Google+ Authentic Parenting: I Am a Cleaning Robot. Beep! Beep!

Friday, April 8, 2011

I Am a Cleaning Robot. Beep! Beep!

written by mudpiemama

Clean up time can be a real hassle sometimes. I feel overwhelmed by the mess very quickly and that got me thinking, if I’m overwhelmed then a 2yr old and a 4yr old are probably even more so!

Our solution: make it into a game. In general, clean up time works best for us when I am very specific about what should be picked up and where it should go. I try to avoid general statements like “clean everything up” or ” pick up the toys” keeping that in mind I then like to add some fun to the mix.
Here are the top 5 favorite games we play that give us a clean playroom.

1. Elbows, Knees and Toes

In this game we pretend our hands are too tired to lift anything so we have to use other parts of our bodies. . We usually get started with my asking everyone to do one task together and then take turns asking each other to try something. The kids come up with the silliest and trickiest assignments sometimes!

-Everyone try to use your elbow to put lego’s in the lego box-

-Mommy try to use your toes to pick up that doll-

-Johnny can you try using your chin to carry that book to the shelf?-

2. Zoo Keeper

The Zoo Keeper game works really well with our stuffed animals. We happen to keep most of our stuffed animals on a mesh hammock (aka the ZOO) that hangs on the wall. The boys often take them all down and scatter them around the house. When we play Zoo Keeper I send them on assignment around the house looking for stray animals. Again I like to be specific:

-Zoo Keeper Johnny, the blue monkey is on the sofa can you bring him back to the zoo?-

-Zoo keeper Johnny, the pink piggy is hiding by the fireplace, can you bring him back to the zoo?

3. Dump it here

My boys love dumping – actually I’ve never met a child that didn’t find dumping stuff out of containers absolutely fabulous! This game is a play on this feeling. Together I encourage each child to help load toys onto a container lid or a smaller container and then dump it into the bigger container where the toys belong such as the lego box or the toy box. Big giggles are sure to follow by saying “DUMP IT HERE” each time.

4. Grand Nabber

My two year old invented this game – I believe he was inspired by the grand nabbers from the rocket ship from the Little Einsteins. He likes to wear my giant oven mitts, grab toys however he can and then take them to their place. It’s a bit of a clumsy game but my son is two and he is helping so I think it’s great.

5. Robot

Image: morguefile

I usually take the lead on this game and just start cleaning and saying silly things in a robot voice. "I am a cleaning robot. I can put this book on the shelf. Beep Beep."
The boys find this so funny – and they want to imitate which means we all clean up together.

In the end of course I am doing the majority of the clean up but in my eyes that’s still my job as mom for the next few years. I would like to believe I am creating a sense of cooperation and enjoyment for a task that is not usually regarded as fun. Sometimes the boys will surprise me and start playing these games on their own and tell me when they have cleaned up – and that is so cool…

Do you have any fun clean up games you like to play? What tasks do you find a hassle or do not look forward to?

About the author
Mudpiemama has three children, two boys (three and five years) and a baby girl. She has a bachelor’s degree in communication and creative expression. After many years living in the United States and Brazil, mudpiemama and her family are currently living in Germany. Pre-kids, she worked among other things as a marketing exec and as a ballet dancer. Now as a stay at home mama, she practices peaceful, playful, responsive parenting and is passionate about all things parenting and chocolate. She is a breastfeeding, baby wearing, co-sleeping, VBAC and natural births mama. Not only through parenting at home but also working as a playgroup facilitator and with International MOMS Club, Mudpiemama has enjoyed creating solutions to everyday parenting challenges and sharing these ideas with other families. She believes parents and children should try to have fun everyday and love life.



  1. I just tried the cleaning robot with my 5 year old son- he was into it for a bit! Will definitely use that in the future- as well as the oven mitts :). I'm a follower :)

  2. What fun clean up ideas! I've used the dumping one myself... The oven mitts are a great idea- my son LOVES our oven mitts for some reason!

    Does mudpiemama have her own site? I don't see a link...

    Thanks for the ideas!

  3. Thanks for the ideas. Kind of reminds me of 'Playful Parenting.'

  4. This is a fantastic post! My daughter is only 10 months old, but I can't wait to try out some of these ideas with her!

  5. I love the robot cleaning up game! I know that would be a hit with my son, as he loves robots.

  6. Muito, muito bom! Adorei. Infelizmente só posso aplicar
    com minhas gatinhas, mas o artigo está excelente mesmo.
    Você é DEZ!

  7. Your ideas are very original and unconventional, and by the looks of it, the kids seem to love them. I should share this post with my older sister, maybe she could also convince my nephew into cleaning "Robot" style.


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