kindergarten early finisher activities

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What do you do when your students say "I'm done!" Check out these easily to implement kindergarten early finisher activities.

I’m DONE! Now what? (FREE download)

November 1 Deedee 4 min read

As much as I would love to have a collection of perfectly timed activities in which all of my students completed their tasks as THE. EXACT. MOMENT… that is not reality.  Many of my station activities are never ending, meaning they are never done.  However, a few of the activities I have do have a beginning, middle, and end.
Let me show you what I have been doing… and I sort of love it!

What do you do when your students say "I'm done!" Check out these easily to implement kindergarten early finisher activities.

Dessert Tubs (Early finisher tubs)

I started out by making 5 “Dessert Tubs.”  I got the term “dessert” from my clever friend, Cara Carroll.  That is what she called them and… well… I DO love dessert!

Each tub has a number (1-5) this is the order in which each tub needs to be returned to the shelf.  Each tub also has a dessert label with a shape on it.

What do you do when your students say "I'm done!" Check out these easily to implement kindergarten early finisher activities.

 You may recall that I give each table (group of students) a shape.  I refer to them as the “Square table… Hexagon table…”

You might also recall that they use this shape to help organize their station work.  When they finish their station work, they place the paper in this magazine holders until we check our station work. You can read about how this works by clicking HERE.

What do you do when your students say "I'm done!" Check out these easily to implement kindergarten early finisher activities.

When my students have finished an activity, they simply go and grab their “dessert tub.”  This has cut down on the visiting and gypsy-like movements in the classroom.  My students ALWAYS have the option to read a book at their desk instead.

What goes in the tub?

* I wanted them to be self-explanatory and something they were already familiar with.

* I wanted them to be “paperless” meaning… no paper product.  Students may only be at these task for a few minutes.  I don’t want MORE paper in my life… save the TREES!

* I wanted them to be meaningful practice.

Here are a few things we are using right now.

1.  Number and letter formation.  I placed our instructional cards in the bin with the necessary supplies.  You can find the letter cards HERE and the numeral cards HERE.

I may have a million of these little ABC games.  They are quick and fun to play.  They can be played with a partner or they can pretend to play with “Dexter” (my dog… who is not in the classroom).  This always makes them giggle.  You can find these ABC games HERE.

 I also add the Math Work Station cards to the bin.  They can sort the cards or play a game with them. You can find the Math Work Station cards HERE.

 As the year progresses I will add CVC and CVCe word cards to this bin.  You can find those games HERE and HERE.

 Time Me! is a fun activity.   We start the year with alphabet cards then move onto sight words.  You can create several sets of cards and therefore differentiate this activity.  SIMPLE! (There is a free sample at the end of this post).

You can find the Dolch Sight Word Game: Time Me! sets HERE.

What do you do when your students say "I'm done!" Check out these easily to implement kindergarten early finisher activities.

These are editable, so you can add your own sight words.

What do you do when your students say "I'm done!" Check out these easily to implement kindergarten early finisher activities.

 These binder rings are nice for keeping cards from getting mixed up. What do you do when your students say "I'm done!" Check out these easily to implement kindergarten early finisher activities.

Sequence is a fun game that my students seem to never grow weary of.  Students will spin a spinner then look for a picture that starts the same.  The example below offers blends.  BUT (once again) I have bunch of versions… from letter ID to more complex phonics.

What do you do when your students say "I'm done!" Check out these easily to implement kindergarten early finisher activities.

 Roll, Say, Keep is a fun game.   You can find those (ABC and sight word versions) HERE.

They are also editable, so you can add your own words. Big foam dice are available HERE.What do you do when your students say "I'm done!" Check out these easily to implement kindergarten early finisher activities.

 Bump is a fun game.  They are included in most of my Math Work Station units.

What do you do when your students say "I'm done!" Check out these easily to implement kindergarten early finisher activities.

What do you do when your students say "I'm done!" Check out these easily to implement kindergarten early finisher activities.

We also have math fluency games in the tubs!

What do you do when your students say "I'm done!" Check out these easily to implement kindergarten early finisher activities.

At the end of the day, I pull the “dessert” label off and move it on down the line.  Each day the students will have another variety of meaningful tasks they can work on.

What do you do when your students say "I'm done!" Check out these easily to implement kindergarten early finisher activities.

 You can download your own “dessert” image by clicking HERE.  This will be a PNG picture image that you can use to create bins that match your classroom needs… for FREE!

Frame:  Ashley Hughes. Clip art: Whimsy Clips

 What do you do when your students say "I'm done!" Check out these easily to implement kindergarten early finisher activities.

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18 Comments

  • Irma Gomez November 2 at 6:26 am

    Thank you for the sequence game. I'm always looking for something new.

