10 Ways to Make Clean-Up Fun for Kids
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- Set a Timer – One of the fun tricks is to set a timer we to try to beat. Sometimes, there is a reward if they are able to pick up before the timer goes off. You can also do a timer in the opposite direction. You hit start and see how much time it takes. Making a prediction beforehand is fun. You can save that time and next clean up time try and beat it. This kid-friendly Piggy Wiggy timer adds an extra layer of excitement.
- The Plastic Bag – Another trick I’ve found is the plastic bag. I don’t know why it works, but the kids love having a bag to put things in while cleaning. So, I may give them a small grocery bag and tell them to go around the house and pick up everything that needs to go upstairs. Maybe it’s like a treasure hunt for them or the convenience, but it works.
- Pick Up in Categories – I have also taught my kids to pick up categories – pick up all the balls, or blocks, or doll stuff, etc. The bags, mentioned above, helps with category cleaning. It keeps them focused.
- Pick Up a Chosen Number of Items – I’ll also tell them to pick up a certain number of items. I may choose random times throughout the day to have them pick up items based on their age. Looking at an entire mess can feel overwhelming, but to break it into smaller numbers seems manageable. It’s also a great way to help kids learn their numbers. You could also roll dice to keep the intrigue.
- Have a Motivator – Sometimes I will have them pick up before they have a bit of TV time or before doing a special project. It is a big motivator. “If you pick-up your room by 3:00, we will do a special craft.” Kids hustle when they see a prize at the finish line.
- Add Music – Find a Pandora kids station or turn on some fun kid music. We love our Seeds Family Worship CDs. Music keeps the atmosphere light and fun. You can even break for dance parties to keep the energy going.
- Have a Chore Chart – We use our Melissa and Doug magnet chore chart for motivation. Do we pay for chores? Here are my thoughts on the topic.
- Play the 10 Second Clean-Up Game – Really want to light a fire and make clean-up happen quickly? This game…OK, OK, it’s really a threat…makes them move their tails, and I have found that they actually have a lot of fun doing it.
- Give Visual Lists for Toddlers – Often times, kids can feel overwhelmed and not know where to start. Giving kids a visual list to mark off either mentally or with a pencil will help keep them focused and know the expectations. This free printable might help in the process.
- Try the Four in a Row Family Cleaning Game – Kristina, at Toddler Approved, came up with this fun game to help motivate kids to clean-up. I pinned it the other day, but in going to her site just now, I also found this great post that might help with more ideas.
I hope this post has inspired you to find simple ways to make cleaning more accessible and fun for kids. It takes a variety of tactics so continue to mix it up. If you are wondering if your kids are ready for certain tasks, you might find my list of chores for different ages helpful. You also might really love my 10 great chore chart ideas.