As parents, one of the first life skills we teach our children is to clean up. When one has a clean environment, they tend to think and feel better. Ensuring that a child cleans up after playing can be a challenge for some parents and kids. Therefore, I have created six games that will make clean up time fun for toddlers.

Let’s Get Started!

Eat Monster

Create an “Eat Monster” with bags or bins. Let your child pretend the bags or bins are eating toys or whatever needs to be cleaned up. Below is how we played…

  • Make a mouth out of the opening of a box or bag you would like the toys to go.
  • Pretend the box or bag is hungry and wants to eat the toys.
  • If you have a bag, use your hand to open and close the opening with your hands.
  • If you have a bin with a lid, move the lid up and down to represent the monster’s mouth.
  • While your child is picking up the toys, the monster should say, “I AM HUNGRY AND I NEED TOYS TO EAT!”
  • Your child will hurry to put the toys in the monster’s month.
  • They will most likely have fun and laugh during this activity.

Create a Slide

  • If you have toys that belong in a bag or bin, get curled paper, newspaper, cardboard (folded), or poster card and place it in the bag or bin.
  • If you have a bigger bag or bin, it would be better to use newspaper, cardboard, or poster board.
  • Have your child put the toys at the top of the bag or bin and slide it down the paper, newspaper, cardboard, or poster board.
We created a slide with paper and put it in a bag. My son slid magnetic letters down the slide.

Race Against the Count or Clock

Tell your child they have a certain amount of time to clean up. Challenge them to beat the clock!

  • Tell your child they have 55 seconds to clean up their blocks
  • Count to 55 and see if your child has beaten the clock or the count.
  • Count in different languages if you are teaching your child to be bilingual.
  • If you see your child struggling to complete the task, count a little slower to give them a better chance to win.
  • You may also help your child clean up, so both of you are racing against the count or clock.

Race Against Each Other

Most of us want our houses or rooms to be neat and tidy, why not make it a friendly competition?

  • Start the race by grabbing a toy.
  • Tell your child to say, “Ready, set, go!”
  • Both of you will hurry to clean up the room.
  • The person who cleans up their area first, wins!

Sorting

Many times while cleaning up, we have certain bins, bags, or places we want toys to go. Why not expose or reinforce sorting during this activity?

  • While your child is putting toys in certain places, identify what is similar about those items.
  • For example, all the toys are used for building such as colorful Legos or hard wooden blocks?
  • You may also identify what is different about two areas.
  • Does one area contain building toys such as magnetic tiles while the other has soft toys like stuffed animals?

Music

Music is a great way to motivate kids to do a tasks. Try these ideas below…

  • Play the “Clean Up Song” while your child is cleaning up.
  • Create your own clean up song with your child.
  • Bang on a box and create a “Clean Up” chant while the children are cleaning up.

Incorporate these games during clean up time and make it fun. It will bring enjoyment to this task.

If you want more games, check out our post, Games/Activities for Kids and Parents to Make your Morning Routine Efficient.

Happy Cleaning!

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16 thoughts on “6 Games that Make Clean Up Fun for Toddlers

  1. We’ve always done the clean up song or a race against the clock but I love the idea of creating a slide to get things picked up! I’m sure they’ll have fun with that one.

    1. Thank you! Yes the slide is a fun one. It is more fun if you create a big slide with poster board or newspaper.

  2. These are so awesome and fun tips for helping toddlers to clean up! Thank you for sharing, anything that helps with clean up is amazing!

  3. My toddler LOVES cleaning. In fact I think she gets toys out sometimes JUST to put them away (not complaining), but I will absolutely be trying these ideas she will love them! Thanks for sharing!

  4. We’ve done the race games, sorting and had dance competitions while cleaning (with bonus points for the most creative cleaning up dance move), but I love the bin monster idea! We are going to have to try that!

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