CREATIVE FAMILY FUN: Make a game out of house cleaning

By Donna Erickson

Cy Gleason and Jane Crabtree dance away the grime to get hardwood floors clean. (Photo by Donna Erickson)

“Squirt … and slide, squirt … and slide,” chant 7-year-olds Cy and his friend Jane, as they clean and polish hardwood floors to the beat of Beatles tunes. Simply put, they’re dancing away the grime!

Reminiscent of the Pippi Longstocking caper where the unconventional Pippi and her best friends Tommy and Annika fastened scrub brushes to the bottom of their feet and breezed through mounting soap suds on the kitchen floor, singing “Scrubbing day, is a holiday!” Cy and his friends have discovered that cleaning floors can be playful in their homes, too.

Inexpensive hand towels are wrapped under and over their feet and fastened together at the ankles with a thick rubber band. When the music blasts through the speakers in the family room, on cue they grab decorated plastic water bottles filled with a vinegar/water cleaning solution (1 part white vinegar to 3 parts water) and begin their “squirt … and slide” routine to clean and shine the hardwood floors.

“Keeping a home clean and organized can be lighthearted and fun,” says Cy’s dad, Tim Gleason, father of three and owner of a neighborhood car-repair shop. Even friends like to join in from time to time. When kids perform their version of adult tasks, responsibility triumphs.

He coined a term — “Team Gleason” — to encourage his young children to work together as a family team when getting everyday jobs done. “‘Done’ might not be the same standard I might set for myself, but who cares if there are a few streaks here or leftover spots there,” he concedes. “When doing summer chores, it’s really about being together, learning something new and connecting on common ground.”

To motivate your kids to get into chores, give them a fun tool, and they’ll be set. Here are some right tools for the right kid job:

  • 99-cent plastic spray bottle. Anytime school-age kids can use a spray bottle, they can have fun. Fill with a safe natural cleaning solution for cleaning floors, kitchen counters, bikes and toys. Use in a well-ventilated area. Or, fill with plain water to spritz on plants.
  • School-age kids can wash easy-to-reach windows while an adult follows with a clean cloth.
  • New, soft paintbrush. Lightly brush off dust from pleated lampshades.


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© 2021 Donna Erickson

Distributed by King Features Syndicate