Preschool Transitions: Clean Up Time


When I want my kids at Mother’s Day Out to clean up, I sing the following song to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It”.

If your name is Jacob, pick up. If your name is Abby, pick up. If your name is Elena, if your name is Hunter, if your name is Tommy, pick up.

They love to hear their name and as soon as they do, they run and pick up something to put away. It has worked with almost all of the children I have worked with — even the ones that aren’t usually interested in helping.


When it’s time to get ready to transition from on activity to another and the room is a mess we sing:

Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere Clean up, clean up, everyone do your share

It’s very simple and all the children enjoy it. It is so easy for them to remember it, and teaches them a great lesson.


I teach Pre-K and Kindergarten. We sing songs during clean up which helps the transition move along quickly and happily.

Sung to (Farmer in the dell)

Its time to clean up
Its time to clean up
We had some fun and now we’re done
It time to clean the room


For cleanup time, especially when the kiddos are very high energy, I have discovered that playing “Beat The Clock” with them works wonders! I ask them who’d like to play, gather them in the center of the room and set the kitchen timer for 5 minutes. We then try to get the room clean before the timer goes off!!! Nearly everyone joins in, putting away toys and books, and the room is tidy in usually about 3 minutes!!! A cleanup that would have taken about 10 minutes or more with much grumbling, is done quickly and easily and then we can move on to other things! We also have been gathering in a circle before circle time and looking around the room to talk about what part is the messiest. Then we ask for volunteers, who can ask others to help. Some of the children who hated cleaning before have gotten excited about it when we have them do it this way…. we have some real cleaning superstars! After it’s clean we get in circle again, talk about who cleaned what, applaud everyone, and then proceed with the circle time.


Clean Up Song tune-Twinkle Little Star

Twinkle, twinkle little star

Time to clean up where you are

Put each toy back in its place

Keep a smile upon your face

Twinkle, twinkle little star

Time to clean up where you are.

Clean Up Song Sung to: London Bridges

(Child’s name) put the toys away

Toys away, toys away.

(Child’s name) put the toys away.

It’s cleanup time.

Additional verses: Substitute toys with puzzles, books, blocks, etc.


Clean Up Time

If you have windows in your classroom (you would not want to do this if there was no outside light source) try turning off the lights and sing this song:

(Sung to Oh My Darlin Clementine)

Freeze freeze

Time to clean up

Time to clean up pleeezzzeeeee

Let’s all help to clean our classroom

So we can go to circle time (or next activity in your schedule)

Turn the lights back on.

It’s Time To Clean Up: Sung to Happy Birthday

It’s time to clean up Let’s pick up the blocks

It’s time to clean up Let’s pick up the blocks

It’s time to clean up Let’s pick up the blocks

It’s time to clean up Let’s pick up the blocks

(Substitute other areas in your classroom)

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