Make chores fun with these 20 great suggestions to build relationships and change up your family’s regular chore routine.

Make chores fun with these 20 great suggestions to build relationships and change up your family's regular chore routine.

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Let’s face it. Chores are most kids least favorite thing to do. And if your kids are like mine, there are days (sometimes a lot of them) where they just don’t want to do their chores.

As someone with a degree in marriage and family studies, I took a lot of classes centered around child development and healthy family relationships. Research has shown that children who feel a healthy emotional connection to their parents are more likely to be successful adults. But we can’t spend all day doing fun things to connect with them. So we have to use the every day activities, like chores, to create the connection.

According to an article shared by Columbia University’s Nurture Science Program:

“When we make chores fun, children become conditioned to see the experience through that lens. Ask a child to do a chore alone, and you’ll get a lot of opposition. But if you make it funny, sing a song about how gross the garbage smells, make it a game or competition, they’ll enjoy the connection and learn to value the give-and-take of cooperation.”

Over the years, I’ve found a handful of ways to make chores fun for my kids. That’s not to say we do one of these every day because that’s not the case. But the days when they are having a harder time, we pick one from the list. I also got ideas from friends and family on how they make chores fun and added those to the list as well.

Having a variety of ideas to rotate through helps keep it fun. Some of these ideas require a little bit of preparation (5-10 minutes) but once you have them done, they are ready to be used the next time.

How to Make Chores Fun

1. Dart board

Prep Time: 5 minutes

One of my kids favorite ways to make chores fun is our dart board. The one we have has velcro balls that you throw at a felt board. (I’ve seen magnetic dart boards as well.) We have a small legend we stick up next to the board so they know which number correlates with which chore. For example: 10 or 20 – make bed, 30 or 40 – pick up 10 items and put them away, 50 or 60 – Mom’s choice, etc. Part of what makes this fun is they don’t know what it’s going to land on. If they land on a number for a chore they already did, they get to choose their next chore or throw again. If they land on a bullseye, they get a small piece of candy.

Make chores fun with these 20 great suggestions to build relationships and change up your family's regular chore routine.

2. Dice

Prep time: 5 minutes

Similar to the dart board, you create a legend that tells the kids which chore to do based on the number they roll. Older kids may need two dice, while younger ones will only need one. An additional way to make this one fun is they get a small treat/candy if they roll doubles. Then they can eat it while they do their next chore.

3. Spinner

Prep time: 5 minutes

If you have a game that has a spinner (such as The Game of Life or Chutes and Ladders), you can pull it out and use it. Then create a small legend for the chores that need to be done. Another option is to create your own spinner. I’ve seen blank spinners you can buy online and then you could customize them. If you have multiple kids, you could create a spinner for each of them based on the chores that need to be done. A third option is to use an app, such as Picker Wheel, to input chores and then have them “spin” the wheel.

4. Popsicle Sticks

Prep time: 5 minutes

All you need for this one is a jar, a marker and popsicle sticks. Write one chore on each stick and then let your child pick one out of the jar. When it’s complete, they set it to the side (or in another jar marked “done”) and keep picking sticks until they are gone and their chores are done. We use the popsicle stick method for our “I’m Bored Jar” too.

5. List with funny/non-chores mixed in

Prep time: 5 minutes

Another favorite of my kids is when my husband or I write down their list of chores, but we mix funny/non chore things in. Some ideas to include are: 5 jumping jacks, run around the house, pick a piece of candy, give mom/dad a kiss, hug a sibling, pull a silly face, etc

6. Secret Agent or Ninja

Prep time: None

Let your kids choose a “secret agent” or “ninja” name that they will be called during their “mission”. As the parent, you will give them tasks (chores) they must accomplish in order to complete their mission and receive their reward (a fun activity, treat, etc). An added way to make this one fun is to use walkie-talkies to communicate. The trick with this one is you have to get into character, otherwise, your kids are just going to feel like you are giving them orders.

7. Dance or Listen to Music

Prep time: None

We love using our Echo devices to listen to music. We have a central one (Echo Show) in our kitchen but we have a couple of Echo Dots as well. Turn on some upbeat music, then dance and sing while everyone cleans up. If you child is cleaning their room, you can let them have the music on in their room. The Amazon Music Unlimited Family Plan allows you to have up to 6 users on the same plan on different devices. (You can get a free 30 day trial to see if you like it.)

Make chores fun with these 20 great suggestions to build relationships and change up your family's regular chore routine.

8. Listen to An Audio Book

Prep Time: None

There are many family friendly audio books available today. We like using Overdrive which is part of the Libby app. Here are a few audio book suggestions for your family:

  • Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
  • Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
  • Anne of Green Gables series by L. M. Montgomery
  • Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
  • Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman
  • Roald Dahl books by Roald Dahl

9. Listen to A Podcast

Prep Time: None

Along the same lines as an audio book, there are lots of podcasts you can listen to as a family. This option would work great for shorter chores.

