Teacher Tips: Cleaning Up!
Whether your program is closing until fall or this is just a good time to reorganize for the summer months, children can help make cleanup fun!
- Grades: Early Childhood, Infant, PreK–K, 1–2
1 Make a plan. Bring your group together and make a list of all that needs to be done to clean up and organize your room for the end of the year. Check off tasks as they're completed.
2 Take time. If you schedule cleanup area by area, ask children to share some of the experiences they've enjoyed and what they've learned in each area. Don't forget to add your thoughts too.
3 Make it fun. Turn cleanup into a sorting game. Ask children to help you put items in bags or boxes according to use. Create a special "alert box" for anything children find that needs repair. Hold a table-toy search. Challenge everyone to look for stray items, such as Legos in with the beads, color tiles in the bingo game, and all those missing puzzle pieces. If you decide to put these items away, make time for a last play session before they are "closed for the season."
4 Offer options. Schedule boxing and sorting during free play so children can move from one activity to another.
5 Get creative! As children and adults work together to pack, involve everyone in labeling boxes with pictures they've drawn of what's inside.
6 Improvise. Plan large-group games and rhythm activities to utilize and explore spaces that are created as things are put away. As play choices become limited, take walks, host visitors, and have circle time and other activities outdoors.
7 Move over, Mr. Clean! During your last week, fill sinks, plastic tubs, or large buckets with soapy water. Have lots of sponges available so children can wash toys, wipe off furniture and tabletops, and clean up chalkboards and walls spattered with paint.
8 Involve children in closure. Take one last look at your cleanup list. Is everything checked off? Does anything else need to get done? Then come together to talk about all you've accomplished, recall memories the room holds, and thank everyone for their hard work!