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  • Writer's pictureElena

Finished, teacher!

Managing fast finishers in the young learner classroom can pose a significant challenge for teachers. These learners complete their tasks ahead of others, leaving them with spare time that, if not used effectively, might lead to boredom and distraction. In this blog post, I will share examples of activities designed specifically for fast finishers in the ELT classroom.

Note: It is important to set clear expectations for what ‘finished’ actually means. Sometimes young learners may misinterpret the task or rush through it, either due to a lack of comprehension or a desire to move on to something they see as more appealing.

When designing activities for fast finishers, teachers often create fast finisher folders filled with worksheets or task cards. These folders or cards can be stocked with a variety of activities catering to different learning needs and language skills.


Riddles and brainteasers. Share riddles and brainteasers for children to solve, encouraging critical thinking and language comprehension. For example,

  • I am not a bird, but I can fly. I am dark. I sleep upside down. (bat)

  • What can you always find in the middle of March? (the letter r)


Word scramble. Jumble letters of a word and challenge children to rearrange them to form the correct word.

Word search. Provide children with a list of words to be found in the word search. As an alternative, you could ask them to find the opposites for each of the words on the list. If space allows, it is nice to have a word search placed on the wall. This way children can move around the classroom.

Alphabet race. Challenge students to write down words for each letter of the alphabet related to a specific topic (e.g., animals, colours).

Word art. Ask children to create "word art" where they write new vocabulary in different styles or fonts.

Codes. Use a code to create a list of vocabulary for children to decode in class. Then, ask them to create a new list (related to the topic) for their classmates. Check the list and use it as a new fast finisher activity.


Jumbled sentences. Provide a set of words and challenge learners to arrange them into coherent sentences.

Grammar sketch. Invite learners to draw a comic or series of pictures that illustrate the use of a particular grammar rule.


Tongue twisters. Provide children with tongue twisters and encourage them to focus on pronunciation and rhythm.


Rainbow writing. Encourage children to practise learning new vocabulary with rainbow writing. Ask them to write each letter in a word a different colour.

Look, copy, cover and write. Provide children with a list of words. Encourage them to look at the words in the first column, copy them into the second, and write from memory in the third column.

Story starters. Invite learners to write the beginning of a story using a prompt or picture.

Five senses writing. Ask learners to write short descriptive paragraphs using all five senses to describe an object or scene.


Quiz creation. Encourage children to create a quick true or false quiz based on the text.

Draw a character. Have children choose a character from the text and draw them.

Alphabet game. Encourage learners to list words related to the text in alphabetical order. Ask them to focus on nouns, verbs, adjectives, or adverbs.

Word associations. Ask learners to list words associated with the story and explain their choices.

Mind mapping. Have students create a mind map about the main ideas or characters in the text.

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