Before we get started, no I’m not crazy! I am well aware of the contradiction between tidy and toddler, but yes, it is possible to have both!
Most people who know our little one think that she is the most organized and tidy little two-year-old you could ever meet!
When we visit other people’s homes she is very concerned with mess, will grab a tissue and quickly wipe up the tiniest drop of liquid off the floor, and lines up her toys very strategically when playing.
I constantly hear “She’s so clean and organized, your house must be spotless!”…NOPE!
This child that so meticulously cleans up at other people’s homes, I don’t know this child!
Something happens in the car on the way to a house other than our own that makes her this little angel that I am less than familiar with, because this is not my usual Maddie! My Maddie can make our living room look like we hosted a play date for 20 in about 30 seconds flat, and is not a fan of undoing this “work of art”!
So how do we tidy up after the toddler tornado has ripped through our home?
We play! Turning it into a game is not only effective, but educational! Here are the two “tidy up games” we like best…
Tidying Up With A Toddler
1. Color/Shape Hunting
For this all you need is a box and an example of your chosen color or shape!
Start by having a look around at the items left out in the room you are cleaning, and see what shape or color comes up the MOST. This way, by the end of the activity there is very little left to be done!
If you notice there are a lot of green items, for example, pull out the “clean up box” and say “It’s GREEN day today! Help me find everything that’s green so we can fill up our box!”
Once the box is full, we celebrate with a little high five and a small treat like some fruit or a cookie.
As they get older, you can have several boxes and have them sort the entire mess into them for you when play time is over! But for now, I find this not only is helping her learn her shapes and colors, but takes enough of the mess off the floor that it takes me no time at all to tidy the rest!
2. Lost & Found Box
This is a great one for toddlers, but can be used until around age 10 simply by adjusting the chores to suit their abilities!
Simply print this image and paste it onto a plastic bin, along with a few chores in an envelope for the child to choose from.
This is one of my favorite little tricks I saw on Pinterest, and I use it for the items that find their way out of the play area into the hallway, kitchen, washroom, anywhere they are in the way!
The chores Maddie can choose from right now at 2 years old include things such as “Tidy the Bath Toys”, “Pick Up 3 Toys Off The Floor”, “Match Up All Your Shoes”, etc.
Little jobs that can be completed quickly, teach the lesson that toys are not to be left around the house while you still have their attention, and take a few little things off my to-do list for the day!
Do you have a fun and effective way to help keep your home in tact with a child at play? Share it below!
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