A lot of learning takes place in the classroom, but things can also get pretty messy. Sometimes it
feels like every surface quickly becomes downright gross—especially during cold and flu season!
Whether you’re dealing with glue, glitter, or germy hands, you’ll need the right classroom cleaning
supplies to get through the school year. Not sure what you need? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
Let’s look at our top 20 cleaning supply essentials.
Even though many of us view maps on phone apps over paper these days, kids still need good map skills. Fortunately, the same basic concepts apply for virtual and paper maps. Here are some of our favorite engaging map skills activities to teach kids about keys, grids, the compass rose, and more.
(Just a heads up, WeAreTeachers may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. We only recommend items our team loves!)
1. Read a map book
Storytime is the perfect way to introduce new map skills activities to little ones. Here are a few of our favorite books about maps.
- There’s a Map on My Lap! by Tish Rabe
- Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney
- Follow That Map! by Scot Ritchie
2. Introduce map skills activities through imaginative play
Learning about maps comes naturally when kids experiment with them through play. Fill a box with felt roads, rivers, houses, and more. Then let kids build and play in an imaginary town map.
Learn more: The Primary Pack
3. Map out a fairy tale
Read your favorite adventure story and lay out a simple map of the main character’s travels. This is such a cute activity to help young minds explore map skills.
Learn more: Science Sparks
4. Hang a map skills anchor chart
When you’re ready to start tackling map skills in earnest, a colorful anchor chart is a great way to start.
Learn more: Mrs. Call’s Campers
5. Learn to read a map grid
Finding items in a grid is essential for reading paper maps. This simple interactive activity shows kids how it works.
Learn more: Keeping My Kiddos Busy
6. Follow directions through a grid
This map skills game teaches kids to follow directions on a map grid. Lay it out with string or masking tape on the floor, then get into the map!
Learn more: Kids Activities Blog
7. Find your favorite characters’ homes on a map
Make a list of your favorite fictional characters, then find their homes on a map of the world. For some you’ll be able to locate the actual town or city; for others you may have to go with states or countries instead.
Learn more: NutureStore
8. Map your yard or playground
Turn kids into junior cartographers with this popular map skills activity! Kids can do this individually for their own yard or bedroom, or do a giant group map of the school or playground.
Learn more: Tree Valley Academy
9. Put together a map puzzle
Did you know the earliest jigsaw puzzles were actually maps cut into pieces? (It’s true! They were called “dissected maps.”) They’re still fun today. Try one of these favorites, or have kids make their own on the back of a dollar store puzzle for bargain fun!
- EuroGraphics Kids 100-Piece United States of America Jigsaw Puzzle
10. Personalize the cardinal directions
Pick up a set of large wood or cardboard letters for north, south, east, and west. For each letter, personalize it with pictures of things you’d find if you went in that direction from your home or classroom. So cool!
Learn more: Carrots Are Orange
11. Make a salt dough map
Topographical maps are always a lot of fun for kids. Mix up a batch of salt dough, and have them sculpt your state, country, or even continent.
Learn more: We Have Kids
12. Master latitude and longitude with Battleship
Latitude and longitude make the perfect game board for a round of Battleship! Learn how to play at the link.
Learn more: The Room Mom
13. Solve a seek & find challenge
Give kids practice finding locations or landmarks on a map with seek & find challenges. You can do it on your own with a large road map, or check out the book Map It! Seek & Find Atlas of Brainy Challenges.
14. Craft a compass rose collage
Understanding a compass rose is key to mastering map skills. This pretty collage is a crafty way to get to know the cardinal directions.
Learn more: The Classroom Key
15. Bring the compass rose to life
Put the compass rose into practice by drawing one with sidewalk chalk. Then, lay out directional arrows to show the location of buildings or other items.
Learn more: Education.com
16. Practice compass skills with a treasure hunt
Compass skills are the next step up when it comes to maps and way-finding. There’s no cooler way to practice them than a treasure hunt!
Learn more: The Reinert Adventures
17. Go on a Google Maps scavenger hunt
These days, kids are more likely to encounter maps online than on paper. Send them on a journey through Google Maps so they can familiarize themselves with how it works and all its benefits.
Learn more: Erintegration
18. Map out a travel route
Sure, nowadays we usually just map out a route with GPS, but what if your phone dies? It’s still good to be able to map a route by hand with map skills activities like this one.
Learn more: Steamsational
19. Put map skills to use with geocaching
The geocaching fad is still going strong! Learn how it works and ways for kids to participate at the link below.
Learn more: Explore More, Clean Less
20. Build a 3D map of your community
Here’s the ultimate map skills activity: a giant 3D map! Create a 3D map of your local community, or map out a fictional town instead. Either way, it’s so much fun.
Learn more: 1st Grade Learning Stars
Keep the geography fun going with these 13 Unexpected and Fun Geography Lessons To Enhance Your Curriculum.
