Early Finisher Activities: Ultimate List

This list of fun and engaging early finisher activities for students will eliminate the phrase “What do I do now?” from your classroom.

Think about this for a second…

The lesson went well, and all students are on task working. 

After a few moments, you see a hand raised or a child walking towards you. Then you hear that dreaded phrase, “I’m done! What do I do now?”

Well, those times are just a memory now. 

Using these early finisher activities, your students will never again wonder what to do next. 

Your classroom management just got a bit better and your stress level lower.

Never again have your learners wonder what to do after class assignments when you implement these student-approved early finisher activities.

Early Finisher Activities

1. Complete a Book Review.

Provide students a book review template, and have them review a fiction or non-fiction book using 5, 4, 3, 2, or 1 stars. 

early finisher activities

2. Do a Hidden Picture Puzzle.

Students love finding all the secret pictures in Hidden Picture Puzzles.

3. Work on Literature Circle Roles Assignment.

Have students complete work for their book club. See literature circle roles you might like to assign.

4. Practice Math or Spelling On a Dry-Erase Board.

All ages love dry-erase boards. Learners practice the weekly spelling words or math facts on mini whiteboards. 

early finisher activities

5. Review Math Facts With Flash Cards.

A classic early finisher activity, students simply challenge themselves to answer all cards correctly within a round. 

6. Write a Poem.

For this early finisher activity, provide a template such as… “List ten words related to January. Now write a poem with those words.” 

You could also assign a specific type of poem such as an acrostic or haiku.

7. Answer Reader Response Questions.

After reading a book, students answer a few reader response questions about the text in their reading journals. 

8. Draft a Narrative or Informational Writing Prompt.

It’s always a good time to develop writing skills.

Ask students to draft an essay or a few paragraphs in response to an informational or narrative writing prompt.

9. Come Up With a Set of Riddles.

Have kids write a few age-appropriate jokes about school life or any topic of interest to them. 

10. Practice Cursive Handwriting.

In their spelling or writing notebooks, students practice cursive penmanship.

early finisher activities

11. Respond to a Writing Prompt.

Writing prompts are fantastic assignments to use as early finisher activities because they integrate well with every subject area.

They encourage kids to stretch their imaginations plus develop their writing skills.

12. Design a Bulletin Board Based On Current Science Theme.

A great way to save time as a teacher is to have students help generate ideas for the bulletin boards.

Why not have them design one as an early finisher activity?

13. Create an Anticipation Guide for a Non-Fiction Book.

After completing a few anticipation guides in class, learners will be more than ready to create their own anticipation guide based on a favorite non-fiction book.

14. Journal About What You Did Last Weekend.

Students journal about what they did with family or friends during the past weekend. 

15. List All the U.S States and Capitals.

Include social studies assignments as fast finisher activities by having students practice their knowledge of states and capitals. 

16. Revise and Edit a Piece of Writing.

For those kids who need more time outside of writer’s workshop to complete a writing piece, this is a perfect time to do so. 

17. Write a Letter to Your 100-Year Old Self.

Motivate students to stretch their imaginations by asking that they write a heart-felt or humorous letter to themselves as a mature citizen.

18. Create a Word Sort.

This fun, hands-on activity is perfect for those kinesthetic learners who need to stay moving and also focused on learning.

19. Fill Out a Graphic Organizer.

Simple yet effective, completing a graphic organizer is a fantastic early finisher activity because it can be easily differentiated for different student ability levels and is useful for reviewing a variety of skills.

20. Turn a Book Into a 3-D Project Using Foldables™.

Assess students’ reading comprehension using Foldables, an interactive way for kids to show what they know. 

21. Answer an Exit Ticket Question or Prompt.

Have students respond to the lesson just taught using a variety of exit tickets.

These quick informal assessments provide great feedback for teachers.

22. Write a Kind or Encouraging Note to a Classmate.

Classmates compose a warm note for a peer. This is a great way for students to write for a specific purpose.

23. Make a Quiz About a Current Topic.

Students create a mini-test for a skill or concept the class is currently learning about. 

24. Learn 5-10 New Words of a Different Language.

Encourage students to grab a language book and practice a few new words from another language.

25. Update Your Student Grade Sheet.

Prompts learners to stay current on tracking their grades.

26. Choose an Activity from a Choice Board.

Choice boards include a variety of activities from which learners can choose.

Incorporate math, spelling, reading, writing, science, or social studies activities into the boards. 

This particular early finisher activity can be used repeatedly since learners are completing a different activity each time from the same board. 

early finishers activities choice boards

27. Add the Alphabet.

This fun early finisher activity goes as follows…

A = 1, B = 2,  C = 3,  D =4,  E = 5, F = 6, G = 7, H = 8,  I = 9, J = 10, K = 11, L = 12,  M = 13, N = 14,  O = 15,  P =16,  Q = 17, R = 18, S = 19, T = 20, U = 21, V = 22, W = 23, X = 24, Y = 25,  Z = 26

What’s the sum of your name?

Example: Lily: L =12, I = 9, L = 12, Y = 25

Lily = 58

Encourage kids to try different words. For a challenge, have them multiply instead of add.

28. Try to Write Backwards.

On a sheet of paper, students write a short message backwards in cursive or print.

Then a partner turns the paper over, holds it up to the light, and reads it. A mirror works well too.

29. Doodle One of Your Spelling Words.

Awaken students’ creativity by having them dooble a few spelling words

Doodling simply means to write a word and then draw around it in order to create a colorful piece of art. 

