Friday, January 15, 2010

Colorful Cleanup

I found this idea in the newsletter that comes home with Mr. One from our school district.  I thought it was such a clever idea and wanted to share.  Hopefully this will help make cleaning up more fun and less of a struggle.

"While volunteering in my son's classroom, I discovered a fun way to get him to clean up at home.

The students take turns pulling a small square of colored paper out of a bowl.  Then, they walk around the room and put away every toy of that color...

That evening, I decided to try the teacher's idea.  [My son] and I cut pieces of construction paper (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black) and put them in a bowl.  At cleanup time, we took turns choosing colors and putting away the matching items.  The house was picked up in no time- and [my son] got extra practice leaning colors."

I think this might be a fun and more peaceful way of cleaning up toys at my house, too.

Our "clean up box" is an old play doh container I recovered with some scrapbook paper.  I cut small felt squares to place inside instead of construction paper.

I was thinking, we could change out the colors for numbered slips of paper and put away that number of toys to practice counting also.  (Of course you would need to go back and get another number until everything is put away...)

I pulled out the jar last night and had them pick colors to clean before dinner.  My boys seemed to like this method of cleaning, so I will definately pull it out again.

How do you encourage or motivate your children (or yourself) to clean?


  1. good idea. I usually just verbally give them a color to pick up especially when we play with the plastic blocks. Thanks.

  2. I really like this idea (and its variation with numbers). It does take a lot of nagging at cleanup - sometimes I just give up and clean up myself, since this seems easier.

  3. Ha! Usually with threats of giving their toys away. This seems much nicer. I think I'll try it with my preschooler, who usually just sits back while my older son and I clean it all.