Cooking, cleaning, dusting, and mopping aren’t usually at the top of a kid’s list… unless there’s a playful twist! Giving your little helpers household chores teaches them responsibility and gives them an opportunity to learn about important life skills – but sparking their interest can sometimes be tricky. The challenge: teaching your kids about the importance of lending a helping hand to keep things neat and tidy. The solution: turning chores into fun and exciting games!

Making the Bed: Morning Hunt

Hide a note, a sweet treat or a special treasure somewhere in the house for your child to find and give them different clues – one for each step of making the bed! Tucking in the fitted sheet around each corner, smoothing out the blanket on top, fluffing up the pillows, or re-placing a plush buddy after a night of cuddling can all be done to receive clues. And once the bed is made, you can let your little explorer search for the hidden loot!

Laundry: Find the Pairs

Although we tend to lose many socks to the mysterious washing machine vortex, most of our socks do come back to our drawers. But before that can take place, each sock needs to be reunited with its other half – a meticulous activity that can easily be turned into a fun game! You can set a certain time frame (3 minutes, for example) and challenge your kiddo to match as many socks as they can. And if you have more than one laundry partner, organize a matching race between siblings!

Dusting: Dusty Buddy

The socks that do end up single (or are simply a little old) can be repurposed as sock puppets – but not just any puppet! These DIY pals can be turned into dusting buddies with the help of imagination and pretend play. You can take a sock, spruce it up with googly eyes and other accessories, and encourage your little one to slip it on and wipe dusty surfaces by telling them that this puppet’s favorite snack are dust bunnies! Just don’t forget to remind them that their dusty buddy can get thirsty (a.k.a. dirty) and needs to be refreshed with water from time to time.

Sock puppet next to a picture frame.
Paper fork, plate and knife with paper carrots and a paper lemon.

Setting the Table: Craft Cuisine

Before your little one starts handling real plates and cutlery, they can practice setting a table by using play dishes or by creating a meal with crafts! Bust out the art supplies and encourage your artist in the making to color, decorate, and cut out the dinnertime essentials – a plate with food, a cup with water or juice, a fork, a knife, and a spoon. Once completed, figuring out the correct table setting by moving around each mini masterpiece will be easy and fun – and it can prepare them for the real deal once they grow past the height of the dinner table.

Cleaning: Broom Ball

There are moments when kids (and adults!) turn the humble broom into a microphone stand, a limbo bar, or a mode of “air transportation.” But there are ways to combine a broom’s fun side and its true cleaning purpose – and one of them is to add a ball into the mix! Whether you call it broom hockey or broom soccer, your kiddo can get a lot of sweeping done if they toss a ball around the house! They can sweep solo or clean with a family member by passing the ball to and fro in the areas that need sweeping.

What could also motivate your little helper and give them a sense of accomplishment is a chore chart where they can proudly check off each chore they completed – even if it’s not done to perfection. At the end of the day, it’s always the effort that counts!

Kids toucan broom.

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