How to turn Work into Play

It's never too young to teach children a sense of responsibility, or to let them know that a family is a team, and everyone pitches in to help. But it's difficult to know how to get young kids started on chores, or for that matter, any activity that looks like Plain Old Work. The secret is making these daily activities fun and interesting. In celebration of their launch, The Hub -- a new TV channel for kids and families -- and TwitterMoms have asked bloggers to share 10 ideas for incorporating fun and play into your child’s daily activities. Here are mine:

1) Hunt for treasure.
Cleaning out the garage can be tiresome, dusty, dirty work. Make it a game by providing a list of items that might be found amidst all the junk lying around. Then watch them scramble to fix things up!

2) Get out the cool tools.
My kids actually love mopping up the floor when they spill things because we have a neat spray mop that takes the drudgery out of mopping. The mop is lightweight, so kids can handle it, and I can fill the attached spray bottle with kid-safe cleaning products like soap and water, or just water, so I don't have to worry about nasty chemicals. They love spraying the solution on the floor and gliding the mop around!

3) Turn chores into a party.
I like giving out tea cakes, cookies, banana bread and brownies as presents to friends and teachers, but doing all that baking can be a drag, so I organize a holiday baking party with a few of my friends and their kids. As long as we supervise, the kids actually do a good job helping out (i.e. laying out baking cases, mixing, throwing out the trash), and we end up with enough baked goods for every family).

4) Use the star system
Remember that sticker chart you used when your little one was toilet training? It works equally well -- with a few adjustments to the incentives for the child's age, of course -- for chores!

5) Feel the beat
Get out that dusting cloth, turn on the stereo and dance your blues away! With some great dancing tunes, your little ones will be twisting and turning (and dusting and wiping) in no time.

6) I Spy..... a Radish
Even a trip to the grocery store can be interesting and fun if you give your kids something to look for. Point out interesting fruits and vegetables, or hand them a shopping list and ask them for help in finding everything.

7) Odd Man Out
In my opinion, finding sock pairs is one of the most tiresome things about laundry. But I've found that kids actually like fishing around a basket of socks to match pairs -- especially when I tell them I'm giving them any single socks left over for them to make into sock puppets.

8) Step on the Crack.....
When we walk to school, we always play games. Even something as simple as jumping over sidewalk cracks helps pass the time.

9) Starstruck
My kids love making their own home videos. So when the urge to put on a stuffed animal production strikes them, I remind them that their backdrop has to look really nice for the camera -- and that's usually all the incentive they need to clean up the mess in their room!

10) Get thee to a Good School
Going to school and getting on the path to learning is probably the most important work a child has to do. A great teacher and a great school can make the difference between an awful experience and a lifetime of loving to learn! So do your research a find a great preschool with a philosophy that matches your own, and a teaching style that fits in with how your child learns.

As Mary Poppins said, In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun.... and Snap! The job's a game! Hopefully, with these suggestions, you'll be well on your way to finding that spoonful of sugar that works for your own child's activities!

Disclosure: I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and The Hub blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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