Monday, May 14, 2012

Four in a Row: A Family Cleaning Game

My house has been in desperate need of hard core cleaning for awhile. I feel like I am always cleaning... but there is no system and some things get neglected while others happen constantly (like sweeping the wood floors- I do it at least 5 times a day- ugh!!).

I needed some motivation a few weeks ago when things had really gone down hill... so I decided to create a cleaning game for our family. I thought that if we made our chores into a game, the kids (and I) would be more motivated to actually do them.

So, I'll start off by explaining how we made our game board and then I'll explain how we play.

Materials Needed: squares of cardstock (ours were 2x2 I think), large foam board, tape, envelopes, markers, stickers.

1. Cut your cardstock squares to fit your foam board. Lay them out to check and make sure they will work.

2. Write down different chores/cleaning tasks on each card and brainstorm a list of simple and fun activities you could do once you are done and get four in a row! You could also brainstorm a list of adventures to go on that are extra special once all the bigger tasks are done (in our case that would be when the spring cleaning tasks are done).

3. Categorize the activities by importance using stickers. (For example, rainbow stickers could mean the task could happen later in the day, frog stickers could mean that they need to happen now!)

4. Put the task cards in labeled envelopes and hang your game board somewhere you can see it.

5. Choose several task cards and hang them up with tape.

6. Celebrate once you've completed four tasks in any direction! We didn't celebrate by doing anything super special, but the kids got to choose a simple, fun activity that they wanted to do and we had a blast playing when we got four in a row!

7. Start the game again with new tasks once you've gotten four in a row and celebrated!

If you laminate your cards they can be used again and again and again... which is good because many of the tasks we have on our "to do" list always seem to need to be done :)

Here are five simple and fun activities you could do as you celebrate with your kids after they help you accomplish four tasks in a row:

Build with paper strips
Color mixing with ice
Homemade elevator activity
Build with spices
Sidewalk Simon
I love this post by Joshua over at Life Your Way- 5 Simple Chores for Kids to Complete Everyday.

Do your kids have chores that they have to do each day? What are they?

Do you have any fun ways that you involve your kids with cleaning and chores around your house? Pass along any ideas or advice!

What are your child's favorite cleaning tasks/chores to help with?

Book Spotlight: Do you ever wish your kids liked vegetables a bit more?

Children's author Sahar Bergis has written an adorable book called Lili's Strawberry House that teaches kids about vegetables. We have been using it to get my son excited about eating his veggies! Later this week we'll be sharing a few book related activities with you! If you haven't seen the book before, you can check out more information here.

Did You Know? 
Starting June 1st we will be sharing a monthly Toddler Approved newsletter filled with more awesome activities for kids, parenting tips and tools, and other great resources. You can sign up on the blog's sidebar or click the link here to sign up.


  1. Great idea! With four kiddos, our house can become a disaster! I think my kids would really get into this activity! I pinned this!

    1. Thanks Eric! If you try it, pass along any tips that work for you. We can always use help and ideas at our house!

  2. I love this idea!! I'm definitely going to try this out with my kids!

  3. I am awful at getting the house clean and even worse at getting the kids to help. I need all the help I can get. Thank you

    1. You and me both Ali :) I am looking at a disaster of a house right now and just want to sit on the couch and veg!

  4. It's me again! I just wanted to thank you for linking this to the Kid's Co-op and to let you know that I feature it as one of my favorite ideas from last week!

  5. I think what I liked the most about this is the idea to celebrate by doing something with the kids afterwards :) Shared this post on the positive parenting connection community page on facebook!

  6. The effective Cleaning Routine. We should obey this strictly hanging on our wall. Thanks a lot for posting this.

  7. Great ideas. I will try all your ideas with my kids when I am free from work. Thanks for sharing with us. Keep it up


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