Activities & Games

Community Clean Up
Kindergarten-5th Grade

Allotted Time

30 minutes

Target Behavior

Show an ability to decide between right and wrong

Words to Live By

I understand the choices I make should be what's best for me to do, and what happens is on me and not any of you.
Responsible Decision-Making
Make choices that are best for you

Children who make choices that are best for them can:

DEMONSTRATE wise decisions regarding safety hazards

BRAINSTORM alternative solutions to interpersonal problems in the classroom

ANALYZE the consequences of alternative choices

GENERATE alternative solutions to problems


Help students work together to beautify the neighborhood.


  • Gloves (enough for every student to have a pair)
  • Large trash bags
  • Hand sanitizer

How to Play

  1. Walk your group to an area in the surrounding neighborhood or school grounds that has litter and is pretty open so that you can see for a good distance.
  2. Ask the students what they see? Do you see anything that is not supposed to be here? How does litter look? How does seeing trash in our community make you feel?
  3. Tell the students that today we are going to be helping out the community.
  4. Put students in pairs or groups (depending on the number of students and group dynamics).  Each group of students will be working together to clean up the area.
  5. Each group is trying to pick up as much litter as possible before the time is up!  Pass out gloves to each student and one big bag for each group to use.
  6. Set boundaries for where the students can go so that you can keep an eye on everyone. Announce how much time they have and where you would like everyone to meet. Explain that when they hear you whistle or yell, time is up.
  7. Set aside time in the end for each group to show what they found and to determine a winner for community clean-up based on who collected the most trash.
  8. Have everyone throw their trash bags in the dumpster or trash on the way back inside. Allow everyone to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer.

Activity Prompts for Reflection

  • What is something else that you have done in the past to help the neighborhood/ community?
  • How did you and your group work together during the activity?
  • Was there anything else you would do differently if we did this activity again?
  • Does anyone else have any ideas on how else we could help our neighborhood/ community?

Other Ways to Play

  • Call out a letter of the alphabet and have students try to find something that starts with that letter. Encourage students to get creative with what they find by using nouns or adjectives.
  • Move around together as one big group so you ensure that you can see all students at all times.
  • Play “I spy” and have one person find a piece of litter and describe its color and then have people make a guess. Whoever guesses correctly gets to pick it up and put it in the trash and then be the “I spy” person.
  • Have different rounds of clean-up. Example rounds: find a blue piece of litter, a big piece of litter, a circular piece of litter, or a heavy piece of litter to make it more like a scavenger hunt.
  • Instead of having the winning group be the group that has the most litter have it be the group with the heaviest bag of litter.

Additional Notes

  • If there is nowhere close by to take the students to collect trash/litter you can have them work together to make signs to remind people to recycle and put trash in the right place.
  • Use the SEL Activity Prompts to tie other SEL competencies to this activity.


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