Curious about how to make chores fun? Read on for a list of awesome cleaning games for kids including some unique chores games!
Moms. Dads. Grandparents. I feel ya.
You see the house a wreck after Johnnie and Susie ran around, playing gleefully, absent-mindedly dropping toys left and right, changing their wardrobe about five times in the last hour, and leaving a trail of goldfish behind them, and you think to yourself:
“Oh my word! This has got to stop! It’s time little Johnnie and Susie helped clean up around here because they are the ones making the majority of these messes! I’m sick and tired of doing it myself!”
So you try to get the kids on board and they drag their feet.
They take 20 minutes to pick up a single sock off the floor and put in the laundry basket. They throw a fit about having to wipe up their spilled milk, and they scream so loudly about needing that toy still.
So you start googling “How to make chores fun for kids” and asking friends what they do to incentive their kids to clean up after themselves.
Sometimes the key is making cleaning games for kids, to make chores fun.
I mean, chores are never really fun, even when we are adults, but having a clean house with far fewer tantrums, power struggles, or laziness is a great thing for everyone involved!
So, what do you do in order to get the kids to help with cleaning the house?
I scoured the internet for the BEST kids clean-up games and activities to break up the chore chart monotony and encourage good habits without the drudgery.
Of course, many of these ideas are best suited for young children (2-7), and many are only helpful for picking up and putting things away, rather than actually, say, cleaning the toilet bowl.
RELATED: Chores for 3-Year-Olds
But, I hope some will help with even the harder, bigger cleaning jobs too.
I realize that many of the following fun kids’ chore games and ideas take more time to organize, set up, explain, or improvise than doing the cleaning yourself.
I know that teaching children to do chores regularly takes more work than a cleaning game and requires us parents to forgo high expectations for neatness and perfection in the cleanliness and order of the things our children help out with.
So remember that when you involve your children in household duties, you do so not because they are budding house cleaners or clean in record time, but because you are raising future homemakers, future fathers, future wives, future independent individuals who need to learn that chores and cleaning are an integral and needful part of life that should not be avoided because it’s not fun.
Course, it does help to make chores and cleaning time fun, at least some of the time, because, heck, if you gotta do it, you might as well make the most of it.
Some of these tips and ideas though can totally work as cleaning games for adults to make chores fun for adults too! Enjoy.
How to Make Chores Fun
There are many simple things you can do to make cleaning fun for kids, or at least less of… a chore.
1. Turn on the Music to Make Cleaning Fun!
While there’s no guarantee your children’s favorite songs gets them cleaner faster or more efficiently, as they have a propensity to dance and sing along to the music, it often makes the time pass quicker and far less painfully for everyone!
Plus, with the music on, chances are high the whole family is whistling while they work to clean the house.
You can also sing clean-up songs, or periodically pause the music, and have everyone freeze-frame for a few seconds until the music starts again.
The song can also be used as a timer – can you complete the cleaning job before the song ends?
2. Timed Cleaning Challenges
If your child is especially proud of how big he or she is, or capable, or talented, use this to your advantage! Turn clean-up time into a challenge by setting timers to clean the bathroom, or their bedroom, or put away the dishes.
You can also time them to pick up as many blue items as they can before the timer goes off.
Keep track of scores or let kids compete against each other week-to-week to help show your child how much they have improved, or how, if they focus and work hard and fast, they can do it in only 2 minutes!
3. Clean Acting
Young children love pretending, so, again, use this to your creative parenting advantage! Have them pretend to be poor Cinderella and you are the evil Step-Mother making them clean the floor (and then give them stuff to actually clean the floor).
Or film them demonstrating the proper way to put away their laundry, or put away their shoes. Chances are they’ll love showing off for the camera, and clean in the process.
4. Roll the Dice for Chore Fun
Prepare a sheet of needed chores, numbered 1-6 or 1-12, and let each child roll the die or dice to determine what chore he will do that day.
Course, if you prefer, you can buy some actual chore dice! This may be helpful when making up new chore charts for the day, week, or month. Your child could assign themselves the chore by rolling the dice.
5. Scratch Off Chore Card
I found this way to make chores fun for kids over on Toddler Approved, including the free template and DIY instructions for making scratch-off chore cards.
Look around your home for what chores need doing, then paint over them with a homemade scratch-off paint, giving one card to each kid.
A child can only scratch off one at a time, must read it or show it to the parent, complete the task, then come back to scratch off the next, until all the chores are done!
6. Cleaning Visual Aids
If you have younger kids and want them involved in the pickup process, creating visuals for them, and a tactile element, can be a great solution! That’s why I love this Velcro and visual To Do/Done clean-up chore chart from Toddler Approved.
7. Make Chores Fun for Kids with Balloons
Grab a bag of balloons, blow them up, and write different cleaning chores on the outside of them with a permanent marker.
Let the kids pick the balloon, complete the task, then come back and POP the balloon to signify the chore is all done.
8. Put the Dirt in a Box
Sometimes, it’s as simple as asking your child, especially a young child, to sweep all the crumbs inside a taped-off square on the floor, or to put all of these toys in a box or bin (as fast as possible perhaps maybe too).
