5 Games That Make Household Chores Fun for Kids

Because play doesn't always have to be the opposite of work.

by Alexis Barad-Cutler
Originally Published: 

Giving children chores is good for kids because it allows them to be proactive and to learn what it means to take responsibility. They also provide kids with an appreciation of the work that goes into keeping a family happy and healthy. Plus, research says kids who have chores well before their teenage years are more likely to receive better grades, have a stronger career trajectory, higher IQ, and stronger relationships.

It’s also good to teach kids that play isn’t the opposite of work. And there’s no harm in making chores fun. Here, then, are six games that are not only fun to do as a family, but that will ultimately make your home look nicer.

The Chore: Cleaning Up Toys

The Game: Pick It Up, Put It Down

Before the game begins, determine a drop-off point where each player will collect their items and then assign points to certain categories of items that they would each find on the floor throughout the house. The game leader gets to decide which toys are being collected per round and how many points they are. For example, stuffed toys could get two points, toys with wheels could get three points, and art supplies could get four. Do whatever works for your situation, according to whatever you have lying around in categories that exceed one item per thing. Set a timer so that everyone has to get their items within the same window of time. The person who has accumulated the most points before the timer runs out gets to be the leader in the next round.

The Chore: Laundry

The Game: Laundry Gymnastics

How creatively can you carry your dirty laundry to the laundry basket or laundry room? Each kid takes turns carrying their laundry to the laundry room in the most creative way possible (think rhythmic gymnast doing floor work with those ribbon things). Can they twirl their long sleeve shirt over their heads and then bring it down in an arc by their toes? And so on. Another option: make it a “who can be the silliest on the way to the laundry” and ask them to hop on one foot or do a jig and call it a day. Each feat of laundry gymnastics gets judged on a scale of 1 to 10 and the player with the highest score wins.

The Chore: Sweeping the Floor

The Game: ‘X’ marks the spot

Using Washi-Tape, make a square on the floor with an X in the middle. If you’re playing with two or more players, make a box with an X for each individual player in different spots around the house. Give each player an allotted amount of time with a broom and set a stopwatch or timer (say, 90 seconds, or maybe two minutes each) to sweep as much as possible into their individual square. The person with the most dust or dirt or who-knows-what in there, wins.

The Chore: Making the Bed

The Game: The Making the Bed Relay

Do this for all the beds in the house. Start with the first bed. One player starts the relay by first taking all of the pillows off of the first bed and putting them on the floor and then tags Player Two. Player Two then pulls the sheets and bedspread up and flattens them to make them neat, and tags Player Three, who straightens out the side crinkles. Tag Player One again, who will now go back to position pillows back on top of the bed, and then tag the next player who will run to the next bed in the house and begin again (remove pillows, then next player straightens sheets, etc.) Repeat until the relay is done (i.e. all beds are made). See if you can beat your time, as a group, from the day before.

The Chore: Washing Dishes

The Game: Backwards Restaurant

You can play this game with one player or multiples. At the end of a meal, you (the parent), stand at the sink and pretend you are the customer in a restaurant where the only thing on the menu are dirty dishes and utensils. But you can’t say exactly which dish you want – you can only give hints, and the other person has to guess by bringing it to you (at the sink). So you would say, “I would like to order a plate with something on it that tastes great with ketchup” (and it would be the plate that had, say, tater tots on it). Or, “I would love something that I could also drink a chocolaty drink out of,” and it would be the cup that had milk in it. Take turns between players, and tally up who got the most dishes correct by the time all the dishes are cleared off of the dinner table. Or if with one player, see how many dishes they got right by the end.

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