In our communities, there are plenty of opportunities for families to gather with their children and help each other. In our church congregation, we take turns cleaning the church building. I don’t know why, but the children are not often included in this task. My boys have helped clean the church several times now, and we wanted to share some tips for making cleaning fun!
The types of things that children can easily do:
- Clean mirrors
- Wipe down counters
- Spot gum that needs to be removed (and an adult scrapes it off)
- Clean water fountains
- Clean door knobs and light switches
- Clean windows
- Take out trash
We have found two main tips that work really well in including children in helping with family service projects.
Tip #1–Have an Older Buddy
Whether an older child, a teenager, or an adult–assigning a buddy with a child makes it easier and more fun for all involved. At this point, the most difficult chore for my children is mopping. But my 6 year old was able to help with that recently, too (with his dad who was the buddy).
Tip #2–Make It Fun
The hard part in including children in a larger cleaning project is motivating them to work when they are tempted to run off and play. For a recent family service project, we decided to make it easier to include kids by:
“Secret” Jobs–Giving the kids that came with their families “secret” assignments like: smile at 5 people, say 5 to five people, and complement 5 people.
When you give kids “secret” jobs, they smile a little, look around to see if anyone has heard, and go off–and they actually do the “secret” jobs!
Playing “Capture the Dust Bunnies”–Dust Bunnies have INVADED the building and we need your help to clean them OUT! . . . Dust Bunnies are pompoms scattered through-out the building. As the kids clean from room to room, they discover and capture the Dust Bunnies.
Capture the Dust Bunnies General Guidelines
- Jobs must be completed before Dust Bunnies can be captured.
- Don’t be a Dust Bunny hog. Share Dust Bunnies with the other kids that are cleaning the room with you. (There were absolutely no problems with Dust Bunny hogging when we asked them to make sure and share.)
- Gather Dust Bunnies in Impenetrable Trap Bags (regular zip-lock bags with a snazzy title) so they cannot get away.
From the youngest of the kids helping to clean (2 years old) to the oldest that day (7 years old), there was constant scurrying for work and for dust bunnies!!
At the end, the kids could trade Captured Dust Bunnies for stickers. And, surprisingly, most kids wanted to keep their Captured Dust Bunnies in the Impenetrable Trap Bags!