When possible it is always a good idea to make a task as fun as you can. When kids are involved, all the more reason. The problem is, I'm not always that fun or creative. By chance today we found a fun new way to make a quick pick-up a little more fun. Now, I warn you now, this is not an everyday thing and it won't get your house sparkly clean, but when you want a few particular items picked up or the kids to chip in with a good attitude its worth a go.
Step one: I went around the rooms I wanted picked up most. I took close up pictures of all the items the kids had left out, messes they had made but didn't pick up, or items that were just not put away properly. I tried to zoom in enough that whey could identify the item but not where it was easily.
Step two: I uploaded all the pictures on to the computer and put them on the display.
Step three: I had all the children come in and look at the pictures. The goal of the game is to find the items in the picture and put them away. I gave points but you could do it as a team effort, or time them...however works best for you. Then I deleted the pictures of the items they had found (these I saved special).
Bonus: My 4yo, who normally isn't much of a help much to his sisters' chargrin, saw one picture and said, "I know where that is. I made that mess!" Then he ran off and cleaned it all up. SCORE!
Things got picked up fairly quickly and they were eager to identify items quickly and pick them up so they could get on to another picture. All the random forgotten socks were found and put in the dirty clothes, lost shoes were found, toys, game pieces picked up, books randomly deposited in odd places....all picked up.
Some pictures were easier to identify than others, and when they realized things were not necessarily in the room they belonged they began to notice lots of things they never could "see" before.
Like I said before, this would not be something we do every day, but perhaps doing this a few times might help them learn to look for those items they have lost a little. (I can hope, right)