Parenting

2 Games to Make Cleaning Fun For Kids

It is amazing how big of a mess two little people can make in such a short amount of time.

My youngest finds great joy in taking every single individual toy bin and dumping it out on the floor.  WHY!?!

But luckily kids also love to clean up their messes when they’re done.  Oh, wait.  Yours don’t either?

At my house, getting my kids to clean up their room is like WWIII.  For the last two weeks, I have been at my wits end trying to get my kids to clean up.  I even told them that they couldn’t do anything fun until their room was clean.  I went up to check on their progress, and they were cheerfully playing amongst the mess.

Of course they were.

But then my daughter asked me if we could play the 10 Things Game, and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it earlier.  I happily said yes, and the kids excitedly  went to work on their messy room and actually cleaned it.

What is the 10 Things Game, you ask?  Well, when my oldest was around 5 years old, I made up a cleaning up game to make picking up a messy room more fun.  After all, who doesn’t love a good game?  It was a hit at the time, but then somehow, I forgot about it, and we hadn’t played it in years until she asked a few days ago.

Basically, the 10 Things Game solves the hardest hurdle of picking up:  Where to Start.  There is nothing worse than staring at an incredibly messy room and feeling the overwhelming feeling of hopelessness.  Instead of just starting somewhere, we anxiously think about how we will never get done.

Secondly, the 10 Things Game sets small goals and rewards the small accomplishments.  We all know how much easier it is to tackle a little project than a big one, and how amazing it feels to have completed a goal!

Lastly, it is competitive (for kids who thrive with contests).  If your kiddo doesn’t do well with competing, you can take turns instead of having the winner get to go next every time.

So, without further ado, the 10 Things Game:

10 Things Game

  1. Always start with the number 10. (Hence the name).
  2. Yell GO. All kids (and adults if they want to help), begin picking up items in the room. It can be ANY item as long as it is put in the correct spot when it is picked up.
  3. The person who picks up their 10 items the fastest is the winner. He/she gets to pick some type of exercise/dance/etc move for the group to do. The group will do the same number of moves as the number of items.  So, if the winner picks kicks, the group will do 10 kicks.  (Other suggestions: touching toes, jumping jacks, twirls, stretches, running back and forth in the hallway, leaps, etc).
  4. When the group has completed the dance/exercise moves, the winner from picking up will pick a new number. (I always say no less than 5, but really the kids don’t like low numbers anyway…it isn’t as fun).
  5. Repeat the game with the new number. The winner of that round gets to pick the next dance/exercise move and number and so on.

Pro Tip: I usually play with my kids for several reasons: 1) It helps them stay focused 2) It is actually kind of fun 3) I get some exercise 4) It’s fun bonding time.

It is amazing how fast the room will get clean when everyone is staying focused and working together.

Wanting some official “Game Rules” to show the kids?  I’ve got you covered! Just click HERE  to download the game instructions!  There are two different color options to choose from!

If your kids get tired of that game, or if you want to mix it up, I have another game for you!

The Bucket Game

Another game my kiddos love is the Bucket Game.  This game takes a little more prep the first time, but it is reusable.  Write down every item that your kids have in their room on a piece of paper.  Cut up the strips of paper and put them in a bucket or jar.  The child reaches in the bucket to get a slip of paper, and then they pick up all of the items in the room that match that slip of paper.  Then they choose another piece of paper and so on and so forth until the room is clean.

My kids love this game, and it also does a good job of tackling the “Where to begin?” question when looking at an overwhelming mess.  Instead of facing a huge project, it breaks the items down into small categories.  Since the kids have to search through the mess for the correct items, cleaning becomes a fun hunting game.

To save you some time, I have a FREE printable with strips of paper all ready to go!  There are many common kids toys and items on them already, but you can add any additional items on the blank strips!  Just print, cut, fold, and place in a bucket or jar, and you’ll be all ready to go!   Just click HERE to download!

Looking for ways to make it more fun to actually clean the house once all the toys are put away?  Cornerstone Confessions has some ideas here.

How do you get your kids excited to clean up?  Let us know in the comments!

Download Both Games Here!