Early Finishers Skill Tubs

Hi!  This is Linda from Kinder Doodles, and I'm so happy to have the opportunity to share my Skill Tubs with you here on Kindergarten Lifestyle!  Several years ago I realized that I had so many great resources - centers and activities from The Mailbox, Scholastic, Teachers Pay Teachers, and other wonderful companies, plus things that I'd made, that just never saw the light of day.  I wanted a way to get these learning tools into my Kinders' hands, and needed a way to do so.  But, I wanted them to be used in a "controlled" way so that I'd continue to have them.  After lots of thought on how to present them, I came up with the idea of Skill Tubs.

Simply put, my Skill Tubs are dish tubs (Walmart) filled with an assortment of learning activities that are housed on a wire shelving unit (Target).

My corporation caps kindergarten at eighteen students so my nine Skill Tubs are perfect for partner work.  Classrooms with more students can have three to four students work out of a tub. 
I label each tub with a number and where to work - both spelled out and a photo of the work area.  I have tried to spread the work areas around the room so the Kinders can work with their partners and not disturb others.  They really do a great job staying on task!
Some samples of what might be in a tub, clockwise from upper left: an activity from an issue of The mailbox, decodable readers from our reading series, seasonal shaped cards with sight words (laminate & write words with Sharpie - rubbing alcohol removes it so you can reuse the shapes again & again!), word family activity from a Mailbox thematic unit, a Carson Delosa file folder activity.  I often include activities that students have done in our Learning Stations small groups for extra practice.  The pictures below show some of the activities in use. 

I use this pocket chart to move students through a rotation of all nine tubs.  The names on the left side move down, and those on the right move up, so that the Kinders have a different partner every day.  I can keep students who don't work together well in one column so that they never get each other as a partner.  I do, however, occasionally swap out some students from left to right to keep the pairs fresh & friendly.  (The photos on the far right are pictures of Skill Spots - other work areas around the room.)

I have created a Cupcake CVC Word Game Freebie for you to put in your own Literacy Skill Tub.  Visit my blog to for a Cupcake Ten Frame freebie for your Math Skill Tub.  While you are there, feel free to look around - I have lots of other freebies!  Thanks for reading!



  1. I love the skill tubs idea! I also have so many things that I would love to put to good use! Thanks for the freebie!!

  2. I love this idea! It reminds me a lot of the "Buzz Work" that Sprinkles to Kindergarten posted earlier this fall which she uses for morning work. When do your students use these tubs? I've been thinking I'd like to experiment with something like this after spring break and work out some of the kinks before next year. I'd love to hear more aabout how you manage your tubs!

    Happy Teacher Heaven

  3. I, too, feel the same way because I have so many resources that it seems like I never have time to use. Great idea to rotate the kiddos so they get to each tub. How long do you give them for each tub? The Cupcake CVC words won't come up for me. It sounds like exactly what I need.

  4. Hi, it's Linda again. Lee Ann, I'm sorry the cupcake CVC didn't open. Email me (kindergartendoodles@yahoo.com) with the subject line cupcake CVC and I'll email it to you.

    We use Skill Tubs daily for about 15 minutes. Older kids may be able to go a little longer. We worked really hard at the beginning of the year to build stamina (based upon the methods outlined in The Daily 5) and my Kinders are able to work quietly with their partners.

    I usually have 4 - 6 activities and an assortment of leveled books in each tub. Because it takes nine days to get through a rotation, I don't have to change the activities too frequently. Some activities are favorites and have been in the tubs all year!

    This year we have a super long stretch in the afternoon, so we use it to break it up a bit. The kids like a little *freedom* after working so hard on math.

    Thanks again, Jeannie, for allowing me to be a guest blogger!