Finding activities for kindergarten early finishers has always been a struggle for me. For the last eight years, I came up with different plans every summer to address this issue. Some ideas worked better than others, but I wasn’t completely satisfied with any of my plans.
One of the biggest issues for me was my limited number of copies. I have absolutely no extra copies to use for early finishers, so I needed something that they could use, and then erase.
I also wanted something that I could introduce at the beginning of the year, and that students could complete independently for the rest of the year.
Finally, I needed activities that would provide students practice with topics we had already covered but that were engaging and fun! With all this in mind, I created the Early Finisher Task Cards.
In this post, I want to talk a little bit more about this resource and offer you some tips and tricks for how to set it up in your own classroom.
To start with, you need to get some boxes. I like the colored ones, but there is also a clear version. You also need to decide if you are going to change the cards out every month, or if you want to buy 9 of the colored box sets.
I personally bought 1 of the colored box sets and stored the rest of the cards in larger boxes that I will link below. The colored boxes can be found at Michaels. I will put a link here to buy them on the Michaels website, but they are not always available, so I will also put a link to buy them on Amazon as well.
The best thing to do is to visit a Michaels store near you. These colored boxes are always on sale, and if you use a 40% off coupon, you can get them for as low as $10! Make sure you download the
Besides the boxes, you will need a laminator, laminating sheets, expo fine tip markers, and some clothespins.
Here are my Amazon Affiliate links to purchase if you are interested. All of this can also be found at your local Walmart or Target (with the exception of the boxes). You probably won’t find laminating sheets any cheaper than Amazon has them though.
- Colored Storage Boxes – Michael’s
- Colored Storage Boxes – Amazon
- Multiple Month Storage Box – Amazon
- Laminator – Amazon
- Laminating Sheets – Amazon
- Expo Markers – Amazon
- Clothespins – Amazon
- Facial Scrubbers (a.k.a. best dry erase erasers) – Dollar Tree
Once you have all the materials you can begin to prep! While this process can take a little time, the cards will last for years! I’ve had a couple of rough classes that weren’t great with respecting classroom materials, and my task cards are still going strong!
Now it’s time to decide where things will go in your classroom. Remember, the goal of this resource is to free up your teacher time. You want the students to grab the cards and work on them independently freeing you up to work with the students who need a little more assistance on their work.
When I first started teaching I was a little more guarded with my materials. I didn’t quite trust the students to take care of things.
Over the years I’ve learned that if I clearly state my expectations, model the behavior, and follow up throughout the year my students take care of my things (95% of the time – this is Kindergarten : )
Here’s a list of procedures that need to be taught to your students as you introduce the task cards for the first time:
- Where will the large box be kept?
- Is there a special place for the dry erase markers?
- Where will the clothespins be kept?
- How many students can use a box at one time?
- What do they do when they finish one box and want another one?
- What does clean look like?
- How do they return everything to its proper place?
- What should they do with a broken card, marker, or clothespin?
Introducing Each Month
Like I said previously, some teachers change out the cards each month, and some just buy one box for each month, it’s totally up to you.
At the beginning of each month, I take about 15-20 minutes to show the kids each box. I’ve tried to make a lot of the cards similar or self-explanatory so that the students can work on them independently.
I quickly show them the box and say for example “find the beginning sound on these cards.” Occasionally, I will have the students ask clarifying questions about the cards, but usually, after the introduction, they can work on them alone.
While I created these cards to allow myself more time to work with struggling students, I also want to use them as informal assessments of my students.
Whenever I have time I walk around the room and observe them using the cards, I take pictures on my phone or join them in a game of memory. It’s a quick way for me to assess who might need a little more help in a specific area.
Still want some more information about setting up an early finisher system in your classroom, or how you can use these task cards as centers? Check out the posts below:
Early Finisher Task cards have been a lifesaver in my classroom. I’ve been asked to create these cards for other grades as well. I have Pre-K, 1st-grade, and 2nd-grade options available as well.
Many teachers also asked me for some extension activities so that they could use the cards in a center. That’s how I came up with the early finishers worksheets that directly correlate to the task cards to extend each activity. Check out the links below to get a more in-depth look at what is included in these resources.
- Pre-K Early Finisher Task Cards
- Kindergarten Early Finisher Task Cards
- First Grade Early Finisher Task Cards
- Second Grade Early Finisher Task Cards
- Kindergarten Early Finisher Worksheets
- First Grade Early Finisher Worksheets
- Second Grade Early Finisher Worksheets
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