How to Make Classroom Clean Up Fast and Fun

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What’s your classroom clean up routine like? Do you find yourself looking around the room at the scattered piles of toys, manipulatives, and puzzles and immediately feel the anxiety set in? Messes can happen when playful learning is taking place and it’s okay. But with this easy and effective tip you can make classroom clean up fast and fun!

*For even more teacher tips and how to create a playful learning environment in your classroom, be sure to join us in P.L.A.Y. (Playful Learning All Year)!

Sometimes the mess is too big and cleaning up feels overwhelming. Try this easy and effective tip for making classroom clean up fast and fun!

How to Make Classroom Clean Up Fast and Fun

Even with an awesome classroom clean up routine, sometimes the messes are just TOO BIG. This tip for cleaning up big messes in no time at all is so simple. It even has a super fun name – “Turbo Speed Clean Up!” It definitely gets the kids excited to dive in and get to tidying!

Make cleaning up manipulatives like counting bears and unifix cubes fun and fast with this tip.

Ready for a “Turbo Speed Clean Up”

We start by finding a “big mess” in the classroom (this is not hard to do in Pre-K and Kindergarten). The group of students that made the mess are the same ones responsible for cleaning it up. This helps to teach the kids that we share the classroom toys and supplies and we are all in charge of taking good care of them.

The group cleaning up the mess gets a timer set to 5 minutes or less (depending on the size of the mess). I present this speed clean up as a challenge and the whole class shouts, “Turbo Time!”

Sometimes messes are so big that we need to set a timer to race and see if we can beat the clock.

Now it’s time to see who will win! The students or the clock?!

We do not use this clean up method every day. It is something that I choose to use sparingly when the messes feel overwhelming. This keeps the challenge fresh and exciting which makes it even more effective!

Big messes are cleaned up fast when it is turned into a game that is being times.

Regular Clean Up Routine

Most days, when the messes are “normal” size, we use our regular clean up routine. Our regular routine is still fun and easy but lacks some of the urgency and speed needed for the big messes.

For our regular clean up routine I like to play one of my favorite Clean Up Songs. After lots of practice at the beginning of the school year, my students learn that as soon as I ring the bell and the song starts, then clean up begins!

When we are done putting everything back where it belongs, we meet back at the rug before the songs finish.

Teaching students to put toys and supplies back where they belong is so important.

It is important to have classroom clean up routines and teach our kiddos that our classroom is a special place and it is our job to take care of it. And with just a couple tips and tricks, clean up can be effective, easy, and fun for both you and your students!

Want to stress less with even more “must-try” tips while learning how to create a “Playful Learning” environment?

(even if you “aren’t allowed to play”)

If you’re wanting to incorporate playful learning, free-flowing centers, effective routines, and more in your Pre-K or Kindergarten classroom, then you’ll definitely want to join us in P.L.A.Y. (Playful Learning All Year)!

This P.L.A.Y. course is a deep dive into practical ways that you can create a playful learning environment in your classroom!

This course is a deep dive into practical ways that you can create a playful learning environment in your classroom. Be sure to request an invitation so you’re the first to hear when the virtual doors open!

The Kindergarten Connection
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