Great Ideas for When Children are Done Early

Great Ideas for When Children are Done Early

Children need time to do independent work, but they won’t all need to same amount of time to complete it. Experienced teachers know that it’s important to have planned activities for when children are finished with their work AND to teach them the procedures to use when they are done.

Here is an example of procedures:

  1. Double-check your work. (Otherwise some children will rush to get done)
  2. Work quietly
  3. Walk around the room quietly
  4. Do not disturb kids who are working

For this blog post, I have collected some of the best ideas I could find around the Internet. Here they are by grade levels:

Preschool classrooms use planning sheets before center time or work time. Encourage children to make a new plan when they are ready to move on to a new activity. This might involve changing their name on a planning board, or moving their name necklace to a new center. Older preschoolers should put away at least some of the materials they were using before moving on to a new activity.


Early Finisher Tubs.
These are especially helpful for providing hands-on activities for young children, rather than worksheets. Good organizational strategy!

Individual “Work Boxes.” Great for differentiation since each child has appropriate level work. These also help children to stay organized and give them a place to put work when it’s done.

First Grade

I’m Done. Now What?
This clever chart gives children a very quick way to think of something to do – perfect for when they are done with seatwork.

The Early Finisher Board.

I like the way this board has the materials right there where children can easily access them.

Choice Board

Second Grade

Fast Finishers Done Jars:

These jars provide a fun and motivating way for children to pick a task.

Math Games for Early Finishers.
The focus on math is great because children ALWAYS need more practice to develop their fluency and skills.

Third Grade

Early Finisher Task Cards. 
Using task cards help to give children something concrete to guide their behavior. I think these keep the children focused and on-task well. I’m assuming they take these back to their seat to work on.

Thanks so much to all the teachers who have shared these ideas. I’m always impressed to find so many people with creative strategies who are willing to help other teachers. Please share in your comments your own suggestions!