As I was researching books on orderliness, I couldn’t help but believe that I’m not the only mom who struggles to teach their kids about cleanliness and organization. I found resources for this topic in abundance. Personally, I will help my kids clean up their room, and within a few days it will be a complete disaster again. This character development week focusing on “orderliness” is always needed. If you are new to this series, I want to give you a brief description of my character focus. You can also read more about it on my tour of Meaningful Mama. I have been working on this Character Development Series for over two years. There are 52 words we focus on throughout the year (one for each week of the year). Each week, there is an intro to the word and a creation of a word ring that the kids can use as a reminder of both the word and the Biblical scripture that goes along with it. Next comes the “I Will” statements that help claim ideas for the week. You will then find 5 or 6 more crafts, activities, games or lessons that help focus on the word. I call this series “the heart of my blog” because raising my kids to make a difference in this world and live out godly character through their faith in Christ is the best legacy I can leave behind. This year I am focusing on adding literature resources to the series, so without further adieu, I’ll bring on the books for this week that focus on orderliness and cleanliness. I have reviews of the ones I either owned or found at the library. I will add some pictures of the book covers as well. I know how much illustrations draw me into a story, so I like to offer a visual to you as well. However, there are a lot of books here, and I don’t want to overwhelm the post with too many images, and a lot of the books I review are in the feature picture.
Balloon Toons: Prickles vs. The Dust Bunnies – This is a quirky little book. It gives a personality to the dust bunnies who do not want to leave the house. Prickles definitely wants them gone. The dust bunnies try and negotiate so they can stick around. Prickles wants nothing to do with it. It a creative way, this book reveals what dust bunnies are made from. In the end, it looks like the dust bunnies negotiation paid off. This books teaches only a little, but it’s a cute little book.
Dirty and Clean (Read and Do Science) – This book is about dirt and science. It gives two practical science experiments to explain how germs and bacteria develop. It also talks about how things become clean. One of the experiments is a penny experiment we have done before. The other experience I might want to do…might. It involves mold, and I don’t know how excited I am about growing mold. I didn’t find this book particularly enjoyable, to be honest. I think it is good inspiration for the experiments, but it’s not a page turner and didn’t draw the kids in too much. I should also add here that I’m not a science person, so it might just be me.
Annie’s Plan: Taking Charge of Schoolwork and Homework – This book is perfect for teaching kids how to take charge of their school work with orderliness. As a former teacher, I knew Annie. I experienced a lot of Annies in my life. This is the kid that is smart, capable and should be doing well. However, they are not. They are disorganized, un-focused and don’t have the right systems in place. They are frustrated. Their parents are frustrated. Their teachers are frustrated. They want to do well, but they have a hard time focusing (a lot of day dreaming) and a hard time keeping their assignments straight. The solution? They need a plan. This book could be read to parents as much as it could be read to kids. It gives great tips for getting kids organized and creating a great plan for kids both at school and home. It is a practical book that I think is very relatable. If you need more tips on teaching study skills to kids, I hope you will click through the link to find a post I wrote on the topic. I think this book is applicable to elementary kids and even older.
A children’s book about being messy (Help me be good) – The “Help Me Be Good” series I talk about often. These books always give direct teaching about the term in question. This book looks at being messy. It outlines the problem and shows how messiness can impact life. It also offers practical solutions for learning to keep things more orderly.
Help Me Be Good Series Box Set – I am always promoting this “Help Me Be Good” box set because I’m referencing all these books so often in this series. I thought it might be helpful for those who are interested in buying the entire book series in one shot rather than a book here and a book there.
