Independent Activities for Kindergarten

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

All students benefit from the opportunity to show and practice independence. The activities in this lesson are specifically oriented toward enriching kindergartners' experiences of school.

The Purpose of Independent Activities

As a kindergarten teacher, you know that your students often benefit from direct instruction and opportunities to work with adults or other students. At the same time, it is also important for these young children to develop the capacity to work and learn on their own. Independent work helps children develop their resourcefulness and problem-solving abilities as well as their self confidence. It also provides you as a teacher with a much-needed chance to work with students who need you most at any given time.

This lesson focuses on activities that most kindergarten students will be able to work on independently, even if they are not yet literate. These activities appeal to different learning styles and strengths, and you can use most of them multiple times.

Emergent Literacy Activities

The activities in this section help students enjoy the world of books, language and letters while developing their independence.

Book Walk

It is so important for young students to learn how to hold, look through, and enjoy a book, whether or not they know how to read the words in it. Put a basket of picture books at each desk, and teach your students to take 'book walks,' wandering their way through each book. On a book walk, students should:

  • Hold the book properly
  • Spend at least one minute looking at each page
  • Think about what they are seeing
  • Ask questions and have conversations about the book in their minds

When students finish one book, they can return it and repeat these steps with another in the basket.

Letter Collage

This is a great activity if you are focusing on letter recognition or formation with your kindergartners. Put several magazines and catalogs at each table, as well as scissors and glue. Students should work quietly and independently to either cut out as many different versions of a particular letter as they can, gluing them to paper, or (for more advanced readers) cutting out pictures of things that start with that letter.

If students feel they are finished with one letter collage, they can move on to the next letter in the alphabet.

Draw Your Morning

Most kindergarten students love to draw, and drawing particular scenes or stories can help prepare them for writing. Ask students to use colored pencils to draw a detailed version of something that happened in the morning before they came to school. They should focus on filling every part of the page, and they can label figures with letters if they are capable of this.

Emergent Math Activities

This section contains activities that will help kindergartners work with numbers and shapes without adult assistance.

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