Cleaning Games for Children

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Cleaning Games for Children

If you are struggling to get your kids to do some basic cleaning and tidying you may need to rethink how you’re asking.  Cleaning is boring and they would rather play games and compete with one another.  Well, why not combine the two?  Don’t just ask them to clean their room introduce some competition to the idea and you may find they actually enjoy it.

If you have more than one child you can have them race to clean their rooms or at least tidy their respective section of the same room.  If you only have one child, or only one messy child, you can make cleaning more fun by setting them a time challenge.  Bet them that they can’t clean their room in ten minutes.  Or maybe if it’s really messy you can break the room into smaller time challenges.  Can they clean the closet in ten minutes?  Children love being stubborn, possibly more than they hate cleaning, so you can use it against them.  Bet some sort of prize that they cannot clean their room to your standards in a certain amount of time and they may race themselves to do it. If you go for this approach you will have to emphasize the amount of mess and how hard it would be to do all the things you want them to do in ten minutes.  A look of incredulity is encouraged for success.

If you are having your children compete with one another for cleanliness you may want to lay out some rules first.  Time will obviously be important, it’s a race after all, but make sure that some other important things are covered.  Objects broken during an overly hasty clean will cause a deduction of points (or time added if you want to work with time).  Likewise, lost objects that are found during the clean will cause points to be added to the score (or time deducted).   As the judge you can add or deduct points for organization or whatever else you feel is important in cleaning.  Tally up the points and announce a winner for the challenge.

cleaning Photo Source: Flickr Windell Oskay

For extra fun break out a stop watch, a clipboard, and maybe a whistle to be the image of a harsh yet fair judge of cleanliness.  Put on your best scowl as you do an exaggerated dust test.  Make scribbles on your clipboard while you inspect your child’s bed-making efforts.   If you don’t have a stop watch you can use a kitchen timer or regular clock.  Remember that half of the fun is in the theatrics.  So, you can use your best coach voice and send them back to clean things with more thoroughness if you want.

You can hold a competition to clean just the children’s rooms or you can expand this idea to cover the whole house.  Hold a mini Olympics in cleaning.  If you only have one child you can be the second competitor.  See if you can clean the bathroom in the same time it takes them to clean their room.  You can assign every competitor a mirror and see who can clean it the fastest.  Streaks on the mirror and poor quality cleaning will cause the competitor to lose the race.  Each competitor could be assigned a section of a messy room to clean and the race can begin.

To truly have fun with your cleaning games you will want to have interesting events.  Come up with different names for your events.  You are no longer simply taking out the rubbish; you are doing a bin sprint.  The person who can run a bag of rubbish out to the bin in the fastest time wins.  Mopping can either be a marathon or a dance event.  Put on some music and have some fun.  Just like the artistic events in gymnastics or synchronised swimming there will be certain rules.  You can say that they must cover all four corners in their routine and of course whatever other rules you see fit, perhaps that the mop must remain on the floor during the routine.  Then you can judge them on their moves with a mop.  You can have a winner for best mop moves, most creative mop moves, or funniest mop moves.

cleaning Tired Winner – Photo Source: Flickr TheGiantVermin

If your house is in desperate need of a thorough cleaning you can hold a triathlon event.  Pick three rooms and divide them into even sections, one for each competitor.  The competitors must clean their section of the first room before moving on to the second and finally the third.  The fastest and most cleanly overall wins.  Or if this is too boring you can do a pentathlon of more obscure cleaning tasks.  Divide the rooms in the house equally among the competitors with each competitor getting two or three rooms to clean.  Then decide on the obscure tasks.  Number one can be to clean all the doorknobs in their assigned rooms.  Doorknobs are notorious culprits for harbouring germs and escaping cleaning.  The second event can be the windowsills, also places that accumulate dirt and often avoid deep cleans.  The third event can be clean the often ignored ledges on your sash windows, or door jambs if you do not have sash windows.  The fourth task can be cleaning lampshades or general dusting if you prefer.  The final event could be dusting all the books, or baseboards in the rooms, depending on which you have the most of.  The competitor who finishes all their tasks in order first wins the whole event.

Remember that as the parent and judge you can send your children back to clean things again if necessary.  Make sure you pick activities that a both safe and age appropriate for your children, as well as fun.  The amount of fun you can have with your cleaning is really only limited by your creativity.  So start thinking, cleaning, and having fun!


This is a guest post written by Melinda Wilson on behalf of her client, The Sash Window Workshop, a manufacturer of high quality sash windows.


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About Emily

Emily is a rugby wife and modern mom to one active Kindergarten son. A former restaurant industry professional, she transferred the brand marketing and relationship building skills she learned working for a Fortune500 Company into building a successful social media business. Launched in 2010, her blog focuses on parenting tips, recipes and easy crafts. When not online, you can find her running, taking photographs, or sipping a Margarita while enjoying the beauty that Cape Cod has to offer.


  1. i used to sing the “clean up” song!
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