time to use them for math they have had time to explore.
Students who finish can grab blank paper to color and craft. This is a great idea for an early finisher who loves to be creative.
Create a sensory table with materials like rice, sand or water. Add in educational items like letters or numbers.
Students who finish their tasks early can go to a listening center. This can be books on CDs, iPads with the audio for the books or apps such as Epic! that have listening books.
Combine playdough and letter mats or molds for a tactile approach to learning letters.
Provide puppets and a small puppet theater for imaginative play and retelling of stories.
Set up science videos on devices to allow students to watch experiments and learn all about science.
Allow early finishers to write or dictate their own stories using an app such as Seesaw or Draw and Tell.
Students who finish early can work with flashcards. Students may have their own set of letters, numbers, colors or shapes that they need to master. Place their own personal flashcards in a zip baggie. If they finish before everyone else, they can pull out their own personal cards to practice.
Allow students to work on STEM challenges as they wait for the rest of the class to finish. It can be as simple as using popsicle sticks to build bridges. This can also be an extension from your prior lessons.
If you have devices in your classroom, allow students to work on educational apps that focus on literacy, math, and science.
Word Building with Letter Tiles
Provide letter tiles for early finishers to create words and practice spelling and phonics. You can give them a word list to work from. These can be words built from letters already learned so far in the year.
Magnets are a fun activity for students. Students can experiment with magnetic letters, number, and objects to understand the properties of magnets.
Give students science journals to record observations of plants, insects, or weather patterns. As they finish up their current tasks, this is an easy activity students can do without having to explain what to do. These science interactive notebooks are perfect to add into a science journal area.
Allow students to write in their journals as an option for finishing early. My students have free write journals that I do not check as often as their writing workshop folders. They are free to write about whatever they choose.
Students can use word cards to build different silly sentences. Give simple nouns, verbs, and adjectives to be arranged in sentences.
Give students a set of picture cards representing a story or a sequence of events that they will know like getting ready for bed. Students can arrange the cards in the correct order and write sentences to go with them. If you have the technology, allow them to take pictures of the finished product and add them to their digital portfolios.
Give students building blocks or cups and ask them to stack them in numerical order. Depending on the numbers that they’re working on, that’s what you can write on the cups or blocks.
Give students picture cards or prompts and encourage them to create their own stories or sentences based on images. I absolutely love these picture response pages.
Allow students to choose 2 to 3 stickers and create a story related to the stickers. They would have a required number of sentences to write depending on their level of writing and will add illustrations around the stickers to make it all come together.
When your students practice handwriting on sheets that you’ve copied, toss the unused sheets in a bin or box. When students finish their work early, they can grab a sheet from the bin. You can grab some alphabet tracing sheets here.
Sight Word Rainbow Writing
Give students a list of words that were previously taught and let them get creative by writing them. They can use different colors of pens, crayons and markers to write the words in fun patterns.
Color by Number
Copy different sets of color by number and allow students to grab one when they finish early. These color by number sheets can be focused on letters, numbers, words, shapes and more!
Create mazes with different shapes and students can navigate through while identifying and naming the shapes they encounter.
Grab $1 lists from the dollar store and allow your students to use them to make lists. They can get creative and create lists of grocery items, sight words, letters, numbers and more. The novelty in the list will keep them coming back. This are a lot of fun in December for Christmas lists, too.
Grab mini books from the Dollar Spot or teach your students how to make their own mini books from paper with a stapler. As they finish their tasks early, they can grab a book and create alphabet books. On the cover, they can decorate a letter of choice and then create a book all about that letter.
I hope you enjoy some of these ideas for your fast finishers. I’d love to hear of other ideas that you use in your classroom.