I absolutely love it when multitasking happens organically. A treat that’s both healthy AND yummy? Sign me up. An activity that’s fun AND burns calories? DUH. Household chores for toddlers that will engage them AND clean my house/do my laundry at the same time? YASSSSSS!
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The following household chores can be made into fun and engaging activities for your littles.
Depending on the age of your toddler(s), you may have to adapt slightly.
Chore #1: Clean up toys
This is the most obvious one! Sometimes, I like to make it into a game. Like, literally, a game. (Roll or toss the toys into their final destination, sweep up the puzzle pieces, see how fast we can pick up the toys, rock or shush the babies into their beds.)
Other times, I feel more like a drill sergeant, LOL.
Either way, cleaning up is part of our daily activities, much like brushing our teeth or eating breakfast. Occasionally, we’ll sing the clean up song together but usually, I’ll just say, “Ok, Nugget and Peanut, let’s clean up XYZ before we move on to another activity. In my humble opinion, cleaning up should definitely be included in every family’s chores for toddlers. It’s a great way to introduce responsibility and team work.
Here are some of my favorite ways to organize our toys and books:
Yes, your eyes aren’t tricking you, those are gallon size Ziplock bags! They are honestly my go-to for everything. Since the move, we haven’t committed yet to any particular form of storage (e.g., cube, bookshelf, etc.) for the playroom…so until then, it’s containers and Ziplock bags for us!
Chore #2: Laundry
From soup to nuts, Nugget and Peanut LOVE helping out with laundry. (For reference, Nugget is 4 and Peanut is 2 1/2.)
Laundry begins with taking off our clothes (for bath time or just one of our 45 outfit changes per day, LOL) and putting them directly into the hamper.
I have one on each floor for convenience! Nugget and Peanut both know where they are located and how to put their clothes in.
Step 2 is probably their favorite part. Loading (and unloading) the clothes into the washer and dryer.
(We have a front loading washer, so that makes it a bit easier!) Then they press the buttons and watch the machine go. All under supervision, of course!
Step 3: Sorting/rolling/folding/putting away.
This step all depends on the age of your children, their attention span, how detailed you want to be, and the final destination of your clothes. To be perfectly honest, at this stage of the game, Mama does most of step 3. Nugget will spend a good 10 minutes folding one piece of clothing (LOL) and, if I’m not careful, Peanut will empty my basket (of folded laundry)!
LAUNDRY HACK: KEEP CLOTHING IN MULTIPLE LOCATIONS
This might drive some people crazy (me, for instance) but if you have a home that’s more than one story…yeah. Convenience wins over logical organization. For example, our bedrooms are all on the second floor (so it would make sense to have clothing in the closets and dressers on the second floor). HOWEVER…we spend 99.9% of our day on the first floor (and even basement). If your kids are anything like mine, they will have gone through at least one or two outfit changes before lunch!
Mama is NOT about to climb those stairs with these knees that many times.
As a result, I have bins of clothing stashed in strategic places around the house. Works for us!
Some of our favorite organizing tools:
Chore #3: Floors
My littles LOOOOOOOVE cleaning the floor! Sweeping at this age is a bit tricky (because of the height of the broom) but the girls love using the little mini sweeper. The toy vacuums are more of a fun prop (even though they really do suck up a little bit…not enough in our house though, LOL) and to eliminate the fighting, I ended up getting two. The win of the day though, is definitely the Swiffer. Remove one of the middle pieces and voilà! The perfect toddler height cleaning tool. Just make sure to supervise while they use (obvi) and wash their hands when they are done (in case they like to touch all the yucky stuff, like my kids do).
Chore #4: Throw garbage away
I had both girls doing this as soon as they could walk. They both love to help! I have to admit, I’m not thrilled with the fact that they are touching the garbage can lid but I end up sanitizing it every day, so there’s that?!
Chore #5: Wiping up surfaces
The girls thoroughly enjoy wiping up surfaces. Some surfaces do not require their love and attention (e.g., the sliding glass door, LOL) while others are great for little hands. I give them a wet paper towel (but usually they end up finding the wet wipes and help themselves) and send them on their way. Tables, countertops, walls, toys…whatever is wipeable is fair game!
Chore #6: Dishes
You might be chuckling at this one. By dishes, I mean Nugget can help bring dishes (plastic only) to the sink. The girls also LOVE helping me unload the dishwasher (though it can be tricky). I usually will only let one child help per load and I make sure to unload the knives first. The girls love it!
For pretend, these are great toys!
Chore #7: Helping Cook
To be perfectly honest, I don’t involve the girls as often as I could or should. If I’m in a hurry (which is usually always), I just zip through and get done what I have to get done. When I have time, however, I try to involve both girls in any way I can (safely). Cooking can be one of the most engaging chores for toddlers!
The girls love getting ingredients out of the pantry, putting things back into the fridge, helping mix things, and helping throw things away.
This is a great tool to help the kiddos reach the countertop!
I hope you got some great ideas for household chores for toddlers. Like this post? Please share! Itching for more cleaning tips? Check out How to Deep Clean Your House With 2 Under 2 and Ten Habits of an Organized Mama.
Wishing you a productive day,