Hey there, awesome kindergarten teachers! Are you looking to add a dash of excitement and creativity to your mornings in the classroom? Say goodbye to the traditional worksheet routine and hello to meaningful and engaging kindergarten morning work activities that will kickstart your students’ day with enthusiasm!
Let’s explore five fantastic alternatives to worksheets that will make your mornings in kindergarten truly magical. Plus, I’ll introduce you to a game-changer resource! So, let’s dive in and create meaningful mornings that your little learners will cherish!
What To do for Kindergarten Morning Work
Coming up with kindergarten morning work activities for students truthfully takes a lot of skill. The first part of the day in a classroom is such a transition time as students are entering and unpacking their things. In addition, teachers need time to handle certain tasks such as attendance, lunch count and other miscellaneous things that come up for the day. It is nice to have 20 minutes at the start of your day in which students are busy and engaged in a morning routine when they enter the room!
Hence why it takes some skill: morning work needs to be simple enough for kindergarten students to complete on their own but not too boring for them either. Yes, you could give them a worksheet to fill in or complete but think about this for just a minute-they are five and six year olds. They have the rest of their school career to do worksheets for morning work. Plus, research shows that doing something hands-on is actually more age appropriate for them and will benefit them more.
5 Ideas for Kindergarten Morning Work (that are NOT Worksheets!)
Check out these 5 kindergarten morning work activities that are alternatives for worksheets. Let me know in the comments if you try any of these this school year!
1. Purposeful Play for Kindergartners
Play is something that is slowly making it’s way back into the modern day kindergarten classroom and I am HERE for it! Play is so much more than just fun; it’s a powerful tool for learning and development. As educators, we can harness the magic of purposeful play to kickstart the day and ignite a passion for exploration, creativity and problem-solving. Without problem solving skills and creativity, how will we even go through life? They are pretty important!
You could create purposeful play in your kindergarten room in a variety of ways. One way is having specific morning centers that kids go to once they hang up their backpack.
Here are some ideas of different morning centers you could have for play:
- Dramatic play area with a play kitchen, grocery store, dress up clothes or dolls
- Sensory bin table
- Art center loaded with paper, crayons, markers, scissors and glue for students to create
- Writing center for free write with fun writing utensils and alphabet stamps
- Cars and trucks with ramps
Instead of doing morning centers, you could also just have a dedicated shelf for “play items” that students can get out on the carpet or choose something to bring to their table in the morning. You can do what works best for you and your students. Keep in mind, that there will need to be some rule setting and expectations set the first few weeks of school so that this morning routine time runs smoothly. The more students know and understand the expectations and what is allowed at this time, the less chaotic it will be.
2. Magical Morning Tubs
Remember that game-changing resource I was telling you about? Well, mornings work tubs are IT! If you have been around the blog for awhile, then you know my love for morning tubs. If you are brand new here, welcome to totally transforming your mornings in kindergarten with morning work tubs! These have become so popular in fact, I now have a Morning Work Tub Facebook Group with over 8,000 members using them! Inside of it, everyone shares tips and tricks for storing and using them in their classroom!
Morning work tubs were created to make kindergarten teachers lives a lot easier during those first 20 minutes of the day. Each set includes 20 different morning work activities that are entirely hands-on (no pencils required). In addition, they have student friendly instruction cards plus instructions on exactly how to prep each activity and a supply list for materials you need to get.
These work tubs are perfect for kindergarten morning work because they are hands-on and cover a variety of skill areas and themes. They’re the perfect way to set the stage for a successful and fun day of learning! If you want to get started in using morning work tubs in your classroom and see how much students LOVE them, I have a 6 series set of blog posts giving you all the details! This series discusses storage ideas, how many tubs you may need, the different types of activities, when to change tubs, how to assign morning tubs and finally, using morning work tubs to promote independence.
Start HERE with morning tub storage ideas!
FREE Morning Tubs Activity Pack
If you’re interested in giving morning tubs a try, I have a free morning tubs activity pack! There are five activities, plus information to help you get started. You can grab it below:
3. Morning Movement to Help Energize and Focus Students
Starting the day with a burst of movement is a great way to energize young minds. Not to mention, it truly sets a positive tone for the rest of the day. Kindergartners have boundless energy! Incorporating movement activities into the morning routine can help them release that pent-up enthusiasm while promoting focus and engagement.
As teachers, we understand that each child is unique, and some may have more energy than others in the morning. Morning movement activities cater to their individual needs, allowing them to release excess energy, reduce restlessness and help self-regulation. By starting the day with these fun movements, your students will be better prepared to engage in learning, collaborate with their peers and embrace the exciting challenges for the day.
There are a number of different ways you can incorporate movement into your morning routine in kindergarten:
- Cosmic Kids Yoga (also available on YouTube)
- Dance Party
- Exercise Videos (think Jack Hartmann)
- Scavenger Hunt around the classroom. (This could be simple such as finding the 3 things around the classroom on a list that they take by the door)
4. STEM Building Challenges
Another idea for kindergarten morning work that is not a worksheet is doing STEM challenges. Kids at this age really love to build and be creative. You can introduce different STEM building challenges for a science themed morning work time. Some fun ideas are: creating structures with Legos, building towers with cups, building bridges with popsicles sticks and glue, using straws and play-doh to create different geometric shapes and even just giving students magnetic tiles to see what creations they come up with using their imaginations.
It might be a good idea to have building cards or images that students can replicate or use as inspiration for their constructions on certain days. I have seen some teachers use these STEM morning work activities on Fridays only for a Fun Friday type theme. I would get large plastic storage containers with lids that could easily be stacked and stored on a shelf or in a closet for these STEM kits.
5. Play-doh, Puzzles & Pattern Blocks
This idea might be the most simple one listed and one that I would probably recommend for the first few weeks of school, at least while students are learning the classroom rules and procedures. Most all 5 and 6 year olds have been exposed to puzzles and play-doh before. There will be a few expectations needed to be discussed with the play-doh but it can be fun to see what students come up with in this 15-20 minute time frame of creativity. Clean-up is the biggest hassle with play-doh and what you will need to go over with them the most.
I have seen some teachers put a prompt on the board for the play-doh to help students out. The prompts might be something such as: build your favorite vegetable or make a snowman during winter. I would suggest getting play-doh donations for your classroom from parents if possible. For storage, try keeping a tub somewhere easily accessible for them to grab or just keep their own container at their desk.
Puzzles could be any type that you want. You could create your own or have store bought puzzles. I have even seen teachers let students create their own puzzles by coloring one. The con about puzzles is that you would likely need enough for at least 1 per student. In addition, figuring out where to store them would be more difficult. This 18 pack of 30 piece puzzles is a good deal and they are a good size to store easily. If you have tables or desks pushed together, you could also consider using something like these number matching puzzles and have students work on it together. The con of this is that it could leave room for conflict first thing in the morning.
Pattern blocks are actually one of my favorite activities to put out for kindergartners. They are a great way to keep little hands busy and engaged. They also help promote geometry skills in math and visual perception skills. You can find them easily on Amazon or Marketplace or ask for donations.
Start your Kindergarten Morning Off Right
As kindergarten teachers, we have the power to create meaningful and memorable experiences for our students, right from the start. By ditching traditional morning worksheets and embracing these five alternatives, you’ll ignite a lifelong love for learning. So, let’s inspire, engage, and delight our little learners in the world of meaningful kindergarten morning work activities!
Which morning work idea is your favorite or one you might try in your classroom?