My goal before leaving for Spring Break this week was to stage all my fine motor morning work so that when I came back, I would be ready to go. It meant some late nights, but I did it and thought I would share my plans with all of you as quickly as I can so you can get a head start on your set up as well. I hope you’ll be able to find a few ideas to help you plan your month of morning work. April was a fun month to plan with Easter and spring just around the corner here in Michigan. It was hard to choose just 12 activities so I threw a couple extra in that I will use to extend the month.
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As always, just click on the pictures to find links to where I purchased items and travel all the way to the end of the post to secure your free printables.
THE SET UP
I have a very extensive post that outlines how I decided to start using morning work stations for fine motor, how I set up my stations, what I use to house my stations and how my students can independently grab them and go. If you’d like to check it out, please click on the picture below or HERE to see how I do it. I also have posted my plans for each month from September through this month, April. You can see all the past posts by clicking HERE if you’d like to catch up.
STATION ONE: LEGO EGGO
Lego obsession has hit my classroom. I should have never started challenging them because they don’t want to ever stop. They anxiously await what the next challenge will be. Last month’s rainbow was a good one . . . I even had one of my friends decide to incorporate a rainbow with a maze. (They’re getting smarter than me.)
This months challenge will is all about eggs. I’m sure they will take it a step further but here’s the basic pattern I will show them and let them take it from there.
STATION TWO: WATER BEAD WABBITS
I’m so excited about these gorgeous turquoise water gel beads. I can not keep my kinders away from these. They love watching the beads grow when they are exposed to water, and the sensory part of it . . . yes they are cold and wet but really not slimy at all . . . really appeals to them. I have had a few of you ask how I keep them fresh. I simply rinse them off with a little water/bleach solution once a week or every 10 days and I have never had an issue with them. They don’t stink or get slimy.
I found these little bunny cookie cutters at Walmart, but if you don’t have a Walmart close by, you can get something similar to them from Amazon. They are the same color as the beads. Gorgeous! And this month, to play the game, I added a new type of die. My students have been working on mixed addition/subtraction problems so I just printed a couple different equations on a wooden block or you can use one of those blank die. My students will take turns rolling the die and completing the equation.
Whatever the answer is, that is how many gel beads they must remove (one at a time) and place in their cookie cutter. The first person to fill the bottom of their cookie cutter wins.
Wanna make it even more fun . . . place your game on a light table. The translucent water beads are so beautiful. My students love it! This light table is so amazing. I’m thinking about getting a second one. I use it so often. If you’d like to take a look at the one I have, you can click HERE for more information. It’s super portable and lightweight. My students can manage setting it up and taking care of it with no problems.
STATION THREE: SPRING STICKER SORT AND COUNT
In February’s Fine Motor Morning Work Stations, I had a similar sticker activity and when I found these seasonal spring stickers at our local Meijer’s, I knew I had to create another one for my students.
There are actually a variety of spring stickers in each packet, but I cut out strips of the birds, flowers and eggs for them to use for this activity.
They can choose the stickers they want to use to outline the egg. Then they simply count up the different types of each kind and then total them. Pealing those stickers and getting them on the egg is no easy fine motor feat. It’s great practice and I love that I can incorporate a little math into it as well. Of course, I have made this a freebie available for you. Just travel to the end of this post and click on the FREE PRINTABLES button to get yours.
Are your kinders obsessed with locks and keys yet? Did I not tell you how much they would love them? Even if I wanted to get rid of this station, they would probably sting me up and hold me hostage until I agreed to bring it back. Yes. They love it that much. When I told them I was getting their new morning stations ready for April, they all wanted to make sure that I wasn’t taking the locks away. I promised they would be there — but told them I would be changing them up a bit.
I added some different equations and number combinations to keep this activity challenging. They have come up with their own games for playing with them. Usually, they take turns searching for either a key or lock with the tongs. Once they find one they place it front of them. As they take turns and retrieve keys and locks, they can either match up with the keys or locks in their own pile, or they can ‘steal’ a key or lock from their partner. In the end, the person with the most keys and locks, gets the privilege of re-hiding all the keys and locks.
This month I have the same polypropylene pellets but changed it up by adding some seasonal bright-colored bunnies that I found at my local Meijer’s Store.
They always come up with much better games than I do.
STATION FIVE: MAGNETIC EGGS
I was searching for some seasonal ways to incorporate push and pull into my April lessons and found a post from Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls (You have to check out her blog!) where she had placed magnets into the bottoms of plastic easter eggs. How FUN!!! Right? I thought, why not place letters on them, use these ADORABLE bunny tongs and make it a sight word fine motor station.
