9 Early Finisher Activities For 3rd Grade That Students Love

If you’re still trying to figure out what to do with students who finish work early, this post includes helpful ideas that you can use as early finisher activities for 3rd grade students.

While in a perfect classroom, students would automatically begin a new task without prompting from the teacher, the reality is that students will most likely need guidance in knowing what to do next.

Setting clear expectations for third graders when it comes to accessing and completing early finisher activities is key. 

To jumpstart the process of you implementing early finisher activities for 3rd graders, I’ve compiled a few popular choices.

Early Finisher Activities For 3rd Grade

1. Create a Word Search Puzzle.

While your third graders have surely completed their fair share of word search puzzles, most have probably never created one. 

This fun fast-finisher activity reviews important vocabulary, boosts cognitive thinking, improves spelling, and strengthens problem-solving skills. 

To get started, have students choose a group of vocabulary words based on a unit from math,  reading, spelling, science, or social studies. 

Provide students with a word search template, and ask them to write the selected words in the word bank section of the worksheet.  

Next, they will place the terms on the template either diagonally, horizontally, or vertically, filling in the left-over empty spaces with random letters.

Once that’s done, students will exchange their puzzles with a classmate and solve them. 

2. Do With STEM Activities. 

There are so many benefits for students to study science, technology, engineering, and math concepts such as the enhancement of critical thinking and problem-solving skills. 

While the normal school day has a set curriculum that includes a variety of subject areas, you can incorporate more STEM experiments into your lesson plans by making them fast-finisher activities. 

With a bit of preparation, you can have engaging third-grade STEM projects set up for students to explore when they finish their work early. 

3. Complete a Choice Board Activity. 

Offering students choices yields more buy-in from them and motivates them to engage fully with the chosen task.

While preparing many early finisher activities for 3rd graders can take some time to do, an easy way to offer lots of options with minimal prep time is to provide choice boards.

A choice board includes a menu of learning activities that students complete based on their interests and/or academic needs. 

See choice board early finisher ideas.

4. Sharpen Cursive Handwriting Skills.

Third grade is usually the time when students learn cursive handwriting. 

Even if your school doesn’t require the teaching of this skill, it still makes a useful and engaging early finisher activity for third graders. 

Not only does handwriting practice improve fine motor skills, but it gives students an opportunity to review spelling and letter patterns. 

5. Respond to Writing Prompts. 

If you are interested in simple early finisher activities for 3rd grade that yield strong results, utilizing writing prompts is an excellent choice. 

The use of writing prompts strengthens grammar skills, writing fluency, plus creativity, and also allows students to express their ideas. 

What’s more, consistent use of high-interest writing prompts nurtures a love of literacy. 

So assign third-grade writing prompts as early finisher activities.

6. Practice Multiplication Facts. 

You probably have some third graders who struggle to memorize their multiplication facts; they need all the practice they can get. 

Support them by providing a collection of multiplication tools such as flashcards, multiplication timed test worksheets (with timers so that they get motivated to beat their previous times), online math apps, and multiplication machines

7. Design a Reading Bookmark.

Develop students’ creative side by having them create a cool reading bookmark that relates to a current unit of study.

Provide bookmark examples as inspiration. To help you get started with this idea, print these bookmark templates.

8. Solve Math Word Problems.

Solving math word problems provides students with an opportunity to apply skills that they’ve been learning in math class. 

Working through these real-world scenarios enhances critical thinking, boosts reading comprehension, showcases knowledge, and increases math proficiency. 

Provide students with a set of math word problems to solve, and also challenge them to create some of their own.

9. Put Head Down/Rest.

Sometimes students simply need a break from all the work. A 5 to 10-minute rest does wonders.

Consider setting up a “rest” station in the classroom where students may go to listen to calm music, practice yoga poses, and/or recite positive affirmations.

Final Thoughts

Prevent boredom, encourage independent exploration, and offer a sense of accomplishment using these early finisher activities for third-grade students.

By doing so, you’ll have a valuable strategy to keep them engaged, motivated, and learning beyond the regular classroom assignments.