5 Ways to Make Cleaning Fun for Kids
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Are you looking for some ways to make cleaning fun for kids?
Even as adults, cleaning is a lot easier to do if there’s something at least a little bit enjoyable about the experience. Here are 5 ways to make cleaning fun for kids:
1. Play Those Tunes
Make cleaning fun with something as simple as the music playing when you’re doing dishes, the television show you’re watching while you’re folding clothes, or the podcast you’re listening to as you wash those floors.
One thing I remember from my childhood is that we had a sound system in the living room. My mom would put on a Sesame Street album and it got us moving and cleaning up without the fight.
This isn’t always wasn’t always the case though, so let’s brainstorm some other ways to make cleaning fun for the kids.
2. 60 Second Race
This works when you have at least 2 kids, or if you have an only child, you can just do it with them.
Provide each person with a bag or a box to put items in. When they have their “special treasures bag/box” set a timer for 1 minute. Tell them the game is to fill their special treasures bag/box with as many items that don’t belong in that room before the timer is up. (Ex: all the toys laying around your living room that need to find their way back to the toy box or kids room.)
You could have a little prize. If you do this “game” every day, or even once a week, why not just make a cute crown that they can have for the day? Keep re-using the crown every time you play the game. It’s like a trophy for the “King/Queen of the Special Treasures”. The crown could be just another fun little motivator to get them to move really fast. Afterwards, make sure to follow through with putting away everything in the special treasures bag/box as well!
3. Quick 5 minute clean-up
I know some people actually do like cleaning, but I am not one of those people. Regardless, when everything is in chaos around you, you have to start somewhere. Set the timer for just even 5 minutes and have everyone clean until the timer goes off. Breaking the cleaning up into 5 minute quick cleans will keep the house tidier than no cleaning at all. You could have this set up as a daily routine in between play time and snack time.
4. Make a list
This worked well as my brothers and I got older. My mom would just make a list of what needed to be done. Each of us picked a room off the list that we wanted to clean. When we were done with our room, we were done cleaning for the day. Now, I will say, we were older when this method was used. Otherwise we wouldn’t have been given cleaning supplies that shouldn’t be in the hands of children. (I always picked the bathroom and was pretty particular about cleaning off everything really good. I took the longest to finish even though I had the smallest room in the house.)
5. Start the kids early!
A little note, something I wish I knew when Seth was younger – Start with the kids early! Elijah had a teacher come weekly to work with him not long after he was 18 months old. During these visits we worked on a start and a finish. He would get the toy out, play with it, and finish.
Examples: Melissa and Doug puzzles – we go through and he would pull all the pieces out, then match them back up, and it’s done. Depending on how well he was doing attention span wise, this was repeated 1 or 2 times. When we finished, it was put away.
Move along to the next thing, nesting cups. Build them up, knock them over, nestle them, repeat a couple times, and put them away. I realized by him doing this, throughout the day he was putting things away on his own. (Granted sometimes then he would just dump the whole tote of mega blocks after, but it was a good start! )
I think because it was what he did every week with his teacher, that it became a good routine for him to finish one thing, put it away, then move on to another. Unlike Seth, who would have a million different toys out at one time all over the living room. (They said having an end and a finish would help increase his attention span as well.)
I think what also helped a lot was organizing the toys too, instead of 1 big toy box (or in our case 3-4 totes, full of toys.)
So those are just some quick little cleaning strategies I have for you. If you try any of these out, let me know how it goes!
If you do one of these strategies already or something similar, how is it working out?
Is there another fun way you like to do it?