The Belong Game

Yesterday, I shared how I am trying to ease my kids, and myself, back into a daily routine after being off schedule for much of the summer.  As I was attempting to work the routine yesterday, things were going along fairly smoothly.  I was cleaning up after breakfast and the kids were “helping”.  I needed to sweep the crumbs off the floor and there were some toys in the way so I asked Kaelyn if she could pick them up for me.

She’s so cute, because she will sometimes respond, “Of course I can.”, when we ask her to do something (now, before you think that I have a perfectly behaved child, please know that this response does not happen the majority of the time, and it only sometimes happens because we model it by trying to respond to her requests in that way.) So, she said that and then actually proceeded to follow through and begin picking up the toys.  This is when you REALLY know that your day is going well!

As she’s picking up her toys, and I’m sweeping the floor, I hear her say that she wants to play the belong game, and she asks Brenden to play the belong game with her.  I was intrigued, so I kept listening and I heard her say as she was picking up toys and putting them away, “This belongs here.  Where does this one belong?  It belongs here.” Wow! That is awesome!

I asked her where she learned that, and she said from church, so I’m guessing they do that in her preschool class on Sundays at church.  I don’t really know whose idea it was, or where exactly she got it from, but I think that it is brilliant!

I have been struggling lately with getting Kaelyn to help with cleaning up her toys.  I have tried games like, see who can pick up their toys the fastest, or singing the song “Clean-up, Pick-Up” while we pick-up, but neither has been working for her lately.  The Belong Game though, this she understands and actually wants to play along.

So basically all it is, is either having the child pick up items themselves and ask where they belong and then putting it in the appropriate place, or you picking up items and asking the child where it belongs and have them go and put it away.  It’s such a simple and effective way to get kids helping with picking up. I am definitely indebted to whoever taught this game to my daughter, because it is encouraging cooperation during our clean-up, pick-up times, and making them much, more enjoyable!

What games or techniques do you use to get your kids to help with chores around the house?

Works for Me Wednesday at We are That Family


  1. says

    That’s so cute! I’ll definitely try this one with my smallest two (3 and 1.5). Now, I’m wondering if the “Of course I can” modelling will work with my preteen daughter! I guess it’s worth a try!

  2. says

    Great idea!

    My son was very helpfully inclined beginning around 15 months old, but rather than expect him to do any task on his own, we just had him help us with things. For example, he could take his cloth diapers off the lower bars of the drying rack and put them into the basket. He could stand in his high chair while I was washing dishes and slosh the dishes in the sink, which helps loosen the food. He could add ingredients to the mixing bowl. Around 3 years old, we started letting him use a paring knife to cut food. He now knows how to do a lot of parts of household tasks, as well as showing us the way he usually does it!

    He’s about to start kindergarten now and recently has become more interested in chores he can do himself. We got some new storage furniture and let him decide where to keep things, which has increased his willingness to put them away. He also likes to water the plants and (to our delight) scrub the kitchen floor!

    Instead of singing a clean-up song, you might have more success playing one your kids really like; hearing it exactly the same way every time and knowing exactly when it will end can be comforting, and it’s easier to work when you’re not also using your brain to sing.

  3. says

    My little girl wants to do whatever I’m doing. I’m trying to take advantage of having her do chores around the house while they still seem interesting to her. We rotate toys to limit how many toys are accessible at a time; if there are too many to pick up, then she gets overwhelmed.

  4. Michelle says

    I read somewhere of something I think would work well with older kids. You label ping pong balls with house chores. Everyone grabs a ball, does the chore, and returns to the basket for another ball. The person with the most balls/chores done when the house is clean gets a prize. That might be extra reading time, playtime, choice of dessert,or whatever you think of.

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