The Schmutzy Family – The Schmutzy family is lovely. I want to bottle up a piece of what the mom has and bring it back to my own life. The kids like to explore and create, but with that comes a whole lot of mess. You should see the state of the kids, the house, and the yard. Any mom would be in shock by what is allowed. There are mud pies all over the kitchen- the floors, walls, tables…every surface covered. They decided to paint all the laundry with tomato sauce and even painted the dog. The mom is cool and collected, letting the kids create a huge mess but have a lot of fun. The mess is OK – until Friday. Friday they prepare for the Sabbos – The Jewish Sabbath, which lasts from sundown until three stars appear in the sky on Saturday. They prepare for this Jewish celebration by cleaning themselves and the house in preparation for honoring God. The next week, they do it all over again. It was a great opportunity to talk a bit about the Jewish faith and our Christian roots. It was a great encouragement to sometimes let the mess happen so that fun and exploration can occur.
The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room – This is another great book from the Berenstain Bears collection. These little cubs deal with a messy room like so many of our little cubs. There are a lot of things that contribute to the messy room. They have some attempts to clean up…sort of. They tend to spend more time fighting about cleaning rather than cleaning. Mama Bear looks like me, admittedly, a few times. She enters the room in a rage and decides to scoop everything up and stick it in a box to give away. Luckily Papa Bear is there to see through the mess. He sees that, yes, the kids need discipline in their cleaning. However, what they really need is some organization and clear places to put their things. New boxes and bins with labels are added to help give the cubs more success in their clean-up attempts.
Fancy Nancy: Too Many Tutus (I Can Read Book 1) – We love Fancy Nancy. She is a girl with a huge personality. She is marked by her love of anything fancy, but behind her love of glitz she is a very sweet and kind spirit who thinks of others. This book shows this kindness too. I also love how these books help develop vocabulary in a creative way. As you can imagine, “Too Many Tutus” shows how we sometimes need to cut back on what we have to keep our lives more orderly. Nancy was hesitant to get rid of any of her beloved tutus but is eventually convinced. I kind of wish the book had shown her cutting back her closet even more.
Cleaning Up (Herbie Bear Readers: Level 2) – This is a good beginning reading book for kids. The little bear loves to draw, and the book shows all the images he likes to draw. After drawing, he is asked to clean up the mess. While he loves to draw, he doesn’t love to clean up. However, he uses his artistic imagination to make clean-up more fun. I was able to talk about how clean-up does become much more fun if we try and make a game out of it.
The Big Tidy-Up (A Golden Classic) – I think this was a super cute book. This little girl has a disgustingly dirty room. The mom has had enough and decides that she is not going to help her daughter clean her room until Christmas. Jennifer has a lovely time of not needing to clean her room until it becomes to much for her to handle. The mess build-up around her becomes gross and her room is no longer a fun place to be. She can’t find her hairbrush, and she is a mess all around. It takes a little bit of living in the chaos for her to realize that she does want to have a clean room, so she takes care of it herself. I wish I believed my kids would actually get to this point.
Clean Your Room, Harvey Moon! – I could relate to the mother of Harvey Moon. She was done with the mess and let Harvey know that today was the day his room needed to be cleaned. He was extremely disappointed because he had shows he wanted to watch throughout the day, and cleaning was taking longer than he imagined. He discovered all sorts of things he hadn’t seen in a while as he tackled the mess – some nasty things and some enjoyable things. He took his time to “put them away”…or dis he? If putting them away is hiding them in a new place, then he was successful. When he announced he was done and ready to watch his TV shows, he soon found out that his mom knew his cleaning tactics and the job was not yet over. This is a rhyming book, and I thought it was cute. I can relate to children finding creative methods of “putting things away.” You’d think they’d discover that doing it right in the first place would save them a lot of time. This books is the perfect lead-in for that discussion.
Gray Rabbit’s Odd One Out – In a search for his favorite book, Gray Rabbit decides he needs to clean up. I enjoyed how the author developed the concept of organization. The rabbit would go to put all of one category together. However, he’d then find an item that didn’t belong. He’d pick that item out and then begin organizing the category to which it belonged. He went along like this until all his things were organized, and he found his favorite book. It’s a great time to talk about organization with kids. It is also appropriate to talk about how it’s hard to find our things when there’s a jumbled mess. The final way to utilize this book is to have the kids identify what item in the pictures doesn’t belong. It’s a cute book for younger kids to introduce concepts of classification.