|Tried and true “games” that get kids cleaning!|
We have 4 kids. So we clean up all the time! No, I’m not one of those moms who can’t stand to have toys about but I do like to straighten up before lunch, Daddy gets home, and bed. We made the chore chart to encourage clean up before bed but that still leaves several other times a day to pick up stuff.
And just like Mary Poppins, I think it’s so much easier to get chores done when you make it a game. Though I really wish you could really just snap your fingers and stuff would magically put itself away! Just imagine how clean my house would always be!
We play games all the time to get toy pick-up and other chores done but these are the ones we use over and over again and are my kids’ (8,4,3 and 1 yrs) favorites.
1) Color Game
This is by far my kids’ favorite clean-up game and they ask to play it often. However, it can get a bit rowdy especially when my oldest (8) plays with us so we don’t play it all the time.
I shout out a color and the kids race to find something of that color that needs put up. The first one that finds one is safe and while they go put it up, the other children can be tickled. When they return, the next round begins with me shouting out another color. We had to set very clear boundaries on where the kids who weren’t safe had to stay (i.e. you must stay in the living room or whatever room you are cleaning). My girls love being tickled and even want to be tickled when they are the one that was safe. My littlest one, Jet, who doesn’t know his colors yet just runs around the other kids laughing.
2) Race the Clock or Mommy
Your kitchen timer can be your best friend. My kids love to race to beat the clock, even the ones who have no concept of time. We also race to beat mommy at her chore. For instance, they race to pick up the toys in the living room before Mom finishes vacuuming the dining room. So simple and a great way to get them to pick up on their own while you are working on something else.
3) Going on a Toy Hunt
|Outside Toy Hunt|
This one is great when you have toys in multiple rooms or scattered outside and is perfect for toddlers or preschoolers.
I give each kids a basket, bucket, large bowl, or anything that holds toys (or we share one) and march all over the house or yard, chanting:
“We’re going on a toy hunt,
Got to get them all
What a beautiful day.”
(If that sounds familiar it’s because it’s adapted from “We’re going on a Bear Hunt.”)
After the toy hunt is over, we sort and put away.
4)Pick up Ten (or 5, or 7, or…..)
This one is my favorite and I’m not really sure my kids would call it a game. But it works! I ask my kids to pick up some number of toys from a given room. This is great for kids learning to count and you can just pick numbers within their counting range. Once they each pick up that given number, I’ll shout out another number until the room is clean. I think this one works so well because the kids feel like they can handle picking up just a few things while if you tell them to clean the whole room, they just don’t seem to know where to start.
5) Save the Fishies
In this game, the kids have to save the fish by putting them in the toy box before the shark (mom or sibling) gets them. This game works best when there isn’t a huge amount of toys and they are confined to one room.
And you can switch the fish to anything your kids are interested in.
This one was inspired by the game my best friend growing up and I made up doing laundry. I honestly don’t remember the details or how old we were but it was all about saving the fish (or cleaning them or something) and we absolutely loved doing laundry at my house. For some reason this game did not translate to her house much her mother’s chagrin.
Mostly, I just try to keep it simple and as fun as possible. Do you have any cleaning games you play with your kids?
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