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30 Activities for Early Finishers

July 22, 2021 by Suzanne Kelley

I’m sure you’ve experienced this with your early finishers: you are helping little Jake with his reading while also scanning the room to watch the kids working. Then, little Monique is done and disrupting everyone. “What is next? What should I do?”. We all have them, the quick workers, the early finishers. Some kids finish work much faster than others. And, some kids struggle with engaging themselves in something quietly. What do you do?

Well, we have put together a list of 30 activities that are PERFECT for your early finishers! Most require very little prep for you and will be so easy to add to your routines! You will especially love that we have included the links! #9, #20, and #25 are going to be your faves too! Check out the freebies with #6, #11, #14, #15, #18, and #20!

Additional Reading/ELA

  1. Read to Self, book bins, or library time.  Call it what you will but encouraging kids to read when they’re finished early is ideal! 
  2. Practice Fluency with a peer. Requirements are a fluency binder, a one-minute sand timer, and two kids! My kids love timing each other on their reading, and I love the additional practice on fluency!

3.Letters/words with Play-doh. Have your students constructively use play-doh to build out words or form letters. These ABC Mats are perfect for any kinders!

4. Directed Drawings. Need to encourage your students to do more writing? With this massive bundle from ETTC (100 directed drawings), your students will enjoy making the picture and then writing about what they’ve drawn.

5. FlashCards on sight words. Practice makes perfect, right? Have your students practice their new words on pre-made flashcards, or better yet, have them create their flashcards on index cards!


6. Create Mini Books. Kids love having their books, and we have multiple choices of mini-books that you can print and go! Need alphabet practice? We have Alphabet Foldables Booklets! (Try a Freebie). Is it sight words that you are now teaching? We have Sight Word Booklets! (And, another Freebie!). Maybe it is phonics that you are looking for as skill practice? Yes, we have Phonics Booklets as well! (And, WOW, another Freebie!).

7.ELA/Literacy Centers:  Give extra center time! This literacy bundle has ten centers a month for first grade AND 10 centers a month for second grade! These cover all of the literacy skills you will need to keep those early finishers busy and engaged!

8. Handwriting Pages. Students can practice writing their names, words, or even sentences with any writing paper while focusing on their spacing and letter formation!

9. Spelling Activities. 60+ Spelling Activities at your fingertips! First, enter your word list of up to 15 words, and boom, it generates 60+ activities for you to print. That’s plenty of early finisher work!

Math Activities for Early Finishers

10. Math Centers. These centers are for Math or ELA! This 1:1 Centers Bundle allows each student to have their set of counters and mats, and they are good to go! No cutting sets of games/centers for each student!  Activities using: Dice, Pattern Blocks, Bingo Chips/Daubers, Counters, Counting Cubes, & Bears!

11. 1:1 Centers Sampler (FREEBIE)

12. Math Facts   Addition Fact Rings for Numbers 0-10, Addition Fact Practice Sheets for Numbers 0-10, and
Addition Number Bond Practice Sheets for Numbers 0-10 are all included!

13. Color by Number.  Here is another activity that works for Math or ELA. Your students will love doing these and not even care that they are doing meaningful work! Get on the waitlist for the Summer Color by Number set to start the school year!

STEM/SENSORY For Early Finishers

14. Legos. My students enjoy looking at cards that depict what they should try to recreate! Snag this Freebie!

15. Tangrams. Using tangrams can reinforce math skills for your early finishers! Here is yet another Freebie!

16. Geoboards. As long as you’re cool with giving your kiddos rubberbands, haha, geoboards will keep them engaged if they finish early!

17. Mini Paper Cups. My students are creative working with mini paper cups! I love that they are quiet when they fall and super cheap to replace if they get smashed!

18. Once Upon A STEM. Whether it is volumes 1, or 2, these STEM STORY CHALLENGES will get your students thinking!  Did I say you could get another Freebie here?

19. Sensory Blog with 30 Ideas. Sometimes, early finishers need to move and wiggle! I found some GREAT sensory solutions to support needs in most rooms. Here are 30 Ways to Support Sensory Needs in Your Classroom that you can start TODAY! (#6, #12, and #30 are my absolute faves! Check them out first!).

Games and Technology for Early Finishers

20. I Have, Who Has Games with a Partner. These games are Easy prep for teachers! Just print off the cards, laminate, cut, and play! It’s time for your students to put ALL THE SKILLS they’re learning into something fun AND fundamental. And, a FREEBIE!

21. Teacher-tested Websites  In this blog, we share 30 Teacher-tested Websites that you can start using in your classroom today. I have found some new favorites from this list of 30 teacher-tested websites, and we are hoping you do too! (Check out #12 and #27.)

22. File Folder Games

Miscellaneous Early Finisher Activities

23. Differentiated Activity Packet. I love to mix it up, so I choose some pages from Color By Number, Directed Drawings, and Editable Spelling to create packets with variety. But if you prefer, ETTC has some great review packets already organized for you to print and use!

24. Choose an early finisher popsicle stick or laminated card. I like to write activity choices on popsicle sticks, and once done with their work, the kiddos pick a stick, which is their chosen activity.

25. Core Binders  Now this one, I love! It is all-inclusive and encourages engagement and independence!

26. Choice Boards  Choice Boards provide a variety of experiences and formats.  Typically, a teacher can provide 4-9 options on a choice board, keeping age-appropriateness in mind. Early finishers choose an activity from the board.

27. Dry-erase Boards. There are endless possibilities!

28. Must-Do, May Do. Like a choice board, I have fast finisher activities organized by things they must do first, but they can choose from the may and can selections once they finish.

29. Help a friend/Help the teacher

30. Recheck Their Work!

We hope these 30 Early Finisher ideas can get you on your way to creating some meaningful activities for your students! We definitely hope you snagged those SIX FREEBIES that were linked, but if not, go back through this list of 30 ideas and grab them quick! Your students are going to thank you for such fun activities. It will remain our little secret that you are getting them to do extra practice!

Written by –  Suzanne Kelley

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