10. Before and After

Prep Time: None

I don’t know what it is that makes a before and after so satisfying as an adult, but I’ve found that it’s satisfying for my kids too! All that’s needed for this one is to take a picture of what a room looks like before the chore is done, then take another when it’s clean and do a side by side. You could even go the extra mile on this one and post it on your social media with some praise for your kids on a job well done.

Make chores fun with these 20 great suggestions to build relationships and change up your family's regular chore routine.

11. Timelapse

Prep Time: None

Setting my tripod up and doing a timelapse is right up there with the before/after. My kids love watching the sped up video on my phone and laughing at how funny it looks. My phone has a setting that I can choose to do a timelapse before recording the video so check to see if yours does too.

12. Mom Bucks

Prep Time: 20 minutes

The prep on this one takes a little longer but once it’s done, it’s done. Mom Bucks is a great tool for those days when there’s a lot to do and you need your family to get in high gear. The basic idea is that for each chore completed, a child can earn a certain amount of Mom Bucks. Mom Bucks can be redeemed at the end of the day for a prize.

An example of prizes could include a movie night where they get to go to the store and pick out their own box(es) or package of candy. Another option might be to pick out prizes at the dollar store. For older kids, staying up past their normal bedtime could be motivating.

13. Listen to Comedy

Prep Time: None

I know that finding comedy the whole family can listen to can be tricky. But laughing together is one of the best forms of bonding you can do, so why not pair it with getting some chores done at the same time? I’ve got a great list of clean and funny comedians your family can enjoy:

  • Jim Gaffigan
  • Brian Regan
  • Wambui Bahati
  • Henry Cho
  • Bone Hampton
  • Carlos Oscar
  • Michael Jr.
  • Marty Simpson
  • Ron G
  • Chonda Pierce
  • Stephen Jones
  • Kellen Erskine
  • Preacher Lawson
  • The Dry Bar Comedy channel on YouTube (some humor may be over your kids heads)

*NOTE* Please keep in mind that just because a comic’s language is mostly clean, that doesn’t mean it’s all going to be appropriate humor for all ages. Make sure to preview any new comic ahead of time before introducing them to your family.

14. Suck on a piece of candy

Prep Time: None

Give your kids a piece of candy and have them suck on it while doing a specific chore. For example, a friend told me it takes about 7 minutes for her kids to unload the dishwasher. This is about the same amount of time it takes to suck on a piece of chocolate covered caramel.

Make chores fun with these 20 great suggestions to build relationships and change up your family's regular chore routine.

15. Simon Says

Prep Time: None

A slightly different take on the Secret Agent/Ninja suggestion, you can do a Simon Says. Feel free to change who plays “Simon” and to mix in silly stuff too: “Simon Says quack like a duck!”

16. Scavenger Hunt Cards

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes

Kids love scavenger hunts so use it to your advantage! Think of a list of things that need to be done/picked up around the house. Then print them off with a picture, have your child pick one and then bring back the picture and the item when it’s been found. This is a great way to include younger children who don’t know how to read or have limited reading skills. Some ideas of things to include on the cards: stuffed animals, toys, garbage, toothbrush/paste, etc

17. Make up Silly Songs or Poems

Prep Time: None

My kids love playing a rhyming game with each other where they pick a word and then go back and forth saying words that rhyme with it. Building on this idea, you could make up silly songs or short poems about the chore you are doing. For example, if the chore is cleaning the kitchen, you could say: I’m putting away the dishes, but if I had 3 wishes, the first would be _______ (and let one child fill in the blank). Then you could try and rhyme with it.

Make chores fun with these 20 great suggestions to build relationships and change up your family's regular chore routine.

18. Timer

Prep Time: None

This is a common tactic but still a great one to rotate through. We often set timers for our kids to motivate them to get their chores done. There are a couple of ways you can approach this:

  1. See how much they can get done in the allotted time.
  2. See if they can get a specific chore done before the timer goes off.

You can set a timer on your phone, your Echo device, on your child’s smartwatch, etc. Another option is to use small handheld timers, which are great if you have multiple kids who each want/need their own timer.

19. Stopwatch

Prep Time: None

The opposite approach of a timer is a stopwatch. This is great for kids who love racing. *wink*

20. Chore BINGO

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Another way to make chores fun is doing chore BINGO. Any time I pull out a BINGO game, my kids can’t wait to play! You can use small snacks or pieces of candy as markers and then when they get a BINGO (or blackout), they get to eat the snack/candy. I recently shared a post where you can get the chore BINGO printable cards for free!

Make chores fun with these 20 great suggestions to build relationships and change up your family's regular chore routine.

I’d love to hear any of the ways you make chores fun in your family! Or let me know which one of these suggestions you want to try first!

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