How to Turn Chores into Games

As my kids are getting a little bigger and older, I want them to learn to clean up after themselves as well as help around the house. 

Right now, they know that after each meal, they need to bring their plates, glasses and utensils to the sink when they are finished eating. They also put their dirty clothes into their hampers when it’s time for a bath, usually. When they come into the house, they also take of their own shoes and put them in the stand, after I remind them. The kids also pick and layout their clothes for the next morning on school days, this is one they love to do for some reason.

How to Turn Chores Into games

This is all great, but I also want them to participate in helping around the house with chores that aren’t directly related to them. It’s in a far-fetched hope that it’ll continue and they will be willing and happy to do chores as they grow into teenagers. Yes, I know I’m dreaming, but a girl’s gotta hope.

In that aim, I’ve been trying to create games out of household chores. This makes it fun for them and they end up helping around the house. Here are a few that I’ve tried and some that I’m looking forward to trying.

1. The Socks Matching Game
In this game, we do all the laundry and then save the socks for the kids. The goal for them is to separate the socks by color and then make matching pairs. If you have more than one child doing this, whoever makes the most pair wins! 

kyah matching socks

2. Pick a Chore From the Jar
We created a movie night jar. We made list of all the family movies we wanted to watch, cut them out, folded them and put them in a jar.  Then once a month when we watch a family movie on a Saturday night, we pick a title randomly out of a jar. Why not do that with chores too? Sit down with the kids and make a list of chores they think they can do. Then let the kids help you cut and fold them. Put all the pieces in a jar. And then when it’s chore time, they can pick one and do it. It sounds fun in theory, especially because the kids helped create it.

3. Sort the Utensils
I came up with this game very recently. How it works is, when the dishes are washed and it’s time to unload the dishwasher, hand over the spoons and forks to the kids. (I have little ones, so I took knives out myself.) They can sort the forks and spoons first by size and then find the right spot in the tray to put them in. And trust me, it’s really fun for them for some reason!

Kyah organizing utensils 2

4. Kid-Sized Cleaning Supplies
Get your children some kid-sized cleaning supplies like brooms, mops, dust pan, even a small spray bottle with homemade non-chemical cleaner. You will be very surprised to see how excited they will be to help you out when they have their own special supplies and they can spray things. It’s really a win-win situation.

5. Sock Dusting
Got some old, unmatched white sport socks that you’re going to throw away? Give them to your kids instead. Tell them to put it on their hand as a glove and see how much dust they can pick up. If you have more than one child, make it into a “who can collect more dust” game!

6. Spray the Plants
I have a terrible green thumb and that’s why I don’t keep a lot of plants around. But what if you don’t need to remember to water the plants? Keep a spray bottle at a level that your kids can reach and make it a fun game, because really, what kid doesn’t love spraying water? 

7. Chore Chart
Buy or make a Chore Chart. Put a few age appropriate chores on it for your kids. Then as a reward, let them put a sticker every time they finish a chore. You can even add the stickers or checkmarks up at the end of the week and give them a quarter for every chore they completed. Yes, it’s a little like bribery but it works really well!

DIY chore charts

 How do you get your little ones to help around the house?

20 thoughts on “How to Turn Chores into Games

  1. As someone who works with games, this is a great idea! If we were getting fancy, we’d call it “Gamification”. But since you, Salma, are a common-sense Mom, it’s simply one super idea for motivating kids to help out around the house!

    Now I just need you to invent a game to get my boys to clean up their rooms. I’m out of ideas so I’m looking forward to hearing yours!

  2. Hey this is a brilliant concept. At least this way kids will look forward to having their chores done, and it is best to make it as fun as possible. They are learning responsibility in a positive way.

  3. When my son was young, I tried to make games. When he was a little older, the chore chart and, um, bribery was sometimes used. Either way, it is good you are doing this now when they are young and still cooperative.

  4. I don’t have any kids yet, but I will keep these games in mind. I am not sure how my parents got all 6 of us kids growing up to do chores… but we did.

    We all learned to clean and cook before we left the house! Great post! Follow from UBC. 🙂

  5. These sound great. My little one is still a little too young to do chores on a regular basis, but I do make putting her toys away a game for her to do. She likes to feel helpful when it comes to tidying up at the end of the day. I’ll definitely try some of these as she gets older.

  6. Personally, I love the quarter for every chore they’ve completed. That will teach them that they can earn money and they may even come to respect it and start saving for goodies that they want. Heck, I’d even do more housework if I could get a little extra $$ for it. lol I LOVE the kid-sized cleaning supplies too. That’s a sweet idea. Have fun, and good luck. 🙂

  7. What a great list of activities — I was just lamenting this week that my girls haven’t been contributing as much as they could. This is very Mary Poppins — love.this!

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