I believe all parents are familiar with the fact that most kids don’t like to clean up after they play with their toys. What if I told you that cleaning up can be fun for your little ones? It all depends on how you approach the problem.
Kids, and preschoolers in particular, love to play. Cleaning up can be uninteresting, boring or unpleasant for children. But what if we turned this unpleasant activity into a funny, interesting and exciting one? We’ve found a simple way we can do this without involving any reward or punishment. So instead of telling your child that he or she will receive a reward if he or she cleans up (or, worse, instead of threatening the child with a punishment if he or she does not clean up), it is better to clean up by playing a role-playing game.
But, before I explain how we clean up, I want to summarize in a few lines the importance of role-playing.
Role-playing is important for children because it…
Stimulates Creativity and Imagination
As Albert Einstein said: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
Enhances communication and language skills
Children can learn new words and enhance their vocabulary, they learn to express themselves using sentences, and they also learn to listen.
Develops social skills
Kids learn to interact with others in various contexts, they face different situations and get exposed to different scenarios. They learn to empathize with others, to relate to others’ emotions and feelings, to be compassionate and they can also learn how to act when they are part of a team. They also learn to respect, understand and appreciate other people, by playing various roles.
Builds problem solving skills
The child makes his own game. She or he chooses who wants to be and the scenario she/he wants to be part of. The child chooses how to act in various situations and comes up with her or his own solutions to the problems that arise during gameplay.
Helps gaining independence
Children make their own decisions during gameplay. This helps them become more confident and independent.
Strengthens physical development
Most role-playing games require physical activity and hand-to-eye coordination. Kids may play a superhero/villain, a firefighter, a ballerina role etc. These roles require a lot of movement, jumping, stretching and other physical movements .Kids could pretend they are doctors who consult and treat patients, teachers or airplane pilots, in which case hand-to-eye coordination is required.
This being said, role-playing games have an important role in children’s development and it should always be encouraged.
Our clean up role-playing games
Our clean up role-playing games are easy and simple, but they have great results.
I pretend to be a granny who came home from the market and found her house upside-down. Her dog and cat (we actually have a dog and a cat) scattered all her things around the house. The problem is that Granny, being old, forgot where the right place for each of her things was. So, to solve the problem, Granny calls her granddaughter and asks her to come to her house and help her put everything in its place. The granddaughter (our daughter) arrives and starts chatting with Granny while putting each scattered object where it belongs.
We are two animal friends who live together: a dog and a frog. Guests must come to our house for a big party in the evening, but our house is a mess. How will we get out of this situation? The frog has an idea: to team up with the dog and clean up fast. So, we turn the hourglass. Each of us will grab a scattered object with our puppet hand and put it in its place. But, we have to do it fast, before all the sand in the hourglass flows (for each object we pick up).
This clean up role-playing game scenario can be adapted so that one character picks up the scattered objects (the child) and the other just turns the hourglass after each object is put in its place.
These are our tho fun clean up role-playing games. How do you make your child clean up after him/her?