If you find mornings chaotic and you want to get your students excited about starting each day, then I have three words for you – kindergarten morning tubs. I used to hate how stressful the first half hour of the day was, but once we started implementing morning tubs in kindergarten – holy cow! What a difference it made!
There are about a million and one things we have to do within the first half hour of the day. Students are staggering in and we are greeting them, checking folders, taking attendance, talking to families, checking lunches, and so much more!
My students also eat breakfast in the classroom, but of course not every student eats and they all finish at different times. In the past I used paper morning work, which was fine, but it didn’t fit all of our needs.
Students would finish early or need support. They wanted to socialize because in kindergarten time they hadn’t seen their friends in for-ev-er! They just weren’t excited to start our day. So what changed all that? Kindergarten morning tubs!
Benefits of Morning Tubs in Kindergarten
Morning tubs are a great alternative to paper morning work, and they have so many benefits in the kindergarten classroom!
They are generally open-ended and hands on, which means they give students a chance to “wake up” their brains in a fun way.
They also give students a chance to learn in a non-intimidating way.
Play is learning!
Play is SO beneficial to children! It’s not a time waster – children’s brains are actually designed to learn through play.
According to studies, children who practice through play often learn skills faster, have greater language development, are more creative, have increased social and emotional stability, and an increase in concentration.
Why wouldn’t we add in as many opportunities to play as possible? Morning tubs are such an easy way to incorporate more play into your day!
Organizing Morning Tubs in Kindergarten
This isn’t the best picture, and it was before school started for the year so things did change and move, but you can see some of the containers I use to store our morning tubs.
I find that most of our kindergarten morning tubs fit in the plastic shoe box containers. I was able to get sets of 10 for less than a dollar a piece at Walmart.
Some morning tub materials are larger. I use the book boxes to hold those.
You can grab the free morning tub labels here.
Managing Morning Tubs
A question I get a lot is, “How do you manage morning tubs? Is it a free for all?”
There are a few different ways you can manage kindergarten morning tubs, and it will mostly boil down to your classroom management style and your students’ needs.
Last year, I let students pick a tub when they were done eating and take it around the room. I set a limit of up to 3 students at a morning tub.
This year, I had students who needed more structure, so I only let students bring morning tubs to their tables. This meant that students also had to stay at their own tables. I set a limit of 2-3 morning tubs per table (students could only play with one at a time, but I had 5-6 kids at each table).
You could also do one morning tub per student. Like I said, it’s all about what works best for you!
What do you put in kindergarten morning tubs?
I have a variety of different morning tubs in kindergarten. My monthly morning tub packs contain fine motor activities, math activities, and literacy activities.
I prepped each month of morning tubs during the summer. Then, I only have to change them out at the beginning of each month!
I will give you a closer look at some of the morning tub activities I include below, but no matter if the tub is academic or purely fine motor, I want to make sure it still has a hands on component.
Some easy things to add to your tubs are:
❤️ Connecting cubes
???? Plastic Links
???? Mini erasers
???? Dry erase markers
Fine Motor Tubs
Fine motor morning tubs are not necessarily academic, but they are still important.
Fine motor skills are necessary for writing and coloring, self-help tasks such as zipping and tying, and they link closely with hand-eye coordination.
Our fine motor morning tubs change monthly to have new themes, but the activities are often similar. One tub that I love is bead pictures! Students pick up beads and then match them to the dots on the picture.
Pom pom pictures are another favorite! Students will use tweezers to pick up small pom poms and then match them to a picture or design.
The gator tweezers shown above are a little easier to squeeze than traditional fine motor tweezers, so you could start the year with them and then switch them out later on.
We also love any change we can get to build with connecting cubes! Your students could start with the pictures provided in the kindergarten morning tubs, and then make their own pictures!
Literacy Morning Tubs for Kindergarten
Who doesn’t love playdough? For this tub, students will roll “snakes” out of playdough and then form the letters.
These playdough letter mats are from the August morning tubs for kindergarten. They are always a hit!
Just add plastic links to make any matching activity instantly more fun!
I also like to pull activities from my kindergarten morning tubs to make hands on literacy and math centers.
Math Morning Tubs
We can never get enough counting practice!
For this morning tub, students will use either playdough or mini erasers to count our the correct number.
Sorting by color is an important beginning math skill! For this center, students will sort objects by color.
You can add in small manipulatives or toys to make this even more fun.
Begin Kindergarten Morning Tubs in Your Classroom
All of the morning tubs featured in this blog post are from my Kindergarten Morning Tubs. They are available in my TpT shop. You can also find 1st grade morning tubs here. Then let me know, what do mornings look like in your classroom? Leave a comment below!
I have not used morning tubs but am looking to change things up this year. With your help, this is a perfect place to start.
I think you’re going to love them!
I purchased the entire year. I’m so excited to use morning tubs in my class!
❤️ I hope they love them as much as my class does!
Hi Natalie! This was going to be my first year starting morning tubs, but I’m worried with the sharing of materials. Do you think having morning tubs is still an option this year with everything going on. Our school doesn’t start until September, so we have not received guidelines yet for the year.
I definitely understand that concern and I think it will be important to see what guidelines your district sets. I think you could still do them if everyone had their own tub for the day – I use the shoebox containers and they are less than a dollar a piece at Walmart. They could choose a new one each day. You could also put a few activities in one tub for each student so that they never had to switch them. That would be more work upfront, though, but you could choose to not change the tubs every month. I just hate the thought of losing play, but I also don’t think you should make a ton of extra work for yourself, so it will come down to what’s too much for you.
This is great i will definitely use morning tubs this year. Thank you.
I’m glad it was helpful!