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Room Cleaning Games for Kids

Updated on April 2, 2013
A kid's room in serious need of some cleaning.
A kid's room in serious need of some cleaning. | Source

How do I get my Child to Clean Their Room?

It's no surprise that young kids are not fans of cleaning. Their whole goal in life is to play and have fun. No matter how many times you ask your child to clean their room, their not going to be any more willing to do it. In fact, your nagging probably makes them hate room cleaning even more. It feels more like a punishment to a child. So, what happens when you make cleaning and picking up their room fun? The answer is that they will be more likely to do it.

You can make it fun for your child to clean and pick up their room by making a game out of it. There are tons of different game ideas and variations to fit your child and what they like. From counting to colors to role play, there is something for every child.

Operation Clean Room

Young boys are always outside acting like they are on some top secret mission. They love being big strong me in their pretend games. Use this to your advantage.

Create some kind of mission that will result in your child cleaning up their room. Tell them that there is a bad man on the loose and the only way to make sure they are safe is to put all of their toys away. If their room is clean, no one can find a place to hide.

You can make up a ton of different scenarios, which all involve them saving the world in some way. But, make sure your child is at an age where they understand the difference between make believe and real life or they might end up with horrible nightmares.

Try some of these:

  • There is a hidden bomb and to find it, the room must be clean.
  • There is a thief in the neighborhood who steals any toy that is not in the toy box
  • Toys have been disappearing everwhere but only if they are in sight. You have to hide them (in the toy box) for them to be safe.

Cinderella was a maid by day and a Princess by  night.
Cinderella was a maid by day and a Princess by night. | Source

Play Dress Up

Little girls love to dress up and pretend to be certain characters from movies or even different jobs. Next time your child doesn't want to clean her room, ask her to play dress up with you. Talk about Cinderella and how beautiful she was and how she was always cleaning. You can even buy her a little apron to make it more life like for her.

Let her pretend to be Cinderella or a maid. Somewhere between the dress up and playing pretend, the room usually gets picked up. You can even encourage this kind of dress up more often by watching movies where the main character is a beautiful woman who has a job in cleaning or something to that extent. Cinderella is just one example. You could even do "Maid in Manhattan" for the older girls.

Color Your Way to Clean

When children are first learning new things in day care or school, they are excited to use their new skills and show you what they know. You can use colors to make cleaning more exciting for them.

Sit in your child's messy room with them and tell them to put all the blue toys away. Then do the same with the pink toys, red toys, and so on until all the toys are put away.

Count Down to Clean

Much like using colors to encourage your child to clean, you can use numbers and counting as well.

Sit in the room with your child and tell them to count and put away 3 toys. Once they have done that, tell them to count 2 blankets and put them in their proper place. Continue to chose different numbers and items until the whole room is picked up.

Make it a Competition

If you have more than one child, chances are they love competing with each other. This means that you can make a competition between the two children to see who can clean their room the fastest.

Stand somewhere between the two rooms and have both children next to you. Call out "go" and they can race to their room, clean it and run back to you. The first one back wins. But, make sure it is safe for them to play the game this way. If not, just start out with them in their rooms and have them call out "done" once their room is clean.

The bonus with this game is that you can do it often enough so that they develop strategies for winning. They will know that the game will be played again and want to win every time. They might even put toys away after they are done playing with them because they know they can get done faster if their room doesn't start out as dirty.

You can even use a kitchen timer to encourage your child to clean their room.
You can even use a kitchen timer to encourage your child to clean their room. | Source

Time Them

Just like with the competition, if you have only one child, your can use their competitive nature. But, this time you are having them try to beat themselves.

Every time your child cleans their room, set a timer and see how long it takes them. Write down the date and time it took on a chart in their bedroom. Give them an incentive to beat the time next time if needed. Tell your child that if they beat their old time, they can have chocolate milk or something else they enjoy.

Simon Says

Every kid loves the game "Simon Says". This is one of the easiest games to incorporate into cleaning. Remember, they are only allowed to do the action if you say "Simon Says" first. Make sure that you add a few of the non "Simon Says" and non-cleaning related "Simon Says" statements into it so the don't feel like they are just getting duped.

For Example:

"Simon Says jump up and down."

"Put the teddy bear in the bucket" (oh no, I didn't say "Simon Says")

"Simon Says fold your blanket and put it away"

Musical Chairs - Cleaning Version

In the original version of musical chairs, you walk around the chairs until the music stops. Then you have to find a spot to sit down. In the cleaning version of musical chairs, your child picks up toys as fast as they can and puts them away. When the music stops, they can't have any toys in their hands and they have to freeze.

Kids love music and dancing.
Kids love music and dancing. | Source

Dance Dance Clean

This may not be much of a cleaning game but it will definitely make cleaning more fun. As an adult, wouldn't you rather clean your house with the radio on and the surround sound going? This is the same concept for kids.

Put on some music while they clean their room. Let them dance and sing and play as they do it. They will probably beg you to turn the music on just so they can clean their room from that point on.

Guess What's Missing

Another great game to play to get your child to clean their room is "Guess What's Missing?" You will sit in your child's room and close your eyes. While you close your eyes, your child will put away one toy. When they are done, you must open your eyes and guess which toy way put away or which one is missing. Keep playing until there are no toys left out. This is a great way for you to spend time with your kiddo while the two of you are still being productive.

Barney Clean up Song

Clean Up Song - Sing Instructions

As a child I always remember the typical clean up song:

Clean up, clean up, everybody, everywhere

Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share

Clean up, clean up, everybody, everywhere

Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share

Clean up, clean up, everybody, everywhere

Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share

Now, there are tons of different versions of clean up songs. Kids love it because it's a song that they can sing to while listening to instructions in the song. This makes it much more fun.

Did you find a game your child will like?

See results

Tell me what works for you!

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    • Eiddwen profile image


      7 years ago from Wales

      A great share shall be passing this one over to my family.

      Looking forward to many more by you now.


    • CarlySullens profile image

      Carly Sullens 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      You have so many wonderful ideas here. I have used most of these techniques with my own kids, and it works. Voted +++


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