  • Marissa Prue November 2 at 1:34 pm

    Thanks Deedee! I have a similar system – we call them Sponge Activities – they are a bit more open-ended for exploration but I like some of the games you shared! They become more interested in those as the year goes on and they are more confident in their abilities. I also like how you designate what each table does – do you feel like that cuts down on "rushers"? How do you handle friends that rush to get to that dessert?

    • Deedee November 4 at 10:25 pm

      Shoot! I thought I had responded to this already… sorry! I have a few habitual rushers. So I ask them to drop their response paper by my desk. I also talk to the masses about what quality work looks like.

      My desserts are engaging, but not really THE most exciting thing in my classroom, so we have not had a problem…yet 😉

  • Sarah December 29 at 11:36 pm

    I love the idea of these tubs!! I cant wait to take some of the products I already have to make some simple changes to start this this coming January!!

    What do you mean when you say you pull the numbers off and move them down. (I totally get that concept, but then what does that mean for students that finish early) Table rectangle finishes early they can only pick bucket 3?

    Thanks so much!!
    Sarah
    [email protected]

  • […] When students finish their morning work, they grab their dessert tub (thank you Cara for that term.)  You can read about how these work in THIS post…. Click HERE. […]

  • Alanna Martin August 17 at 10:23 am

    Hello,
    I am also a kindergarten teacher and am looking for a new behavior chart. I found on pinterest your behavior chart. It has two kids faces on each color and starts off at amazing and goes to Oh-dear! It is so cute! I have tried to find it on your website as well as on teacherpayteacher, but I haven’t been able to come across it. Do you still have it? Is it a free download?

    Thanks!

    • Deedee August 17 at 11:22 am

      Hi there! Yes, you can find it in my Facebook Fan FREE file. Just go to my Facebook page (you can find the link on my blog by the social media buttons). You click on the folder and it is in there. NOTE: You can NOT see the folder if you are on a mobile or tablet. So look for it when you can be on your computer. 🙂

  • […] could also work for early finishers.  I talk more about Dessert Tubs HERE.   Put the 3 zippered pouches in the bin.  The student takes the pouch that matches their learning […]

  • Penny Whitehouse November 14 at 6:27 pm

    How do you keep your kids who are in stations from coming up to your table while you are doing small group activities? I have tried everything! Also, Do you get to every child every day in your small group?

  • Kindergarten Morning Routines January 5 at 10:40 am

    […] they finish this activity, they can move onto a few options.  You can read all about my early finisher ideas in THIS post (there is even a free download over there).   Here are a few tried and true options: […]

  • Kelly July 10 at 12:50 pm

    After watching the “Mastering Centers Like a Boss” webinar, it referred to the math bundle for the number formation on dessert bin in early finishers blog. I own the small group math bundle that you and Deanna Jump made and I also bought the neat handwriting so I have the letter formations, but am looking for the number formation cards. I am unable to find the number formation cards in the bundle I bought. Any suggestions?

    • Deedee July 18 at 11:50 am

      They are in the Guiding Kinders Math Curriculum.

  • Carmen Squires July 25 at 9:51 am

    Hi Deedee,

    I love your idea for early finishers and how you have it set up in your classroom. I would love to get it set up in my kindergarten classroom this year. I wonder if you have this ideas as a packet on your teachers pay teachers site? I would love to have my room mom set this up for me before school starts this year. I just don’t know where to begin, or how to instruct her. Can you help me out? I like to change things up for my kiddos and I think this would be great for them. I’ll be looking for your reply. Thank you! Have a great rest of your summer!

    • Deedee August 1 at 9:57 am

      Hi Carmen!

      I’m sorry I missed your question earlier. I don’t have the idea of early finishers on TpT, but the blog post will link you to the resources you may want to consider putting in your early finisher bins. Does that help?

  • Maloree August 3 at 8:27 pm

    Do you allow more than one students to work together on these tub activities or are they to take it back to their seat and work individually? I love the idea.

    • Deedee August 4 at 6:34 am

      No, the students share the bins, so there could conceivably be 4 students working at their early finisher bin at one time.

  • Patricia Publik August 6 at 5:38 pm

    Hi DeeDee. I love this idea of Dessert Tubs. Im trying to print them out, but I only see one icecream cone and it already has a green shape. There are no other pages. Can you send me them all or just a blank icecream cone and I’ll make my own shapes?? Thanks.

    • Deedee August 9 at 10:06 am

      If you download the free file that is in the blog post, they are all there for you to edit. 🙂

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    My teaching career allowed me to experience teaching to different age groups and in different classroom environments. My heart belongs to early childhood education and I love working with other teachers who share this same love as me. Read More

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