Starting the day off on the right foot is a great way to get your students ready for the day. Preparing morning activities allows you to utilize your day properly and gets kids prepared for the learning ahead.
There are no right and wrong morning activities for classrooms. Some classrooms have various options, allowing kids to select what makes the most sense of them. Other classrooms have a set morning routine; many kids thrive on morning routine.
If you need some inspiration for morning activities, here are a few suggestion for lower and upper elementary classrooms.
8 Morning Activities for Students in Lower Elementary
1. Dot-to-Dot Pages
Grab some dot markers and let your kids complete dot-the-dot pages. You have all sorts of options available from holiday related pages to letters and numbers.
This is a fairly easy morning activity to set up for your kids. Create a packet for each child to complete before the day gets started.
2. Lace Numbers
Working on fine motor skills is a great way to start the morning for lower elementary kids, especially kindergarten and preschoolers. Kids need ample time to work on their fine motor skills, so putting these into your plans for morning activities makes sense.
This lacing number and ABCs set is perfect for young kids. It includes the numbers, letters, laces, and a coloring book.
I would set up a station with several of these available for kids to use as they watch throughout the morning.
3. Play-Doh Mats
Another guaranteed activity your little kids will enjoy is Play-Doh mats! You can find letter play-doh mats, as well as holiday themed ones.
There are mats for nearly anything!
I suggest using a laminator to ensure the sheets last for longer than one use. You can rotate them through your students; no reason to print more than necessary!
Then, you’ll need plenty of Play-Doh on hand!
4. Coloring Pages
If you’re looking for simple morning activities, does it get more simple than coloring pages? Nearly all kids love to color, and in the early morning, it gives time for the kids to start their brain and relax.
I notice kids tend to be quiet while concentrating on coloring their pages, which sets the tone for the rest of the day.
5. Morning Math Review
Are you working on new math conceptions that your kids need to practice? Put out worksheets for each child on their desk to work on quietly in the morning before the day begins.
All kids benefit from extra math practice throughout the day!
I’m a huge fan of tanagrams! These blocks are great for mental work for students.
Separate your tanagram wooden blocks into bags and give them laminated examples to recreate with the blocks they have in their bag. Make sure they have all they need, or you’ll have frustrated kids on your hand.
7. Playing Cards
If your kids sit at desks together in a group, they can enjoy playing cards together as one of their morning activities. Playing cards is a great way for kids to get to know each other and improve their social skills.
Plus, many card games are low-key educational as well.
Grab this set of classic card games for kids that include Go Fish, Old Maid, War, and more. The kids will love playing cards together!
8. Morning Yoga and Stretching
Waking up your body before you brain is great for many kids. Don’t head to gymnasium; your kids will get too excited and wild.
Instead, start with some basic yoga and stretching activities with deep breathing exercises. It will help your kids get started off on the right foot.
9 Morning Activities for Students in Upper Elementary
1. Journal and Writing Prompts
Sometimes, you need low prep morning activities, and journaling or writing prompts are perfect. All the kids need is a notebook!
Kids can free write whatever is on their mind; this is a great way to get to know your students. Many teachers find that students respond well to journaling back and forth. This may be too difficult to accomplish each day, but it could be a Friday activity, giving you time to respond over the weekend.
Another simple idea is to have a basket of writing prompts in the front of the room. Once your students arrive, they grab a prompt and begin writing.
2. Soft Starts
I learned this term awhile ago, and it made perfect sense to me. Soft starts are great for students; not everyone is ready to tackle work as soon as they arrive.
Think about that cup of coffee you enjoy before your day really gets started.
Soft starts give your students the time for their brains to wake up and keeps everyone entertained. The best thing about this idea is you can offer a variety of choices for students.
Remember, older kids often enjoy things that little kids like as well. Here are some ideas.
- Play Doh or Kinetic Sand
- Coloring Pages
- Listening to a podcast
- Dot-to-Dot pages
- Building with LEGOs
- Drawing prompts
- Strategy games
- Crossword puzzles
3. Word Searches & Mazes
Many kids love word searches and mazes; even adults love them. They work your brain in a relaxing sort of way, but it also stimulates different parts of your brain.
You have to be purposeful, think, and search for words. Your students will be quiet as they concentrate on their word searches.
4. Let Students Complete Morning Tasks
Kids love to feel like they are helpful, so let your students work on different morning tasks that need done. Not only does this make kids feel included and valued, but it also helps you get ready for the day.
You can have a rotation for these tasks and each student gets a chance to be your morning helper. When kids know you need help, they love being able to provide that!
5. Question of the Day
Having a question of the day is easy to incorporate as part of your morning activities. Post the question on the board before kids arrive, and they have to answer it in their journals.
It doesn’t have to be questions pertaining to any lessons. It can be open ended questions like “What would you and your best friend do on a nice day in summer?” These questions can be a great way to get to know the students in your classroom.
6. Morning Packets
Packets are an effective way to review concepts learned throughout the week and an easy way for you to start the day. Morning packets are typically several worksheets that focus on skill building that need practice or review.
When your students arrive for the day, they grab their morning packet and sit at their desk to complete before the day gets started. At a designated time, the kids submit their packet.
These are best not graded, but rather, they work at their own pace.
Kids love to play dominoes, but you might not realize how educational this game can be! Dominoes are a strategy game, which helps with logic building. Kids need puzzles and to work out a way to win.
Playing dominoes together with other kids helps with number sense, counting, basic math addition, matching, sorting, and more.
If you want morning activities your students work together in groups, Bananagrams are great! Kids work together to build crossword grids.
While this is fun, it’s also educational. Kids practice spelling together, and you can have a dictionary nearby for kids to look up spellings if they need help.
9. Independent Reading
The last of the morning activities for older students is independent reading. Kids need time to read quietly and things they enjoy.
Start by offering a variety of books at different reading leaves for kids to enjoy. Consider having a classroom “library” where kids can check out chapter books to finish at home.
Give your students time to settle in for the day with a good book. I can’t think of a better way to start your day off on a good foot!
Picking the right morning activities starts your day off on the right foot and sets the mood for the day. Try rotating different activities to see how it changes the day going forward.