I am a cleaning robot..beep!beep!

Clean up time can be a real hassle sometimes. I feel overwhelmed by the mess very quickly and that got me thinking, if  I’m overwhelmed then a 2yr old and a 4yr old are probably even more so!

Our solution:   make it into a game.  In general, clean up time works best for us when I am very specific about what should be picked up and where it should go. I try to avoid general statements like “clean everything up” or  ” pick up the toys”  keeping that in mind I then like to add some fun to the mix.

Here are the top 5 favorite games we play that give us  a clean playroom.


1. Elbows, Knees and Toes

In this game we pretend our hands are too tired to lift anything so we have to use other parts of our bodies. . We usually get started with my asking everyone to do one task together and then take turns asking each other to try something. The kids come up with the silliest and trickiest assignments sometimes!

-Everyone try to use your elbow to put lego’s in the lego box-

-Mommy try to use your toes to pick up that doll-

-Johnny can you try using your chin to carry that book to the shelf?-


2. Zoo Keeper

The Zoo Keeper game works really well with our stuffed animals. We happen to keep most of our stuffed animals on a mesh hammock (aka the ZOO) that hangs on the wall. The boys often take them all down and scatter them around the house. When we play Zoo Keeper I send them on assignment around the house  looking for stray animals.  Again I like to be specific:

Zoo Keeper Johnny, the blue monkey is on the sofa can you bring him back to the zoo?-

-Zoo keeper Johnny, the  pink piggy is hiding by the fireplace, can you bring him back to the zoo?

3. Dump it here

My boys love dumping – actually I’ve never met a child that didn’t find dumping stuff out of containers absolutely fabulous!  This game is a play on this feeling. Together I encourage each child to help load toys onto a container lid or a smaller container and then dump it into the bigger container where the toys belong such as the lego box or the toy box.  Big giggles are sure to follow by saying  “DUMP IT HERE” each time.

4. Grand Nabber

My two year old invented this game – I believe he was inspired by the grand nabbers from the rocket ship from the Little Einsteins.  He likes to wear my giant oven mitts, grab toys however he can and then take them to their place. It’s a bit of a clumsy game but my son is two and he is helping so I think it’s great.

5. Robot

I usually take the lead on this game and just start cleaning and saying silly things in a robot voice.

I am a cleaning robot. I can put this book on the shelf. Beep Beep.

The boys find this so funny – and they want to imitate which means we all clean up together.

In the end of course I am doing the majority of the clean up but in my eyes that’s still my job as mom for the next few years. I would like to believe I am  creating a sense of cooperation and enjoyment for a task that is not usually regarded as fun . Sometimes the boys will surprise me and start playing these games on their own and tell me when they have cleaned up – and that is so cool…

Do you have any fun clean up games you like to play? What tasks do you find a hassle or do not look forward to?

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Ariadne is a happy and busy mama to three children. She practices peaceful, playful, responsive parenting and is passionate about all things parenting and chocolate. Ariadne has a Masters in Psychology and is a certified Positive Discipline Parenting Educator. She lives on top of a beautiful mountain with her family, one cuddly dog and "bluey" the fish.

5 Responses to I am a cleaning robot..beep!beep!

  1. This is GREAT! I will be using these for cleanup time! I especially like the DUMP IT idea and the clean up robot! Genius!

  2. I can see the zoo keeper game going over really well in a animal rescuer theme here (Animal Rescuer, Graham, the lion is stuck in the hallway savannah, can go save him?). Diego is a big hit right now 🙂

  3. May I ask how you handle the timing of clean ups?ntwo four year olds and a two year old here. Do you clean at the end of the day? At certain times? Whenever they are done with toys?… I am desperate because I really do need their help, but want to be as nice about it as I can.

    • Hi Katie,

      I think toy clean up at age 2 and 4 is best done in small chunks. Ideally each toy that is done being played with goes back to it’s place but so often at this age children tend to use multiple toys, put them down and then come back so in that sense, maybe having a set routine – like building the clean up games into the transitions before a snack or before a meal can become easier to handle. A bit will depend on when you believe it’s a good time for your family. I often found that too many toys out at the end of the day was a recipe for tears and overwhelming for me as well. The more I chose to work “with” the kids the easier it was…also in playgroups I se that children will follow the adults lead – if everyone is actively helping then the children also help as well. hope that helps!

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