10 Ways to Transform Chores into a Game

Last updated: May 1, 2020, at 9:54 a.m. PT

Originally published: May 1, 2020, at 9:29 a.m. PT

Kid dressed as superhero with cleaning supplies

Let’s be honest…cleaning house is the pits! If you’re find yourself at your wits' end with cleaning up mess after mess after mess with your kids, try one of these fun games to make cleaning up less of a chore.


1. Cleaning for Speed

It may seem obvious, but one of the most effective tidy up games is the speed race. Ask your child to do a tidying task and time them doing it. You can do this weekly, giving them a chance to improve their previous times. Alternatively, siblings or other family members can race against each other. You can create a scoreboard with star stickers showing the winner of each round.

2. Dice 

Get out a dice and assign a corresponding household chore to each number. Each household member rolls the dice and whichever number it lands on, they carry out the task. Whether its helping to fold the laundry, clean the windows, or mop the floor, it’s an argument-free way to settle on your chores. If the child is older and more chores are needed, add a second dice! 

3. The Magic Piece

Teacher tested; parent approved! Choose something in the home that needs to be straightened, picked up, put away, or thrown out. Maybe its a crumpled piece of paper on the floor, an out of place toy, or a cereal bowl that needs to be in the sink. Write it on a piece of paper or mentally stow it away. Tell your child(ren) that you have chosen a "magic piece" or single item in the home that needs to be picked up, put away, or straightened. Tell them that need to try to find this magic piece and they have five minutes to do so.

When the five minutes are up, you will ask them, "Who picked up __________?" The person who did will win the Magic Piece game and get a prize. (Prizes can be simple like a sticker, the opportunity to pick the movie for movie night, an extra serving of dessert, or whatever works best for your family.)

Pro-tip: Sometimes you don't need to pick the magic piece until the end of the game. You may just reward the child you see cleaning up the most.

4. Sock-Match Race

If you’ve ever fallen victim to the sock monster, you know it can be helpful to get those socks paired up and put away as soon as possible. One good way to do this is to make a race of it. Pile all the clean socks up in one heap and say “GO!” The members of your family race to find and pair up the socks until they are all done. Most pairs successfully matched wins the game!

5. Bullseye

If it’s time to sweep up the day, get a little painter’s tape and create a bullseye on the floor of the area you are trying to sweep. Make it your child’s mission to sweep all the crumbs into that small area. This a great way for them to focus on the task at hand.

6. Laundry Race

Ready, set, go! Blow your whistle, name a color, and watch as the children sprint off to their rooms. The winner is the first child to come back with all their dirty laundry in the requested color. It’s a fun, energetic (and slightly competitive) way to sort colors, whites, and darks.

7. Toy Pile Dismantle

Toys strewn all over the house can be overwhelming to address. Try putting them into a quick pile in the middle of the floor, and then let the kids break it down, piece by piece. You can even ask your kids to set a goal for how fast the pile gets put away and see if they can be successful!

8. Freeze Dance

In order to make Freeze Dance into a tidying up game, all you have to do is play some fun, energized music and then let the kids dance and put away as many toys as possible until the music stops. Start and stop as many times as it takes to get the whole room put away.

9. Room Makeover

Let you child use your phone and take pictures before cleaning up, and again after it’s all done. Comparing the two side by side is incredibly rewarding for a job well done.

10. Dress Up and Clean

Who says Superman doesn’t have to clean up after himself? Why can’t a fairy princess help in tidying up? Let your child take on the role of any person they desire. A firefighter can rescue all the toys that have spread across the house and put them in the safe toy cupboard. A fairy can use their magic broom to sweep the house clean completely. The possibilities are endless!