Stick your button in the bottom of the egg and place a bit of modeling clay over the top and secure it. It will stay in place–no problem.
Then I just took a Sharpie, added letters and placed them on a Dollar Tree cookie sheet. My students will grab their Ball Words (Differentiated sight word sets!) and practice making their sight words by moving the eggs from one cookie sheet to their practice one using yet another set of bunny tongs. (I seriously may have tong obsession.)
STATION SIX: POKEY PINS
Mrs. Miner’s Monkey Business had another cute set of pokey pin papers to choose from this month. I couldn’t narrow it down to just two so I’m giving my students a choice of three different pokey pin sheets (or all three!) If you aren’t familiar with pokey pin activities, it’s simply a fine motor skill where students use a push-pin to outline a design or letters.
Yes, it is perfectly safe and in all my years of using these, I have never had a mishap (knock on wood). I train my students early in the year how to use the pins and store them when they are not using them in an eraser for safe keeping.
This station is so easy to prep. I just have to print off the design sheets and staple them to one of my favorite Astrobrights papers. Once the design has been completed, I take the staples out and my students have a design. We like to hold them up to the light or tape them to the window so we can look at them.
STATION SEVEN: EGG-CELLENT ADDITION
Were you one of the lucky ones that was able to grab up some Target Easter eraser goodness? I will tell you, the closest Target to me is an hour away. So when I heard that Target had Easter erasers, I sent my niece out shopping for them and she sent them to me in Michigan all the way from Iowa. Love that girl. She knows how to feed her auntie’s kindergarten teacher obsessions.
You’ll notice those cute patootie rabbit tongs again. I seriously bought 3 pair–ok maybe more like 4 or 5 but look at them for goodness sakes! I labeled a couple of different sets of colored plastic eggs. The colors will differentiate this activity so that I can make it more challenging for those students who have moved on to more advanced addition. Student will select an egg using the tongs, then open the egg and sort the erasers into two sets.
From there, they will count up the erasers and will write an equation and answer next to the corresponding number. Of course, I have this recording sheet available to you at the end of the post. Just click on the “FREE PRINTABLES” button to get yours.
STATION EIGHT: HAPPY EASTER PUTTY
I don’t want you to think I’m like a Walmart stalker or anything, but I really hit the jackpot there for this months fine motor stations. This was another little gem that I picked up. Knowing that I would need ‘something’ to put in my therapy putty this month, I saw these Easter necklaces and scooped up a set. I actually see that they have them on Amazon as well so if you are desperate and don’t have a Walmart near by, you can always order a set in a pinch.
I cut them apart so the letters and eggs could easily be hidden inside the putty.
As my students find the beads and letters, they will sort, graph them on this little recording sheet. I also challenged them to see if they could make any words with the letters they found or if they could find all the letters to make HAPPY EASTER.
The recording sheet is yet another freebie that I have made available to you at the end of this post.
STATION NINE: GREATER THAN/LESS THAN EGGS
I gave up my ping-pong ball obsession from the last several months and switched to the ever versatile and super affordable plastic easter eggs. The two colors of these eggs really don’t have any significance. I simply chose these colors because I loved that they match these egg plates that I found, where? Oh yea! Walmart again.
This month instead of writing numbers on balls, I wrote addition and subtraction problems on eggs. Students will take turns using my cute bunny tongs to select an egg and then solve the problem. Then they will use the spinner (Yes! That is a transparent spinner hot glued to a cd case! ) to determine if the student with the greater or less than number is the winner. The winner gets to keep both eggs and place them on their egg tray.
The first student to fill their tray is the winner.
STATION TEN: SPRING SNAP CUBES
and spring images from the set to challenge my students. They create the snap cube pattern and then count up how many snap cubes they used to create the pattern. There are several pictures for them to choose from, and I love that there are enough to keep them busy the entire time.
STATION ELEVEN: EGG-CELLENT WORD FAMILIES
I found the elusive three colored striped plastic Easter eggs. Woohoo! Did you?
I’m going to tell you, getting these little buggers together and apart is no easy fine motor task. This going to challenge your kinders. I wrote a different letter on each section of the egg. Students will be able to simply search my sensory tub for eggs of their choice, but then they will need to manipulate the eggs to create real words from the letters written on the different sections.
I created this very simply recording sheet and laminated it for my students to use and then read their words to their partner. It can be yours by following this post to the end and selecting the FREE PRINTABLES button.