9. Give Your Kids a Checklist
Some kids LOVE a good visual as well as the satisfaction that comes from checking things off. If your child is a list making and list completer, be sure to find a simple chore chart checklist
10. Listen to an Audiobook as You Clean
I have recently become a huge fan of listening to audiobooks thanks to my new obsession with the Scribd app which you can try out for FREE for 2-months with my refer-a-friend code. We mirror our mobile devices to our Google Homes and Google Minis around our home and then we can all enjoy a great book together!
Check out my list of the best audiobooks for family road trips for some recommendations on what to listen to!
Cleaning Games for Kids
1. Cleaning Floors Game: Soap Hockey
If you want your kids to help wash up the floor, why not make it a fun cleaning game for them?
Give each child one of these awesome spin mops loaded up with a mopping solution, and place a small bar of soap on the floor.
Wet the floor with a couple of buckets of soapy water and the game is ready!
The goal of each child is to get the soap into their opponents net (it doesn’t have to be an actual hockey net, it can be a specific area in the corner of the room.
The winner is the one who scores the most within 10-20 minutes (set a timer).
While the children play Soap Hockey, they unintentionally wipe your floor clean.
However, the condition in which they get to play this kid cleaning game is if they organize and sweep the room beforehand and afterward must mop up all the water.
It works like magic for a clean floor and happy kids.
2. Incentivize Kids to Clean with Promise of a Yard Sale
While it’s up to some debate whether or not you should pay kids to do chores, there is no reason why they can’t gain a few dollars from helping you get rid of junk you no longer want or need.
Promise your kids that anything they deem useful and worth a penny or two, they can take and sell in your next yard sale (or try to sell to friends at school or online with your permission and help).
The children will be begging to help you!
3. A Shooting Cleaning Game for Kids
This kid cleaning game requires a roomful of toys and baskets/drawers in which to put them.
You draw a line on the floor (you can use colorful tape) from which everyone stands and throws toys back into their place.
Every toy that goes straight into its place is worth a point.
Optionally, the winner can receive a small reward to help further motivate them to put toys back into place. But, shooting hoops is often reward enough.
I have often made the basket sway from side to side as well to challenge my slightly older kids a bit more.
4. Whose desk has enough space for chocolate?
This simple kids cleaning game can work in many flat places which belong to your children: their desk, their bed, their dresser, their nightstand, etc.
For this cleaning game, tell your children that pieces of delicious chocolate enjoy coming only to very tidy places. Every weekend (or fortnight) a piece of delicious chocolate wonders around the house, seeking to rest on somebody’s desk. The cleanest and tidiest desk will be the place on which this piece of chocolate will rest for the whole night.
In the morning, the child who tidied his or her desk the best finds a piece of delicious chocolate which you placed there during the night.
5. Cleaning Treasure Hunt
Similar to the previous cleaning game, this one instead makes the child hunt for buried treasure – like a small piece of delicious chocolate or some change – among all of the items on their floors.
They win this cleaning game by cleaning up and discovering what you’ve hidden for them in their rooms.
6. Family Cleaning Game – Connect Four
I found this family cleaning game over on Toddler Approved! It’s a DIY cleaning game for families where you grab a card with a cleaning task on it, complete it, and then stick it on the board.
The first family member to complete four cleaning jobs, and get four jobs lined up in a row in any directions, wins!
What they win is totally up to you. Could just be a fun family activity.
7. Candy Land Family Cleaning Board Game
Becky over at Your Modern Family came up with a clever cleaning board game for families!
She took an old Candy Land board game (though any cheap and simple board game works), and assigned certain chores a certain number of spaces to move in the game. Once a child (or adult) completes the chore, the parent moves the piece around the board.
Every 7th space (or whatever square), you have a fun activity or mini reward, but the catch is everyone playing has to get to that space before you can enjoy the reward.
You can also always make up your own cleaning board game rules as you see fit for your family.
To see some other DIY cleaning games for kids and families, check out this chores board game on Life Your Way (though written by Kristina of Toddler Approved) and this Clean This Mess cleaning board game from Marisa at Living the Creative Life.
8. Step It Up Cleaning Game
If your kids have some sort of pedometer (our kids have the Garmin Vivofit Jrs) you can challenge your kids to compete to get the most steps during chore time or pick up time!
Make sure to record the starting number each person is at and use a timer or other measure for when the competition will end. Also, remind them not to just swing their arm in place really fast or otherwise inflate their numbers (this games doubles for teaching about honesty).
You can compete right along with them if you have a Fitbit (I have this one) or another activity tracker. I know I often march in place as I fold laundry on my bed (plus, my hands moving to fold clothes often gives me some extra “steps.”).
Whoever gets the most steps during the 20 minutes of cleaning the house gets some sort of prize or recognition.
I hope these games will help you in your spring cleaning.
I also hope (much more feverishly I must confess) that your children will grow to love the process of cleaning and tidying, and not to hate it. After all, cleaning and tidying will forever be a part of our lives, whether we like it or not.
Alternatively, if you are looking how to make chores educational learning experiences, you need to read this awesome post from Megan Zeni about how chores can teach mathematical thinking.
Enjoy your spring cleaning!