Preschool Transitions: Clean Up Time
Another variation on getting the children to clean up, pretending to be vacuum cleaners: I put a “spell” on the room.
“Dinner will be franks and wieners, make these children vacuum cleaners! Poof!!!”
The kids will ask me to put the spell on them, and they hurry to get things cleaned up.
If your classroom is getting out of hand and you want to pull out your hair — have everyone put things away and do a fun short game or new story. This helps you and the children. It seems like there is turmoil in a classroom when kids are bored, so make it fun!
To encourage the children to help clean up, instead of singing a song, I ask them if they have strong muscles. Of course, most of them insist that they do. They then pick up all the blocks and show me how strong their muscles are getting. I also ask them to give me 5 after they are done picking up something. This seems to help keep them motivated to clean up.
For a faster clean up time I put a music tape in and the children have to have their center they were playing in cleaned up and find a shape to sit on over at the circle before the song ends. Works Great!!
Clean up times can be frustrating! Try this fun tip: Ask children to turn themselves into vacuum cleaners! Put out your arms and make vacuum cleaner sound effects while the hose (your arms) pick up all the toys, paper or anything else you need picked up! The children forget they are cleaning!
Cleanup time works really well for us when we turn on a piece of music and try to finish clean up and be sitting by the end of the music. You can change it each month or use the same one all year. I used A Spoon Full of Sugar from Mary Poppins.
I had problems with my 3year old class at clean-up time. I made up a song to encourage all of my children. I sang ” who is going to pick up blocks, pick up blocks, pick up blocks, who is going to pick up blocks, and be a classroom helper?” and repeat with child’s name ” Sally is picking up blocks, and repeat above. It is a simple song and it really works.