Hey Forest Friends Fam!
Staying at home everyday and creating activities for you and your child to do together may be stressful enough, but on top of that do you find yourself overwhelmed with the number of toys and half projects left out after those activities?
As we all know, cleaning up after preschoolers can feel like a never-ending tornado of blocks, crayons and cheerios, and during this quarantine I am sure that you are all feeling this 10x.
Below, Teacher Eliza and I have compiled some of the ways we handle clean up at school. We are sure that these tips won’t be magic wands, because that is not how they work at school either! And we are sure that we may also tell you things that you already know, however if this feels like a topic that you are having trouble with or have more questions about please let me know!
Tips and Tricks
Integrate cleaning up into the schedule: At school, cleaning up together after an activity is an essential part of the day, for logistical reasons as well as creating a sense of community between the students and their space. One of CCS’s mottos is “We take care of ourselves, we take care of each other, and we take care of our space.” So when planning out an activity and how long it may take to execute, also think about how long it may take for yourself and your children to put it all away together.
Set a timer: We use timers for a variety of reasons at school. One way they can be used is to give kids a visual reminder of how much longer they can play before it is time to clean-up. This way clean-up won’t come as a total surprise.
Music: I am sure you have all heard our ‘5 Minutes’ song and “It’s time to clean up” song. Attached are two audio files of Teacher Eliza singing them if you need a refresher! These may be helpful if your child is missing some of the routines from school. If these songs aren’t useful, maybe you can come up with your own clean up song, it could be specifically about cleaning up or maybe it could be a song that you both love that may be fun to clean up to. Who doesn’t love to clean up with a great playlist?
Clean up challenges: Some kids respond very well to physical challenges. This has definitely come in handy at school when kiddos are at first refusing to clean up the toys they were playing with. Try giving your child a clean up challenge, “How many blocks can you put away in 30 seconds?”
Block Stew: When cleaning up blocks or magnatiles, pretend that you are a chef and the bin that they belong to is a big pot. Call out different ingredients you need in a soup, “I need green peppers!” “I need eggplant!” “Could you pass me that onion?” and your kiddo can hand you blocks in the corresponding colors. Once all the ‘ingredients’ are in the pot then I usually have everyone give the soup a big pretend stir and we set it aside to cook.
Giving each toy a home: It may be helpful to go over where each toy lives with your kiddo, and if a certain toy doesn’t have a home yet, it may be fun to find it one. If your kid knows where everything goes then at least there is less of an excuse for not putting it back!
We hope you find this helpful! If you have any questions or even any helpful tips that you use at home please let us know 🙂
Teachers Alicia and Eliza