After a long day the first few weeks, and the first couple months of kindergarten, I am exhausted. I’m sure all teachers feel the same no matter what grade they teach. I know parents, do too! Here are some fun ways to engage the littles in helping you clean up the classroom or their hoe playroom!
- Use sensitive skin shaving cream. I purchase a raspberry-scented shaving cream for sensitive skin at the dollar store. It’s perfect and smells oh, so good. Kids first practice writing their name, then drawing shapes, then we just use a little water from a spray bottle and wipe with a towel. Easy peasy and gets up all that glue, paint, and crayon markings!
- Bubbles. What kid, or adult for that matter, doesn’t love bubbles?? Put a bottle at every table and when kids are ready to answer a question, instead of raising their hand, the team leader blows bubbles. Bubbles will get spilled. Kids are messy. And it’s okay to have a little spillage, in this case, because you plan to use the spillage to help you clean up the table afterwards! Why not use the fun and mess to your advantage?
- Large Erasers. I purchase these huge erasers from the dollar store and cut them in half. Kids erase the markings and gunk off the tables. It’s actually really fun for them, and they also are using great motor skills at the same time!
- Race to your Bucket. This activity is perfect for tearing paper activities! Tearing paper is such an important fine motor skill. But paper ends up everywhere. I mean, everywhere! It doesn’t matter that you have a designated space at the beginning of the year in kindergarten, because it still ends up everywhere. That’s okay! The first kid/team to fill up their bucket with garbage or the shredded paper, get a prize! The size of your bucket can be small. The dollar store has perfect little small white buckets in the party section (set of 3), and these would be for little messes.
- Race to your Bucket with Tongs. Instead of kids using their fingers, they have to do a relay race, tongs or tweezers to pick up all the mess (paper, usually). This is so much fun!
- Put on the Music. I play special kindergarten music that includes Moana, and Disney and all the fun stuff for special occasions. We only listen to it for holidays. If your room is in a real mess, put on the music (relatively loud, but don’t disturb your neighbors) and have a dance cleaning party.
- Mystery Item. Pick out a “secret,” piece of paper or trash item ahead of time. The kid who picks up that mystery item is the prize winner. The winner isn’t announced until the room is cleaned. This works for completing any cleaning task as long as the tasks are assigned ahead of time or kids know what they can and cannot do.
- Color, Color, Where are you? Call out a color, and kids have to find a toy or piece of garbage that color and put it away. This works for shapes, pencils, items, etc.
- Vary the Cleaning Up Songs. It gets boring listening to the same routine songs, sometimes. It’s good, because kids know what to expect, but having a little variance in there helps. Here are some of the YouTube clean up songs I love: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsumE3hdj1I and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPq7wzGEjqE
- Clean up doing the Bear Crawl or Crab Walk: Kids have to use a bear crawl to pick up items and put them away. Or have them do the crab walk (explaining safety procedures first). This is great for kids who need lots of movement and kinesthetic activities – every kindergarten!
- Make sure Everything has a place: If everything has a place, and ideally a photograph of what it should look like when it is put away in that spot, it makes cleaning up more fun and less stressful. Being organized is very important. I confess that I don’t have a photograph of where things go, but it is on my to do list for this year.
What are some fun ways you have your kids help you clean up the classroom or their playroom? Let me know! I’d love to hear from you J