“Clean up, clean up, everybody, everywhere. Clean up, clean up, get your kids to do their share.”
For some kiddos, helping mom and dad clean up around the house can be fun, even if it turns into a bigger mess (did you really have to wipe it all on the floor?). But for others, cleaning can seem like such a bore.
Let’s motivate our youngsters to help out with household tasks. Here are seven ways to make chores for kids more fun!
1. Tidy Up Treasure Hunt
Argh, me mateys! Who’s ready to find some hidden treasure? Turn cleanup time into a treasure hunt by hiding “treasures” like coins or candies under toys and other items that need to be put away. You could even go as far as making a treasure map that shows what to pick up in order to find the pirate’s booty. Channel your children’s competitive spirit by setting a timer to see how many toys each can pick up in a given amount of time — say, five or ten minutes.
2. Race to the Finish Line
A little friendly competition never hurt anyone, especially when it means fewer toys to trip over. In this lively activity, have your children “race” to see who can pick up the most toys scattered around the house, with the toy chest being the finish line. Set up separate play chests for each child to place toys into — the one who fills up their toy chest first wins!
3. Garden Games
Does your youngster have a green thumb? I’m not talking about the green stains lingering from yesterday’s arts and crafts sesh. Let your little gardeners help out by giving them a small, simple task that will help keep your vegetable garden growing strong. For example, let them water the flowers, fruits, or veggies in the garden. Track the vegetation’s growth by taking photos or measuring the plant’s height over several weeks so you can show your child the progress of their hard work.
4. Winner of the Week
Who says teaching your children patience and determination has to be boring? Create a set of weekly chores for your children to complete. At the end of the day, reward them by adding a point to the chore chalkboard (or other tally method of your choice) for each chore completed.
At the end of the week, whoever has the most points gets a prize. Maybe they get to pick out the next family movie or game — it’s up to you!
5. Dust and Dance Party
What we would give to have the energy our children possess… Might as well put it to good use! Crank up your child’s favorite tunes to get the cleaning dance party started (a mop or broom makes for the perfect dance partner). To make things a bit more interesting, challenge your child to see how much they can tidy up before the song ends. Get a little “footloose” and turn all that built-up energy into a healthy, fun cleaning routine.
6. Act It Out
It’s no secret that kids have wild imaginations. Take advantage of this by playing out a whimsical story with a cleaning focus. Need some inspiration? Some of the most beloved children’s characters are a great start. Make sure little Cinderella finishes sweeping in time for the Ball. Have young Belle dust the bottom bookcase before the Beast (a.k.a. Sparky the dog) barges into the room. Let Captain Cleanup come to the rescue, fighting off the evil dust bunnies that have attacked the bedroom. Help your little detective solve the mystery of the missing toy… The only way to find it? By putting the other toys back in their proper places. Use your imagination to fuel theirs — and tidy things up!
7. Shoot Hoops … of Laundry
How good are your child’s free throws? To help gather dirty clothes, have your kids practice their aim by lining up a few laundry baskets on one side of the room. With them standing a few feet away, see how many “hoops” they can score (winner gets out of washing duty).
After everything is sorted, washed, and dried, let the folding games begin! This would be a great opportunity to teach your little ones how to neatly fold clothes and properly put them away. The one with the most folded clothes wins!