Stop Playground Clutter

Stop Playground Clutter lesson plan

How well-kept are playgrounds in your neighborhood or school? Encourage children and adults to help erase playground clutter.

  • 1.

    With an adult accompanying the class during recess, students survey the playground at their school (or go with a parent to a neighborhood playground). What kinds of clutter do you see? Who is responsible for the playground and its upkeep? As the class discusses these questions, document responses on a classroom white board using Crayola Dry Erase Markers.

  • 2.

    Working in small groups, students develop plans to help keep the playground clean and safe. On white paper, use Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils to make a list of recommendations. If children need to correct spellings, just erase. Check with the people responsible for the playground to make decisions about how you will proceed with implementing recommendations.

  • 3.

    Student action plans get put into action. One part of each plan might be to publicize a Campaign for Clean Playgrounds. Students might want to make posters that encourage people to help. Use Crayola Washable Markers and Crayola Twistables Crayons on white paper to draw beautiful playgrounds.

  • 4.

    Encourage the use of action words such as "Pick up your trash."

  • 5.

    Remind students to make their posters colorful by adding a bold border to be noticed wherever it is displayed. Send the message to classmates and community that safe playgrounds are important!


  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.
  • SCI: Obtain and communicate information about the characteristics of groups of organisms and evaluate how groups help organisms survive.
  • SS: Explore and describe similarities and differences in the ways groups, societies, and cultures address similar human needs and concerns.
  • VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.
  • VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.


  • Possible classroom resources include: Earth Day: Keeping Our Planet Clean by Elaine Landau;
  • Students work in small groups to investigate the history of Earth Day, its beginnings and yearly celebration to keep our planet clean. How does a look into this practice enlighten students about keeping their playground clutter-free? Ask students to look for the connections and suggest ways in which they can make this observance a part of their everyday lives.
  • Students generate a list of terms appropriate for this lesson plan such as clean, environment, playground, clutter, etc. Post these terms in the classroom for quick reference.
  • Students organize a written plan for keeping their playground clean and clutter-free. Arrange for a meeting with the school's administration to present the plan to the principal for approval.
  • Students solicit the assistance of other classes in the building in keeping their playground clean. Each class may take, or be assigned, a week to police the building and grounds. Teachers will build "inspection" time into their week for students to accomplish these additional tasks.