5 Tips for Implementing Early Finisher Activities with a FREEBIE

early finisher activities organized inside a plastic bin with labels.

There’s no one more bored or curious than a student who has finished their classroom assignment before everyone else. You may hear something similar to, “I’m done. Now, what?” The “now what” is what I want to tackle today. Implementing a system for your early finisher activities will give your students the answer to that question every.single.time.

{Disclaimer: Affiliate links have been used below but I only share items I actually use and enjoy!}

Assemble an Early Finisher Tub or Area

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The first thing you’ll want to do is create a designated area for early finishers. Make sure the area is clearly labeled and students are aware of where to go when they are done with their work.

You can choose to use a bin that holds activities based on skills in the drawers, or you can use binders labeled for each activity type.

early finisher supplies 1

Here are some materials you may want to include in your early finisher area:

Include different activities in this area that students can choose from and provide any materials they may need. Make this accessible for students so that they can get busy right away!

Include a Variety of Activities

Printables pictured are a part of our Early Finisher Activities for Place Value pack.

If you don’t want your students to get bored of their early finisher activities too, you will want to vary the activities included in your early finisher station. You can choose a variety of subjects, and skills, or even switch them out for seasonal activities.

Giving students choice allows them to take ownership of their learning and keeps things from becoming stagnant.

Don’t be Afraid to Add an Element of Fun

I know you’re eager to throw a couple of worksheets in a folder and let your students have at it. However, I want you to know just how valuable incorporating fun, hands-on activities can be for not only creating a successful station for early finisher resources but also keeping those “I’m done, now what?” students further engaged.

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Activity pictured above is a printable from our Addition and Subtraction Early Finisher Activities pack.

Activities that require active participation in the process increase the chance your students will be actively engaged in their learning. Therefore, it increases the likelihood they will comprehend faster. 

Consider incorporating activities with dice and spinners. It is such an easy solution. The activities can be used over and over again because new numbers and equations are formed based on what students spin or roll.

Choose Skills that Benefit from Spiraling and Extra Practice

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Activity pictured above is a printable from our Addition and Subtraction Early Finisher Activities pack.

You will give your students time to reinforce and build a stronger foundation in fundamental skills by focusing on comprehension activities that build throughout the year.

For example, in math, students always need extra practice with place value, addition, and subtraction. Keep a set of early finisher activities on hand that allow extra review of these skills throughout the year.

That’s also what makes tips 2 and 3 so important. If students are practicing the same skills throughout the year, varying the activities and adding elements of fun become crucial.

Keep Things Simple

When you’re selecting the best early finisher activities for your students, think simple. While you want variety and excitement, you don’t want something complicated. Complicated activities require more work from you. And you have enough of that, friend.

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Printables pictured are a part of our Early Finisher Activities for Place Value pack.

Instead, think about ways you can reduce the need to constantly make copies or constantly stop to provide instructions. 

An easy way I like to simplify my early finisher area is by making the material reusable. Utilize dry-erase pockets or plastic sleeves so that the activities can be used over and over again. 

This reduces the amount of copies that need to be made! Afterward, the activities can go right back into your teacher files or notebooks for next time. 

Another helpful tip is to make sure the instructions for the activities are clearly explained and easily accessible to students.

Early Finisher Activity Ideas

Nothing will make setting up your early finisher area easier than selecting done-for-you early finisher activities. Here are some ideas that you may enjoy in your classroom (they have also been pictured throughout this post.)

Early Finisher Activities for Addition and Subtraction

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Early Finisher Activities for Place Value

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Grab a Place Value FREEBIE!

To get you started right away with implementing these early finisher activities into your classroom, I’ve created a FREE sample of our place value early finisher activities just for you!

Don’t forget these tips and early finisher activities, save the image below for later!

Early Finisher Blog Post

Hi, I'm Amy

Hey, y’all! My name is Amy Lemons and I am passionate about providing students with both engaging and effective standards-based Math and ELA lessons.


Sample a day of Rooted in Reading with these lesson plans and activities for Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary, and Grammar!

2 Responses

  1. Hi Amy,

    Thank you for providing the information and resources for this “early finishers” pack. I find that I have 4-5 students that usually finish much earlier than the others. This could be very beneficial to them. How long does it typically take a second grade to do one of the activities? Also, do you ever allow them to work on it with a partner?

    Thanks for sharing and I look forward to using this product!

    1. Hi there! It’s my pleasure! The time it takes will vary from activity to activity so it’s difficult to gauge an exact number, but the sample activity provided in this post is a good indicator. Also, I am a HUGE proponent of partner work!