My kids figured out long, long ago that there are approximately ten thousand and five better things to do than clean. Which means when it's cleaning time, I get nothing but resistance. Parents out there - unless your kids are on the OCD side of cleaning, I'm sure you're in the same boat - especially if you are a creative-type with little creative-types running around your ankles.
When it comes to my kiddos' creativity and the materials it takes to create, I don't limit - they've always had free reign of the art supplies. They love it and make the most amazing things - bird beak masks, wings, paper dolls, doll houses, they write and illustrate books, snip paper like it's going outta style... and they make the BIGGEST MESSES. Bigger than mine! When it's time to clean up, I get so much resistance that simple pick-up-your-stuff requests turn into fights with time outs and me putting them on art probation. I hate that.
And then there's the whole clean-your-room business. Oh man.
Well, something needed to change, so, inspired by the book Time Management For the Creative Person, by Lee Silber, who gives ideas for turning boring to-do lists into more creative ways of accomplishing the necessary items in life, I got the idea to make a board game for the girls - heck, the whole family - and now we have CLEAN THIS MESS.
A mess-cleaning board game that is colorful like Candy Land and a silly-fun way to get things done. With a winner's circle - definitely a goal my kids want to reach - and fast!
MAKING THE GAME:
- Sturdy cardboard about the size of a Candy Land board (shape doesn't matter!)
- Colored card stock for squares and game piece backings
- Double stick tape
- Clear contact paper
- Optional magazine cut-outs
When all items were loosely taped down, I covered the board, front and back, with clear contact paper.
MAKING THE GAME PIECES:
- Snap a couple full body digital photos.
- Print them out (ours are 4-5 inches)
- Cut them out
- Tape them to colored card stock
- Cover them in clear contact paper - front and back
- Cut them out again, this time with a base for the feet
Cut thin strips of card stock like so:
Give them two little snips - then connect the slits so that you have a little hoop stand.
Make two snips in the base of the person game piece and stick it on the stand. Admire your merry band of cleaning warriors.
MAKING THE GAME CARDS:
I made a stack of cards that can be reused. When we played, it was a Clean Your Room game, so my cards had tasks like:
- Pick up all blue toys and put them in the toy box
- Put all My Little Ponies on the shelf
- Gather all dirty clothes and put in laundry room
- Throw away ten pieces of garbage
- Dance while cleaning for one whole song
- Clean for two minutes while holding a book on your head
- Pick up ten pink things and put them away while hopping on one foot
- Make up and sing a silly song
- Recite the Preamble to the Constitution
- Spin around in a circle while counting to 20
- Brush your teeth
When making the cards, fill them with the necessary items on your to-do list, only make them even shorter tasks than you'd ordinarily give your kids. You can do this by having them do tasks by color or limit the number of items they'll pick up per card. I had three garbage picking up cards - one for throwing away 10 items, one for throwing away 6 items while wearing a princess dress backwards, one for throwing away 8 items while singing the alphabet. MAKE IT EASY AND FUN and most of all, NOT OVERWHELMING. Give them the ability to move their game pieces quickly from one square to the next in order to keep the interest level up!
ADAPT THE GAME TO SUIT OLDER KIDS by giving them cards that allow them to steal the space of other players, or force them to lose a turn by taking a break while the other people work. Build on my game idea to suit your own needs!
AND THAT IS ALL
My kids played yesterday and Gracie's insanely messy room was cleaned up in an organized manner in only 15 minutes.
YOU GUYS! It usually takes about two hours - kicking and screaming included - to accomplish the same amount of cleaning.
I am a happy mama once again.
If you want to make CLEAN THIS MESS, too, and have questions, feel free to ask in the comments!
Have a great weekend, folks!