A new kindergarten teacher recently asked me about what I have the kids work on for Kindergarten Morning Work. She was gearing up to buy a 200 page bundle of morning work worksheets, until I told her, “Don’t do it!” For years, I had my kids work on the traditional morning work worksheet. A few years back, I decided to ditch the worksheet for what I call “The Fine Motor 15.” Our mornings now begin with 15 minutes of hands-on activities. My students strengthen their fine motor skills while working on a literacy or math skill at the same time. The benefits of incorporating purposeful play have been endless!
Why I Made the Change to Kindergarten Morning Work
Like many of you, I noticed that my students were really struggling with fine motor tasks such as cutting, writing, drawing, and even self-help skills. Awkward pencil grips were becoming all too common. Some kids had never used scissors before entering kindergarten. Fewer kids were able to tie shoes, and several couldn’t zip or button their coats. This fine motor deficit required me to teach skills that were once already mastered by the beginning of kindergarten. As a result, instructional time was lost.
After doing extensive research on fine motor weakness, I knew that something needed to change. I needed to provide my students with opportunities to build hand-strength. Doing so would eventually help them with the skills mentioned above. And so, The Fine Motor 15 was born!
The New Kindergarten Morning Work
My kids enter the classroom each day eager to find out what STEAM-based material they get to use! I have four tables in my kindergarten classroom. In typical years, I place a material in the middle for the kids to share and rotate these four materials Monday through Thursday. On “Free Choice Friday,” students get to choose the table with their favorite material (with a max of five students at a table).
Last school year made this a bit more challenging as we weren’t able to share materials. Instead, I used this rainbow storage cart in the photo below to create 20 bins. Students worked with the same bin each day for a week. I sanitized on Friday and rotated materials the following Monday.
My Fine Motor Favorites for Morning Bins
I have so many kid-tested fine motor favorites for the classroom! I created a shopping list (with affiliate links) to help you get started. My best advice is to start with what you have, and add a little bit at a time. You can also create a Donors Choose Project or an Amazon Wish List, and share it with your families if you are allowed to do so.
You can also read about My Top 10 Fine Motor Picks HERE!
I hope this post has inspired you to change up your morning routine. I’m so glad I did! I have seen an improvement over time with fine motor skills, and I have a roomful of happy kids who can’t wait to begin the school day.
How do you start your mornings in the classroom? Comment below. I would love to hear from you!