Providing students with fun activities for early finishers is an ingenious way to keep kids on task once they have finished their math, literacy, or writing tasks. These simple activities are fun for students to complete independently when they finish their work.
Fun Activities for Fast Finishers That Are Easy to Set Up
Every classroom has some students who finish their work faster than others. They either know exactly what to do to keep themselves busy, or they need some direction so things don’t get out of hand.
One of the easiest ways to keep kids from disrupting the class and being on task is to provide them with early finisher activities that focus on skills or an activity they enjoy. Here are some ideas to help you out!
Managing Early Finishers in the Classroom
Picture this: Your class is nice and quiet, working on their tasks, but two students have finished their work and don’t know what to do. They decide to talk to some students who are still working, causing the noise level in the classroom to ramp up.
Everyone is bound to get off task, and the chaos begins. But there’s a simple way to avoid this. Activities for early finishers will ensure that everyone has something to work on at all times, even if it’s just reading a book.
Before the disorder ensues, get ahead of it. Plan fast-finisher activities that students will look forward to once they complete their main task. Some of these might include a crossword puzzle, reading their own book, completing task cards to document what they worked on, helping a classmate that may need assistance, etc.
12 Early Finisher Activities Your Students Will Love
As students finish their work in math or literacy centers, provide them with constructive ideas to keep them on task. These fash finisher ideas should interest the child and serve a purpose. Here are 50 activities for early finishers from our Fast Finishers Resource.
- Paint a picture – Allow students to use watercolors to make a picture of their own design. Art is important for fine motor skills, and most students love painting.
- Help a teacher – If students finish early, give them tasks to do, like tidying up the library, taking out the recycling, sending a message to another teacher, etc. There’s always a way to be a teacher helper to lighten your load.
- Finish up work – Ask students to complete any work they have left from previous lessons or weeks. These could be something they need to build on or add their name to as well.
- Listening center -Invite students to listen to stories or audiobooks after they complete their work. This is a calm way to unwind.
- Free choice – Depending on the students and the setup of your classroom, allow students to choose what they want to do. I would recommend giving them a few options so they don’t go wild with their ideas. Ideas could include building with blocks, art, writing, technology, etc.
- Puzzle center – Puzzles are a fantastic way to continue working the brain. Encourage students to work on a puzzle alone or quietly with another student who has finished their work.
More Early Finisher Activities to Try
- Make a craft – Prepare a few easy crafts for students to make when they complete their work or let them get creative with the craft supplies provided. It’s important to foster creativity, and students will love this opportunity.
- Build with Legos – Let students build with Legos or blocks when they are done. This is another area where kids can express their creativity and ingenuity.
- Read a book – For those students who love to read, allow them to open up a book in the library or continue a chapter book on their own.
- Help a friend – Being the only teacher in the classroom can be tough sometimes. Let your students help those who need an extra hand. Oftentimes, students learn well from explanations from peers. Remind students not to give answers but to guide their friends.
- Practice printing – Provide the class with lined paper or tracing paper to work on their penmanship. While some kids have fantastic handwriting, others could use fine motor practice from time to time.
- Write something – Set out fun writing prompts for kids who love to write stories. They will enjoy letting their imaginations run wild.
How to Set Up an Early Finisher Space
As you decide where to keep your early finisher materials, consider your classroom space. Do you want early finisher cards displayed on the wall, tucked into a pocket chart, or hanging from a ring? There’s no wrong answer; find what works best for you.
Here are a few ideas to set up your fast finisher space.
- Print, laminate, and cut your fast finisher cards.
- Next, teach your students how to use the fast finisher cards and activities appropriately. Model what they should do with them to keep themselves accountable.
- Display your fast finisher cards in a pocket chart, on the wall, on a bulletin board, on a ring, in a small box, or in a booklet.
- Have templates for students to fill out for accountability. Students complete the activity on their chosen card and fill out the activity template to show what they worked on.
Having an Early Finisher Station set up and available daily will ensure students are always on task, so you can focus on students who need help and intervention.
Class Finishers Resource
Try the Fast Finishers Pack by Proud to be Primary. It includes 50 early finisher cards and activities to do with each. Also included are letters and posters to create a fast-finisher station area in your classroom.
The Fast Finishers Pack has everything planned for you: simply print and prepare your early finisher station. Each activity also has a printable worksheet for students to complete to document what they worked on. This holds students accountable in the classroom, even during free-choice time.
5 FREE Fast Finisher Activities to Try in Your Classroom
Try these 5 fast finisher activities in your classroom and watch how engaged students are all day long. This free sample includes 5 fast finisher cards and printable templates to go with them. Kids will grab a card and worksheet and get started!
Just click the link below to try them out.
If you like these resources, you’ll love these other classroom management ideas.
More Classroom Ideas & Activities to Keep Kids on Task
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I love these ideas! It would have been great if I had these in school because I never knew what to do except sit there and doodle on some paper. These activities give the students options for what to do if they finish early which won’t disrupt those who are still working. Knowing which students are finishing early can also help distinguish between those who have mastered the materials and those who are just rushing to finish.