“You find the fun and ‘SNAP!’ the job’s a game.”

If only Mary Poppins could come flying down with her umbrella and solve all of my household ills. Even though the Banks had a cleaning lady (or a few) and a cook, Mary Poppins seemed to have more tricks up her sleeve than in her magic carpetbag. That carpetbag, by the way, makes a monthly appearance in my dreams, procuring the most wonderful items for my office and home.

But I digress. The scene that sticks out in my mind is when Mary Poppins makes a game out of cleaning the playroom with Jane and Michael. Snap your fingers, and tada, your room will clean itself. Oh, to dream!

I’ve searched my friends and family for the best cleaning house tricks for kids unlike Mary Poppins I will share my secrets with you today! You, too, can clean like Mary Poppins and have your kids (or in my case niece and nephews) think it as fun as a game.


Time It

The timer is a wonderful motivator. Whether a stand-alone kitchen timer, the microwave’s timer, or an app on your phone, get your timer out! Set it for five minutes, turn on some music to get your kids moving, and clean one room as fast as you can.

Each night before dinner or bedtime, initiate a Ten-Minute Tornado. Music always helps in moving little bodies along. Set the timer, put each child in charge of a room or area and get cleaning with your kids. “Snap!” Ten minutes and you’re done.



Even without a timer, have your kids pick some of their favorite songs and put them on a clean-up playlist. Keep it short and energetic. When the playlist comes on, everyone picks up the room they are in.



Everyone gets a bucket, bag, or small box with handles. First one to fill it gets a point. First one to place all of the items back in their right place gets a point. And repeat. If you have more than one child, have them race the other siblings. If not, you join in and race your child. Sometimes having the most points is better than getting an ice cream cone, but sometimes the ice cream cone is a pretty great reward, too.


Money is Always a Fun Game Piece

Hide quarters and small bills around the area where you ask your children to clean. Tell them that whatever they find they get to decide to throw away, put back or keep for themselves. Keep the cash a secret and smile to yourself when you hear their giggles and excitement (or knowingly nod when they don’t find it).


Role Play





Is there anything more fun for kids than seeing adults act like a lion? Role play, funny voices, clapping and singing nonsense songs are all great and easy ways to get your kids to play along while you teach them to make their bed, fold the clothes, or wash the dishes.


SNAP! Find the fun and it can be a game for everyone, even you. Have you tried any of these cleaning suggestions? Do your kids help out around the home?



Jessica Johnson