STATION TWELVE: FEED YOUR BUNNY
You know . . . admitting I was in a Walmart is like admitting I ate a box of Girl Scouts Thin Mints all by myself or something . . . I’m not proud it. I don’t do it often. But I did it. Here’s the thing, I am often frustrated when I leave there. I go in for one specific thing and, it never fails, they never have it. But I’m big enough to admit when I am wrong, and Walmart has proven me wrong this month. In addition to all the other amazing finds I have shown you so far, I got these too. Look at these. They are adorable! I knew I had to find a way to use them.
I have a small classroom, so I’m not afraid to use any available inch of unused wall . . . or in this case . . . back of shelf space. I took my little clothes pins and labeled each one with a number 0-10. Then using some command hooks, I strung up some twine and placed my clips on the twine.
Then I printed different addition and subtraction equations off on these cute little carrots. (Print them on cardstock and laminate them for durability.) I don’t typically like to use food for my sensory bins if I can help it, but sometimes it’s the cheapest and easiest alternative I have. So this time I used a large bag of dried split peas. These were perfect for setting the carrots up like a little garden.
My students will use tongs to select a carrot, solve the equation and match it up to the bunny clip.
Of course, these are also another item that I have made available for you for free this month. You just have to travel to the end of this post to secure your copy by selecting the FREE PRINTABLES button.
Because I just can’t think you can ever have enough fine motor or sensory work, I am also adding these stations to my rotations as well.
BONUS 1: CVC EGG PUZZLES
These egg puzzles are part of my April Sensory Activities Galore set. I like the idea of having them available in a sensory tub for my students. You will see many . . . I mean many many small sensory tubs being used at any given time in my class. Sensory tubs keep activities engaging and my students on task. Do they want to play in it. You bet and that’s fine. I totally let them, once they finish the activity. Why not?
This particular tub has polypropylene beads you might find in dolls and such along with some foam spring beads. So super simple, right?
Stick them all in a tub, and your students have a self-correcting CVC activity the will a
BONUS 2: CHICKS AND BUNNIES WATER BEAD GAME
Sunny yellow and pink water gel beads are so pretty together. When I remembered I had these little bunny and chick containers from the Dollar Tree, I thought they would be perfect for another gel bead activity. I used this positive/negative a number die with this game. Students roll the die, if they get a number they add that number to their container. They have to use only pink for bunnies and only yellow for chicks. This makes securing the gel beads a bit more tricky. If they get a negative number, they have to subtract that many from their container. The first one to fill the container–wins.
Of course, putting these on your light table — totally knocks it out of the park.
BONUS 3: EDITABLE MYSTERY PICTURE COLOR BY SIGHT WORD
My baby boy who is now 9 years old (How did that happen by the way?) tells me that when you do mystery pictures, you have to be very precise. You can’t have any ‘ghosties’ (that’s white spots) or the picture just doesn’t look good. I thought this would make a perfect fine motor activity for my kinders this year, because they LOVE to color and they finally have developed enough strength and control where their coloring is good.
With this activity, I have several spring themed mystery pictures. I can simply program each sheet with a different set of words and then student color by the code to discover the hidden picture.
This is a new packet available in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. If you’d like to check them out for yourself, just click HERE to see them. The are on sale for the next few days.
Of course, as with every month, I try to include as many free printables to support your morning work stations as I possibly can. While I can’t make everything free and not all the resources are my own, I have put a few things together to help you out. If you’d like to grab these, all you have to do is click the button below. You will enter your email and you will be sent a confirmation email, asking you to confirm your subscription. Once you do, the file is usually downloaded right to your computer. Just check your computer’s ‘download’ file. Sometimes the email goes to your SPAM account and occasionally, if you use a school email address, it may block my mail. So I always suggest you use a generic yahoo, hotmail or gmail type address to avoid this.
Happy Spring Break to all of you. Now I’m off to get a little Vitamin D therapy with my boys!
UPDATE: After spending the last year posting about morning work and presenting workshops to teachers across the country, I had numerous special requests from teachers who required more than just 12 stations, ‘I Can’ sheets with standards and skills indicated, and who had numerous questions. Taking all those requests and questions, I put together a Getting Started With Morning Stations packet and now an expanded October, November, December, January , February, March and now April Morning Work Station packet with 39 Morning Work Station Activities. If you’d like to learn more about the getting started packet, just click HERE. Or click on the picture below to find out more about April.