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Teaching your kids to clean can be very difficult because more often than not, a child has minimal natural interest in cleanliness and organization. However, developing cleaning games for kids might do the trick, as children are known far and wide for loving games, and using a fun ‘cleaning games’ approach can help alter a child’s mindset about cleaning as a chore.

Sweep Home Chicago knows the satisfaction that comes after a job well done, and we believe that with some creativity, kids can learn to see cleaning as fun and rewarding as well. The following are ways to use cleaning games to help your children stay motivated and on-task while learning how to clean, prioritize, and organize.

Cleaning Games for Kids:

  1. Beating the Clock: A timer can be a great housekeeping tool, and not just for adults. When using a timer to determine the time it takes to complete a task, one often discovers that a dreaded chore takes significantly less time to complete than imagined. Kids are no different, and can be further motivated to beat the clock if presented in a fun way. Ask your kids to estimate how long it would take to complete their cleaning chores, and set a timer: if they complete all their chores before the alarm, they could get a reward, like extra personal time before lights out.
  2. “Making goals” in the basket: Let your kids see how many baskets they can make from the chair, the bed, or the closet. You can even toss the clothes to them to keep them going.
  3. The I Spy Game: A major issue of teaching kids how to clean up after themselves is that they often really don’t see the mess that we see! This cleaning game encourages kids to look for the mess in a room on their own. Here is how you play: look at the big huge mess and take turns identifying problems, like “I spy with my little eye…dirty socks on the floor, a baseball, and an unmade bed.” Once everyone has identified some mess, say “ready, set, GO!” and have everyone race to put away the identified items and then race back to your spots. This is a team cleaning game that has some light competitiveness mixed in, each of which can provide extra motivation.
  4. The ‘Pacman” Game: Go to the park with your child and together, collect all trash such as papers, plastics, cans and bottles. Then throw them on the right garbage cans separating biodegradable from non-biodegradable. This is a simple cleaning game for kids that can teach your child proper waste disposal along with demonstrating the importance helping to maintain the cleanliness of common public places.
  5. “Getting a Second Opinion…” This is just what it sounds like: after your child cleans, they ask someone else in the family to assess their work before they come to you. This is beneficial because kids may to do a better job if they know that they must soliciting the opinion of an older (or worse! younger) sibling, the younger inspector gets some practice developing their observation skills, and kids do not waste parent’s time with inspecting a prematurely finished cleaning job!
  6. Bingo!!: Here is how to play. Make a grid like a BINGO card, and fill in the squares with various chores. Use the center square as the “RELAX” chore where your child can take a break, get a drink of water or relax for a few minutes in between chores. Write each chore on different slips of paper.Once you have all 24 chores written down, place them in a jar and let your child pull one-by-one and as they are pulled, write each one on the grid sheet.  Have your child place fun stickers on the square, to show they are complete. Once the child receives a BINGO, reward the child by doing something fun with them just one-on-one (play ball in the backyard, read a book together or go for a walk together).
  7. Recycling Games: The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources offers recycling games tips in their Wee Recyclers program. The lessons presented in Wee Recyclers coincide with many developmental skills you already teach. In Wee Recyclers activities, children sort, match and compare recyclable items and learn to separate some items by number and color. They learn to work with letters and numbers, as well as recycling words and symbols. And perhaps most importantly, children learn environmentally sound ideas and behaviors as appropriate social behaviors.

With the aid of some of these cleaning games for kids, there’s no reason that children, even young ones, can’t help to pick up their messes. You just have to appeal to their fun side. However, even with these tips cleaning can still be a chore, so you may just decide you want to contact Sweep Home Chicago, and leave the cleaning to us!