Cleaning Made Fun: 6 Jobs Your Kids Will Enjoy This Summer


Ahh, the start of summer is here, and with it an endless chorus of "I'm bored!" and "What can we do?" from my children. I like to take care of my kids' boredom and my house cleaning needs in one fell swoop with cleaning made fun.

1. Baseboad Races:

You may be more Martha than me, but my baseboards are lucky to get an annual cleaning. Fortunately, I've enlistsed my three boys to help with this task. Have each child get a pair of (ideally) old socks and put one on each hand. Choose a room and have each child start at the same place on the molding. On your mark, get set, go! and send them off cleaning in opposite directions, racing until they meet. For an added cleaning bonus, have one child dust with a dry sock and have another child follow with a slightly damp one.

2. The Great Window Wash:

Summer + kids + hoses = guaranteed fun. I like to give my children a bucket of soapy water, a few sponges or rags, and a hose. Then I set them to work spraying and scrubbing the exterior windows. Yes, they get wet, and yes, they often need a few reminders to stop spraying each other and spray the windows, please, but the job leaves my kids entertained and my windows clean. Bonus points for scrubbing the window screens too.

3. Sort and Find:

If you're like our family, there are various areas of the house that seem to collect random kid stuff—under the bunkbeds, the nighstand, the art drawer. Task your kids with taking everything out of the area and they'll be amazed with the long lost "treasures" they'll find in the process of sorting and organizaing. "My favorite LEGO head!" "My eraser collection!" You'll get an area cleaned and organized, and your kids will feel like they've found missing treasures.

4. Clean Up  / Cash In:

We use this one most in the yard, but it could work in the playroom just as well. During our yard clean-up sessions, my husband will clip and cut this and that throughout the yard. The boys are tasked with putting the clippings in the greens barrel unless they think they are sellable (think rosemary, mint, lemons, flowers, etc.). In that case, they can set them to the side, and after the work is done they can package and price the goods for sale. This gets the yard cleaned and allows for lots of good conversations about selling what people will buy, pricing, and packaging.  Plus, the kids often make a few bucks. This could work equally well selling knicknacks from the toy room too.

5. Bathtub Scrub-a-Dub:

Cleaning the bathtub is one of my least favorite activities, so I've enlisted my boys for this chore. We gather bubble bath soap, sponges, old toothbrushes, and occasionally goggles. Then the boys get to work scrubbing the walls and corners and toys until everything, including the boys, gets a good rinse down. Boys clean, tub clean—win-win.

6. Breakdance Dusting:

Since watching the skills of a classmate at last year's school talent show, my boys have been into breakdancing. I know. They'll don slip-and-slide-inducing outfits such as sweat pants, socks, and long sleeves to help them roll, spin, and slide across the floor in style. Fortunately, these outfits also turn them into human dusters, able to spin and twist into hard-to-reach places such as under the piano and dining room table. With some good music and a directive to get their clothes as dirty as possible and the floor as clean as possible, I let them twist, spin, and twirl away. If only Swiffer made onesies…

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