Whether you teach from your home or a classroom, a great morning routine is an important way to set the tone for the day. While there are lots of ways to organize morning activities, one of my favorites is using morning work boxes. Morning work boxes are easy to set up, low maintenance, and fun for students!
What are Morning Work Boxes?
Morning work boxes are plastic containers that hold activities for children to complete as they arrive in the morning. Rubbermaid storage containers or plastic shoe boxes make great choices to hold morning activities. (We actually use Ikea storage boxes). When choosing morning work boxes, keep in mind the size of the box. While plastic shoe boxes are a convenient size, they are rather small and won’t be able to hold larger activities.
What kind of activities do morning work boxes contain?
Morning work boxes can hold a large variety of activities. You’ll want to consider the size of box you are using and how many students will be using the box at a time when planning the contents of your morning work boxes. It’s also wise to keep the contents fresh–they should include activities that are novel or not regularly available to children during the day. (See the idea list at the end of this post for specific ideas!)
How to Use Morning Work Boxes
First, you’ll want to decide if your morning work boxes are going to be used by individual children or groups of children. You may even decide to have boxes that can both be used individually and by small groups, in which case you would need to label the boxes so children can decide if they’d prefer independent or collaborative boxes. (Use simple visual labels for the children–different colors for each type or single child/multiple children label.)
As children arrive in the classroom, they are free to choose from any of the morning work boxes available. The boxes should be easy to access and light enough to carry independently. I allow children to choose any spot in the classroom that they’re comfortable to complete their morning work.
Decide on an amount of time you’d like children to work on their activities and set a timer to keep everyone on track. This is a great time to greet your students and start the day out on a positive note, with a choice.
Activity Ideas for Morning Work Boxes
Despite the fact that they are called “work boxes”, these morning activities should be playful and developmentally appropriate for preschoolers! (After all, “work” is play for preschoolers!) Some activity choices may include:
- Button Counting Math activity
- Fine Motor Clothespin Activities
- Mini Eraser Math Activities
- Pom Pom Activities
- Hole punches and paper
- ABC Dot Marker Activities
- Unifix Cubes
- Any of these Quiet Bin Ideas would work as well!
The activities in each box can be rotated out ever few weeks to a month to keep your kids engaged and interested!
These boxes could also be a way to slowly introduce center activities to your preschoolers. Move activities from the morning boxes to your center areas after children have become familiar with them.
Have you used morning work boxes? Let us know what you like to include inside.
BIO: Clarissa is a former elementary teacher and writer of the blog Munchkins and Moms. She loves to share creative preschool activities that are both playful and educational. Check out some of her popular posts such as Preschool Friendship Art, a perfect first week of school activity! Don’t forget to follow her on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more creative ideas!
Follow my Classroom Centers Pinterest Board for more ideas!