Okay! It’s Spring! Time for cleaning! Along with painting the house, planting new flowers, and/or cleaning out the garage; get children involved in cleaning their rooms, closets, classrooms, or anything else that is pertinent to your situation. Here are some suggestions to try diminishing the groans and complaints that are sure to follow:
1. Suggest a Spring Cleanup Day and ask where the classroom, house, or room needs to be cleaned the most. Write a list of these targeted areas, likely to be project areas, book or game shelves, sink areas, etc. Tell individual or groups of children that they are now responsible for keeping one of the areas clean. In order to help remind them, they will have an art project and make Litter Critters!
2. On both sides of brown-paper lunch bags, have children draw crazy critters. They may color or paint the features. If painted, let the bag dry.
3. In the meantime, rip newspapers into small pieces. Have children fill their dried bags until they are rounded and close the open end with a rubber band or string.
4. Create hair from crepe paper or yarn and glue on buttons, fabric scraps, ribbons, and so forth to ‘dress’ the critters.
5. Design feet and cut out two per critter from construction paper. Glue them to the bottoms of the bags so the litter critters will be able to stand up.
6. How about making signs to go with the critters? Use slogans such as “Beware of the Litter Critter!” or “Every litter bit hurts.” Tape or glue them to craft or popsicle sticks or put them through a pencil point.
7. If your project is ongoing, graph how well it is proceeding by putting on a smiley or sad face, daily; you can either draw or use stickers. This will keep track of how clean or messy the designated area is. Perhaps the individual or group that cleans his/their area first can receive a reward.
8. Follow up by asking which areas in your school or community could use a good cleaning. Could you start, or get involved in, a School or Neighborhood Cleanup Day? This idea would certainly complement a unit on environment or pollution.
I hope these ideas are useful and ignite your own creativity!