Thursday, February 25, 2010

the finding game

I'm fairly certain I'm not the only one who's family room floor occasionally looks like this:

And that's just one small portion of the room. Ugh. After spending so much time finishing that dresser and working on other projects, the kids were a little neglected last week. They watched a LOT more tv than they're used to. And they were left to destroy the room without me getting after them every few minutes. At the end of the day there were Polly Pockets and Cars and toys and coloring books and McDonald's wrappers and cushions and blankets and clothes and shoes and books and movies and all kinds of things covering the floor. Please tell me I'm not the only one who's house looks this way every now and then!!

Anyway, the few times the house gets like this no one wants to clean it up. It's too overwhelming. It's hard enough to get the kids to clean up their small messes. So this is darn near impossible. But I've found a trick!

We have created a game! The Finding Game. We take a few minutes before we start "playing" to make ourselves a "map". It usually looks something like this:

We just glance around the room and group the things that need to be picked up and put away into categories. This particular time the couch cushions and pillows needed to be put back together, blankets needed to be folded and put away, toys needed to be picked up, games, trash, shoes, craft and art supplies, books, movies, clothes, there were a few cups and dishes that needed to be put in the kitchen. And then we always draw a big question mark in case there's anything else we need to pick up when we're finished.

Then we turn on some fun music and get to it! The kids pick which thing they want to do first and we clean up until we find all of the items from that category and put them all away. Sometimes we try to see who can get the most or the fastest. Other times we just clean it all up. As we finish each item the kids cross it off our "map" and pick a new category.

Before you know it the place looks like this again!

Ah. That's much better. What do you do to get your kids to clean up their messes?


The Brandt Clan Fam! said...

What a fun, creative way to get the job done! It looks so wonderful clean! And no, of course you are not the only one whose family room (or other rooms!) gets like that. Way to be a fun Mom! :) By the way, you did a FANTASTIC job on that dresser! I can't wait to see other the end results of other projects!

r said...

That is an AWESOME way to get the kids to chip in. I'm stealing it. Thanks.

PS That is what my living room looked like after I spent my morning cleaning up the kids room. Good times.

Lindsay said...

I just spent the ENTIRE day cleaning the crap out of my house because the whole thing looked like that picture, so don't feel bad. I love that idea of the game. genius!
And I don't have any tricks to make my son help me. We do have a job chart though and most days that works pretty well and then we give him like a quarter or so after the end of the day. It's more like bribery, but whatever gets my house clean right!

The Larson Family said...

What a great idea! I'm totally going to use that. Usually I resort to bribes (which I call rewards, but really they are bribes), the occasional threat, and worst of all gunny bag who eats up all the left over toys. Your way sounds much more Christlike. Thanks for sharing!

Kathlen said...

LOVE IT!!! Thanks for the great idea!

Jobi Niu said...

what a great idea!! You're so creative.. How's your cute kids? I miss you. Let me know the next time youzlre in PG..

Bugs said...

We use flashlights and go on a 'treasure hunt' to find the missing/misplaced items. We just happen to have some cool flashlights that are a cow and zebra and they make noise every time you turn them on. It makes cleaning up a little more fun.
Also, we have tried creating different super hero names and then they all have to accomplish their 'mission' usually for a treat. (We quite often have those around our house.)

Mandi said...

I love your idea and i love that your kids love to do it and it gets them to help!!