Go-To Guide to Morning Tubs: Part 3 – Types of Activities

Hey there! I’m so glad you stopped by for Part 3 of my Morning Tub Planning Series!

Today, let’s talk about what activities you’ll use for morning tubs. There are literally hundreds of options and it can be super overwhelming, so I’m going to break it down into some categories for you. Bear with me!

kindergarten morning tubs

Start by Defining Your Goal

What’s your goal for morning tub activities? Literacy and math skill reinforcement? Fine motor work time? Just-for-fun? Or maybe a combination of these?

Unless your school requires your tub activities to be entirely academic, I would encourage you to lean more toward activities that students won’t think are just “another center”. Don’t get me wrong – I love learning centers and they have their time and place! But before school, let’s remember to ease into the school day. 

My philosophy is this: Morning tubs should be what students look forward to, no matter what activity they’re doing. For some of our students, this might be why they are comfortable coming into the classroom every morning. It could make the difference between them being hesitant or worried and being confident because they started their day with a task that made them feel capable and independent!

I continually get feedback from teachers saying how students were excited to come to school because of the tubs. Tubs are hands-on, different from a worksheet, and lots of the time, students don’t even realize they’re doing a learning activity!

So, figure out your goal for your tub activities and stick to it while you continue your planning!

What Fits YOUR Needs?

Here’s another question for you: What fits YOUR needs and fits YOUR style?

Do you like to create and put together everything, or are you more of a print-and-prepper? Are you short on time and need something already made? Are you somewhere in the middle of the two?

We’re all short on time, and we all manage time differently. You know yourself better than anyone, so when you’re deciding where to get your activities, make sure you’re not biting off more than you can chew.

Where to find activities

As I said before, there are so many ideas for activities. I’ll break down a few different ideas!

1. Use Activities You Already Have (or Activities You Can Easily Find)

You most likely already have at least a few activities you can use for morning tubs. Here are just a few things you might already have hiding in your teacher cabinets: 

Puzzles

Learning games

Stickers and craft supplies

File folder games

Fine motor toys and manipulatives

kindergarten morning tubs and fine motor activities

Starting with what you already have can help the planning not feel so overwhelming. Besides checking your own cabinets, reach out to other teachers to see if they have anything to get rid of. Or, perhaps you could share or trade activities!

Additionally, send an email to your students’ families! You never know what kinds of puzzles or activities they have that they’d like to get rid of!

2. Print-and-Prep Morning Tub Packs

kindergarten morning tubs and fine motor activities

You might choose to use print-and-prep morning tub packs, such as these from TPT. I created my morning tub activities several years ago to help save fellow teachers precious time!

Each of these morning tub packs has 20 activities. Of course, you might need more than 20 activities and need to supplement with a few of your own things, but the benefit here is that there are 20 activities that you didn’t have to sit down and plan. I like to think of print-and-prep activities as one tool you can use to help cut down on planning time.

A Note About Choosing Morning Tub Packs

There are so many options for printable morning tub packs online. Here are a few tips when you’re choosing morning tub activities for your students.

  1. Are the activities high-quality? For example, do they use high-quality graphics that aren’t blurry?
  2. Are the activities developmentally-friendly? Do the fonts have correct kindergarten letter and number formation? Are the skills in the activities at your students’ level? Remember that one of the biggest goals is student independence, not frustration.
  3. Are they reasonable in the amount of prep work? I.e. will you get out of them what you’re putting into them?
  4. Are they hands-on? Even though it’s a printable product, do the majority of activities require materials that students can use?

3. Use a Combination of Activities

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with planning, one of the easiest solutions is to use a combination of activities. You can supplement activities you already have with morning tub packs or other printable activities.

As I mentioned before, remember to coordinate with your grade-level team! Maybe you could divide up the planning, or perhaps you could trade activities every month. 

Planning Pages

If you haven’t had a chance to download my FREE Morning Tubs Planning Guide, you can have it sent to your inbox by filling out the form below.

In Summary

No matter what types of activities you end up using for morning tubs, the most important thing is that they fit the needs of both you AND your students. You are an expert on your classroom – trust your gut and go for it!

Two Things to Do Now

1. Remember that you can get my Morning Tubs Planning Guide delivered instantly to your inbox by filling out the form below!

2. Join my Morning Tubs with Katie Roltgen Facebook Group on Facebook for tips, support, and collaboration with thousands of other teachers!

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