Plus, here are tips for using Kahoot to host a geography bee in your classroom!
earn a few cents if you purchase using our links, at no extra cost to you.
Thanks for keeping us in glue sticks and washable markers.
What did teachers do before hand sanitizer? Well, our generation (mostly) survived, but it sure is
nice to have a pump in the classroom. It also helps make those heartwarming high fives and rounds of
card games a little
less contagious. Maybe you should grab a few bottles …
Half of your students out with the plague? Be sure to use these on the desks, doorknobs, and light
switches at the end of the day so they can work their disinfecting magic overnight! You’ve got our
permission to use two on your own desk, of course. This is a judgment-free zone.
3. Wet Ones
Sometimes our hands need more scrubbing action than sanitizer can provide, but it’s not always
possible to use a sink. Soap and water is best, but Wet Ones can help remove stubborn gunk and
grime. These might be especially useful before and after snacks or lunch.
Have you seen how gross things can get when kids don’t have tissue in the classroom? Suddenly, their
sleeves are covered in slimy residue and you’ve got to look at it for the rest of the day. Save
yourself the headache and have some Kleenex on your desk.
5. Paper Towels
Clean up on aisle five! All jokes aside, there will be moments when spills happen, and you don’t want
to be scrambling. One of the most important classroom cleaning supplies is definitely paper towels.
Whether it’s spilled milk, or worse (much, much worse), you’ll likely have to wipe something up
before the bell rings.
Want to reduce your use of paper products? While there will be times when you can’t practically avoid
using paper towels, for every other moment, you can use a microfiber cloth. Instead of adding to our
burgeoning landfills, just toss this in the washing machine and use it again!
A day of crafts, kids scribbling on desks, and more might leave you reaching for the nearest spray
bottle. Try to choose something that’s effective, but also non-toxic and gentle on the environment.
A good multipurpose spray is a must-have on any classroom cleaning supplies list!
For so many reasons, you already know that classrooms can get pretty stinky. When odors linger, it
can become a real distraction. Having a neutral air freshener can make life so much easier—just be
sure to check with your students in case anyone is sensitive to scents.
9. Swiffer Mop
During the day, any number of things can contribute to the nastiness on your classroom floor. Whether
it’s food crumbs or confetti, no one wants to feel a crunch under their feet as they walk across the
room. A traditional broom is also very helpful, but a Swiffer can remove very small particles even
10. Shaving Cream
If you’ve never heard of this hack, it might seem strange, but many
teachers stock up on shaving cream at the beginning of the year. Why? Because it can take a
dingy, dull desk and restore it to its former glory. It really is magical!
11. Magic Eraser
The Magic Eraser is one of the best items for cleaning. Add a little water and use it to get marker
or crayon marks out of just about any surface. Doors, desks, seats … you’ll be shocked at how
quickly the scribbles are gone.
Stocking up on classroom cleaning supplies? Grab some nail polish
remover. No, you won’t be giving manicures to your students, but it can help remove permanent
marker from desks. If you’re wondering which brand to buy, some teachers swear it MUST be
13. Vinegar and Hydrogen
Want an easy DIY solution to disinfecting your classroom without
bleach? Some teachers use a combination of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide to spray down germy
surfaces. We can’t speak to the effectiveness, but there is some research to suggest
that it works!
As a teacher, you’re on the front lines when things go wrong with students. From toileting accidents
to upset stomachs and bloody noses, you’re more likely than not to come in contact with some sort of
bodily fluid. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have gloves nearby to protect yourself in those
situations. Some kids are sensitive to latex, so opt for the non-allergenic kind.
15. Supplies Caddy
It’s so much easier to grab a caddy filled with classroom cleaning
supplies than trying to carry each item individually. Do yourself a favor and pick one up! Look
around and find the right size for what you need.
16. Carpet Sweepers
It seems like the floors are constantly getting covered in pencil shavings, bits of paper, and
crumbs. These carpet sweepers are great for quickly picking up messes and they work on tile and
hardwood floors too.
17. Magnetic Wands
This may seem a better item for your STEM supplies but
it doubles as a handy tool to quickly pick up paperclips, staples, push pins, and any other metal
items that have dropped into the carpet.
This one isn’t for cleaning teeth, rather it’s for cleaning the earwax out of earbuds! Keep one for
each student or dispose of them after use. Either way, your students will be thankful the next time
they have to listen to an audiobook or online lesson.
Q-tips are perfect for getting into hard-to-reach places like laptop and desktop keyboards. If you
are out of Q-tips, you can also use sticky notes to clean the keyboards. Just invert the note—sticky
side down—and run it between the rows of keys.
20. The Custodian’s Number
You can’t do it all, even if you wish you could. For those moments
when you need to call in the reinforcements, make sure you know how to contact your custodian
When it comes to cleaning, supplies aren’t the only thing we need. Check out these teacher cleaning hacks for
quick cleaning tips.
Are there other cleaning supplies in your cabinet? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers Deals group on Facebook.