Cleanup Game

Have you ever asked your kids to clean up and found it was like hearding cats. One child disappears into the toy room, one to the bathroom and one under the bed. You stand in a heaping pile of toys with no child in site.  You try to be pleasant by singing into the void “Clean up… clean up…. everybody… everywhere.”  Dead silence.  No one answers.  The children are gone.

Working with children as long as I have taught me that games are the key to learning and completing a task. When children are excited about a game they hardly notice the work that’s been completed.  I stood in the toy room – hoarse from singing. I jumped over scattered toys and scanned the room. I rubbed my forehead and wondered, Can I find a way to make cleanup an exciting game? I glanced at an empty square tissue box. This will work!  I grabbed some tools and began to trace, cut and decorate.

I called the kids into the room. (This took some doing!)  Their faces were blank with emotion as they sat on the couch.

“Today we are going to learn a new game.”  I spread the boxes on the floor.

“Let’s have a color race.  Your job is to put all the toys in the right color box before I finish 20 jumping jacks.  Whoever finishes first is the winner!” Little bodies bounced in the air and off the couch.

Each child grabbed a toy and waited for my countdown. “On your mark, get set, GO!” I jumped, stretched my legs out, clapped my hands and shouted “One!” Children raced around the room launching toys into boxes while I huffed, teased and puffed out my 20 jumping jacks.  I dragged my part out (wasn’t too hard since I’m out of shape) giving them plenty of time to clear the floor.  Instead of fussing, clean up was a happy blend of giggles, wobbles and hops!

In no time we were all collapsed spread eagle on the clean floor. I caught my breath laughing, panting and hurling praises! Children piled on top of me and a tickle fest began. As giggles, fingers, toes, arms and legs flew into the air my heart said thank you clean up game! 

Putting the boxes together :

1. Cut the top out of the box.

2. Lay the box on construction paper and trace around each side.

3. Cut out the squares. You will have four square pieces.

4. Glue a square to each side of the box.

5. I finished by glueing ribbon along each corner for decoration.

Have fun!




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