Mornings in kindergarten can be a little chaotic, am I right? Students come in and start talking, walk around, dance, yell, and have no idea what to do. That’s why our task boxes/morning bins are a GREAT start to the day! If you haven’t grabbed them yet, you can do that by clicking here! (Psst…they’re INCLUDED in the membership for Simply Kinder + members! You can find them all here!) Then you’ll want to keep reading to get all the tips on how to prep, store, use your monthly bins, and grab a FREE set below!
This article goes well with these Simply Kinder resources:
What are Task Boxes, anyway?
Simply Kinder has the BEST hands-on morning work for your preschool, kindergarten, and first-grade classes. There is a different set for each month, so they’re unique and your students look forward to using them. The best part is, it doesn’t just have to be for morning work. That’s why we call them “task boxes” instead! You can use them for early finishers, small groups, or anytime throughout the day! Engage students with a huge variety of interactive activities for literacy, math, fine motor skills, and more- organized by month, task, or season!
How to Prep Morning Bins:
We designed our task boxes to use common objects found in most classrooms, like snap cubes, connecting links, play dough, mini erasers, and pom poms. You can quickly grab things and then throw them in the bins. If you don’t have one of the items, you can easily substitute it with something else.
Most of our Task Box activities are half-page activities. Reuse them again and again, and save time at the copy machine! The activities with questions at the bottom can be placed in a clear sheet protector so they can use dry-erase markers for their answers, or use the clear counters to put over an answer.
Once you download the main file, print the bin labels and place them on your bind of choice. We like using the rainbow bright colored teacher material paper trays, but you can use anything that works for you. There are two different sizes of labels included. The main sheet of each activity will be folded like a table tent and includes the title on one side with materials and directions on the other. Cut out necessary pages, gather all of your materials needed, and then throw them inside the task bin. It’s that simple! You can prep your entire month’s worth in one planning period.
Storing Your Bins
Now that you have everything ready for the month, it’s time to store them in an accessible place for students to grab.
Each month has up to 20 different activities, so storing 20 bins can be a bit tricky. Luckily, stacking the bins saves a lot of room! They can sit on a bookshelf, on top of a shelf, in a cubby, etc.
Quick tip: make sure you measure the space you plan on using before cleaning it all out or you might end up like this haha:
Don’t have the bookshelf space? No problem! Check out this idea for utilizing a storage drawer rolling cart that you might already have in your classroom. Add labels on the sides for students to see. Bins slide out when they’re in use and then slide back in for storage.
Using Morning Bins
You got the Task Box Bundle, you’ve prepped them for the month, found a great storage spot, and now it’s time to put them to good use! Some quick tips:
- Discuss Expectations: let your students know the rules ahead of time. Some ideas would be no snapping rubber bands, keeping all the materials inside the bin when not in use, and only taking one bin at a time. If they are completing these in the morning, explain how to walk in, hang up their backpacks, and grab the morning bin to start.
- Model the Procedure: this might be the first time students are ever seeing geo-boards, using snap cubes, or completing a directed drawing. Only introduce a few bins at a time so you can show the class how to complete activities.
- Choose Groups: if you want students to work in pairs, with table partners they sit with, or in a different small group, set those ahead of time!
- Set a Time Limit: if you are using these as morning work, make sure your students know they only have XX amount of time to complete an activity. This will include clean-up time as well. Using a timer or countdown clock on a smart board is a great way for them to keep track!
Free Apple Counting Morning Bins
Simply enter your email below and the Simply Kinder freebie fairy will fly that over to your inbox! Or grab this download instantly inside Simply Kinder + here!
Now it’s your turn! Your mornings are going to be smooth, exciting, and educational for your students! What do you think? Let us know on our Simply Kinder Teacher Group Facebook Page. Have another storage suggestion? Post a picture to Instagram and tag #simplykinder so we can see it. Happy teaching!
This post was written by Johanna, an experienced early elementary teacher who loves learning about new teaching ideas for preschool, kindergarten, and first grade!