During the first week of preschool, we spend lots of time exploring the things we can play with in our classroom, the things we can do in our classroom, and the ways we can help take care of our classroom. A simple way we introduce the children to the things in our classroom and help them realize that everything belongs somewhere once they finish their play is by inviting the children to play this simple “Put-Away” game…

Learning where things belong in the preschool classroom by Teach Preschool

To set up the “Put-Away” game, we set out different items from around each center of the classroom on trays. For our pre-k, each tray held a different type of item and there were 10 items on each tray so every child would have something to put away from each tray.  We realized after playing the game this way that it would be better if each child had their own tray so we repeated the process later with the pre-k and our preschool class by giving each child their own tray of objects and the process worked like a charm!

Learning where things belong in the preschool classroom by Teach Preschool

On each child’s tray were small things that I had gathered from around each center of our classroom. Things like pencils, scissors, animals, blocks, watercolor paints, pompoms, light table toys, and so on. We intentionally chose small objects that would be easy for the children to overlook as being available to them and more challenging to remember where they belong after play…

Learning where things belong in the preschool classroom by Teach Preschool

To play the “Put-Away” game, the children simply found their own tray and then began searching around the classroom to find where each item on the tray belonged. The teachers stayed available to give hints or support where needed but our pre-k children were all over this game and needed very little help in the process…

Learning where things belong in the preschool classroom by Teach Preschool

This was such a simple game but super effective in both helping the children notice things they hadn’t noticed before in the classroom as well as helping the children realize that everything has a place where it belongs…

Learning where things belong in the preschool classroom by Teach Preschool

Not on the trays were a stack of books for the children to also put back on our bookshelf…

Learning where things belong in the preschool classroom by Teach Preschool

As the children put things away, they also spent time helping each other and talking with each other about the things they were finding or which basket something might belong in…

Learning where things belong in the preschool classroom by Teach Preschool

Also not on the trays were little pieces of paper sprinkled around our large group carpet that needed picked up and thrown in the trash…

Learning where things belong in the preschool classroom by Teach Preschool

I think it is important to note here that the children had played in the classroom for two days BEFORE we introduced this game so the children were already familiar with the classroom set-up and the more popular items like blocks and cars. I think it is best to give the children a couple of days to explore the classroom first so that when the “Put-Away” game is played, they are not overwhelmed by the tiny details of the classroom and are more ready for the process…

Learning where things belong in the preschool classroom by Teach Preschool

The pre-k children did a remarkable job at the Put-Away game and enjoyed the process. It was kind of like going on a scavenger hunt only a little bit backwards from the traditional scavenger hunt. In our preschool class (which include our young 3’s and 4’s) we modified the game just a little bit. The children still had their own trays with their own name on the tray but instead of hunting for where things belonged, we held up the basket and said “If you have a _______ on your tray” then come and put it in the basket you will find right here!”

Learning where things belong in the preschool classroom by Teach Preschool

The children would then find the item on their tray and then come and put it away in the correct basket or jar or shelf…

Learning where things belong in the preschool classroom by Teach Preschool

Just like our PreK, the preschool age children began noticing things they hadn’t noticed before and did a remarkable job sorting through the things on their tray and putting them all away…

Learning where things belong in the preschool classroom by Teach Preschool

I intentionally made sure that every tray had all the same items to keep the children from being confused. If we called out “Who has a pom-pom?” Everyone had a pom-pom….

Learning where things belong in the preschool classroom by Teach Preschool

So there you have it! Our simple “put-away” game!

 

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