30. Draft New S.M.A.R.T Goals or Readjust Old Ones.

Learners revisit S.M.A.R.T goals, reflecting on what is working and what is not. 

31. Track Learning Progress With a Data Tracking Sheet.

Remind students to keep track of their learning process using data tracking sheets. These tools prove helpful during parent-teacher conferences. 

32. Finish or Start Homework.

If allowed, learners work on assignments meant for home. 

33. Perform a Brain Break.

Brain breaks are not just for disconnecting. They can also be great for learning.

See these brain breaks activities and also these online brain breaks for ideas. 

34. Draft a Reader’s Theater Script.

A popular early finisher activity, kids love writing a mini play that can later be performed for peers. 

35. Color or Draw.

Coloring and drawing is not just for very young children. Students of all ages find this activity therapeutic.

36. Work On an Activity Packet.

Compile a few extension activities for students to complete. These tasks reinforce skills and concepts. 

37. Participate In a Math Center.

Direct students to a math station to practice skills once done with class assignments. 

38. Visit the School Library.

Encourage students to check out books if they finish work early. 

39. Make a Mini Anchor Chart to Put In Reading Notebook.

Anchor charts benefit learning greatly, and requiring students to make a few small ones to keep in their reading journals is a good idea. 

40. Solve a Sudoku Puzzle.

Your advanced learners will especially appreciate Sudoku puzzles as early finisher activities.

Sudoku puzzles have easy, medium, and hard levels so there’s a puzzle to fit every academic level in your classroom. 

Model a few times to and with students how to complete one. Once they get the hang of them, they’ll love the challenge of working on them independently.  

early finisher activities

41. Catch Up On Your Classroom Job.

Remind students to complete their daily classroom job duties.

42. Read Silently.

Once finished with work, students read silently at their desks or in a designated spot. 

43. Design a Reading Bookmark.

Develop learners’ creative side by having them create a cool reading bookmark.

Challenge them to make it educational in some way.

44. Spell Vocabulary Words With Playdough.

Keep Playdough handy, and offer students the chance to practice spelling or vocabulary words with it. 

45. Make a “Building” For Geometry City.

Promote critical thinking skills by having students work on 3-D forms for a geometry city

46. Join a Literacy Center.

After finishing class work, students reinforce reading and writing skills by participating in literacy work stations. 

47. Conduct a Simple Science Experiment.

In a science center, students use the scientific method to conduct simple experiments.

48. Watch a BrainPop Video.

Using ipads, cell phones, or tablets, learners watch a video pertaining to something they are learning about in class. 

49. Research a Topic For an Essay.

Encourage students to satisfy their curiosity through research. See list of research topics to get them started. 

50. Write a Letter to Next Year’s Class About What to Expect.

How fun! Students draft a letter to the kids in the grade below telling them what to expect next year.

51. Add Artifacts and Notes to Your Student Portfolio.

Students update their student portfolios which prove useful in parent-teacher conferences and for end-of year portfolio presentations.

52. Hone a Few Study Skills.

Encourage learners to master a few important study skills in order to boost grades and academic progress. 

53. Complete a Word Search.

Every kid knows how to complete a word search. That’s why it makes a practical early finisher activity.

To take things to another level, require children to take five of the terms and use them in a sentence or create a story.

early finisher activities

54. Compose a Song About Math or Science Concept.

Students write a kid-friendly jingle or melody.

55. Put Head Down/Rest.

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

56. Wild Card: Find Your Own Early Finisher Activity.

Challenge students to find their own useful early finisher activity.

57. Unscramble a Word Jumble.

Word jumbles are another fun idea for early finisher activities, particularly a good fit for struggling spellers.

Once students complete the word jumble, ask them to choose 5 of the terms. They write a sentence with each or draft a story. 

early finisher activities

58. Reinforce Math Skills By Solving Word Problems.

Math word problems are a low-maintenance early finisher activity. Working in their math journals, learners solve a set of math problems/riddles. 

Whichever level of math skills you choose to target, it’s always good practice for kids to reinforce math concepts. That’s the essence of math spiraling

59. Create a Map of Your Bedroom.

See if your elementary, middle, or high school students know the details of their bedrooms by asking them to make an aerial map of their room. 

60. Make and Label a Graph Related to a Science or Math Topic.

What a great way to practice using text features. 

For any non-fiction book students have been reading, they will create a graph that relates to the text.

61. Sketch a Scene From Your Favorite Book, and Caption It.

Have students draw an important picture or two from a book they love. 

62. Brainstorm Smaller Words Within a Big Word.

Brainstorming Words is one of the most exciting early finisher activities. With this activity, you provide students a word.

As an example … stadium.

Now the kids brainstorm as many 2-letter, 3-letter, 4-letter, 5-letter, and 6-letters words as possible using that term. 

As a challenge, tell learners how many total words you found and see if they can match you. This way, they will thoroughly search. 

early finisher activities

63. Explore a Text Using Fun Book Projects.

If you have mature students who read instructions well and stay on task more often than not, then book projects will serve well in your classroom as an early finisher activity. 

Think ahead of time what materials learners will need, and be sure those supplies are easily accessible to them.

Doing so will minimize the chance that they interrupt you.

Students of All Ages Love These Early Finisher Activities

Never again hear the question, “What do I do now?”.

This list of early finisher activities keeps students engaged.

Why not add a few of these fun tasks to your classroom management plan this week?