Saturday, June 19, 2010

On Your Marks, Get Set, Go!

During the last day of school, the kids got to play games, have snacks, and generally run around the place like caged animals about to be released into the wild. One of the games they played was called garbage. On one side of the cafe-gym-eteria was a big pile of, well, um garbage. Actually, it was more like stuff. A big pile of miscellaneous stuff. Stuff like footballs, scarves, bowling pins, rings, beanbags, you know, stuff. On the other side of the cafe-gym-eteria were big orange cones set up in a line. The object of the game was to move all the stuff from one end of the room to the other end and drop it behind the line of cones. Easy, right? So a couple dozen kindergarteners stood, poised, ready to grab up all the stuff and move it to the other end of the room. The whistle blew, signaling the beginning of the game. Kids grabbed armfuls of stuff and raced down to the cones. They left skidmarks, they ran so fast back to the dwindling pile o' stuff. Grabbing up another handful of items, they raced back to the cones. Again and again they did this with such fervor, you'd think they were competing in some sort of Olympic cleaning race.

Then it hit me.

They were cleaning. That's all this game was. The kids were required to clean up a big ole pile of stuff and put it away on the other side of the cafe-gym-eteria. And they were doing it! Not only were they cleaning up, but they were breaking world speed records while doing it amid the shouts of their kindergarten friends from the other class who were cheering them on. Not one kid complained that "they didn't make the mess so why should they have to clean it". No one whined that they were bored. Nobody claimed it was too hard to pick up the stuff and move it. In fact, my son was possibly the fastest kid out there, stacking enormous mounds of stuff in his arms as he whizzed back and forth across the room depositing the items behind the orange cones. It was a sight to behold!

When the race was over, I yelled at praised him for his speedy cleaning skills. "CLAYTON REID MEEHAN! You CAN clean up! Now I've seen it! I've seen it with my own eyes! There is no longer any excuse you can use to get out of cleaning your room. Ever!"

After that race, I may or may not have gone out and bought some big, orange cones to put at one end of his bedroom.


Veggiemomof2 said...

LOL I can almost see him go from victory to defeat in 1 sentence from Mom. ;)

Anonymous said...

So the trick is to turn it into a game/competition?
Good to know.

Que said...

Let me know how long it takes for him to figure out what just happened.

Michelle Faith said...

LOL Yeah right good luck with that. Nice idea tho! After my 6th grader tested post high-school in reading ...I had a idea like that... Ha! Now I know you are very smart and can do your essays and turn them in on time. Right!

The Gibson's said...

I have little orange cones now I know what to do with them. One thing I did just this week was set the timer for 1 minute. I told my 6 yr old and 4 yr old to pick up ten things in that minute. It took four times to pick up the entire room. Yep only 4 little minutes. They just get so overwhelmed at the entire mess and room.

Kathy at Wellness Roadtrip said...

Ahh...if only all of life's work could remain a game. Was all the stuff by chance part of the giant lost and found pile? Did you stuff any wayward hoodies or random snow boots in your stash? I love checking out lost and found on the last day of school. I am not ashamed to admit if I can't find the sweatshirt my kid lost...I take a different one! Shame on me...but they all go to charity in a couple hours, I'm told :)

Anonymous said...

This made me laugh out loud! Thanks :-).

Anonymous said...

I learned about "The Clean Up Race" when I was teaching preschool a few years ago. That was the ONLY way I could get 14 three-year-olds to clean up the messes that THEY made! It was great and it was alot of fun at the same time! (It was the most fun for me because I never had to clean up a huge mess by myself! ;o))

You definately need to try this at home!!

Donna in PA :)

Lyuda said...

Hey, making a game out of cleaning works every time! Wanna know a secret? I sometimes make a game out of my chores too! Time flies and everything gets cleaned and washed before I can get bored with it! You should try it- be creative!

Sarah said...

That's awesome! :)

Susan said...

Nice blog and nice post. Thanks for sharing.

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