Every child loves play time, but few enjoy picking up toys and cleaning up the mess from arts and crafts projects. Teaching children to clean up after themselves, however, is an important part of their development. Make clean-up time an activity or game to help children learn to enjoy -- and complete --these tasks.
This activity will get kids scrambling to clean up as many toys as possible. While the children are playing, silently designate one toy as the "mystery toy," and write the name of the toy on a piece of paper. When it's time to clean up, tell the children that you've written down the name of the toy and that whoever puts that toy away will win a sticker or first choice of books or toys for your next activity. Watch carefully to see which child picks up the mystery toy. After all of the toys are put away, have one child help you read the name of the toy on the paper and announce the winner.
This clean-up game encourages children to clean up quickly. Tell them how much time they have to clean everything up, and set that amount of time on a timer. When the timer buzzes, the children must freeze in place. If all of the toys and materials are put away, they win a prize, such as extra free time. For a bonus, offer extra prizes for each minute they finish early.