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A Great Summer Activity for Your Kids AND Your Home

The following post is from Laura of I’m an Organizing Junkie: A Great Summer Activity For Your Kids AND Your Home

My kids finished school last Tuesday, and the long days of summer ahead have come.

Over the last month, I’ve seen many summer activity lists and suggestions floating around the internet.  What I haven’t seen on any of those lists, however, is a summer activity that is not only fun and exciting but will also teach your children valuable life skills while transforming your cluttered home into a lighter, more organized one at the same time.

Now I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that the activity I’m talking about is organizing but before you start throwing tomatoes at me, hear me out.  I’m a huge advocate of teaching the skill of organizing (and decision making) at a young age, and there is no better way to do that than by having them come alongside you to learn.

Contrary to popular belief, this process doesn’t have to be painful and can be quite fun for all involved.  It’s all in the attitude presented to them and not making it seem like work.

Paint by number by Winnie’s pick.

Winnie’s pick paint by number is a great way to keep your kids e

Let me introduce you to the idea of a daily “scavenger hunt,” otherwise known as an organizing blitz, to get your house under control.

treasure map
credit: Robbi Baba

How to plan your scavenger hunt:

Set a limited time each morning, whether 10 minutes to a half-hour, to introduce a daily search list.  Say excitedly to your kids that they have the next 10 minutes to collect 5 toys (or whichever number you choose) from around the house to pick up and put away.   Set a timer, put on some fun upbeat music, and let them run around “racing” to see who can make it back to the finish line first once they are done.

Get yourself a big poster board, draw a big treasure map on it and tell them that each day that they complete their challenge, they get to advance to another area on the map with, of course, the final goal sometime further down the road marked with a big red X.

Just like kids like to anticipate a big day on a calendar, having a large “map” of some sort will help them visualize where they need to go and how they’re going to get there. Each day creates a different challenge for them, some harder, some easier, to keep it engaging and exciting for them to help them get to the finish line.   Provide incentives along with the way and, of course, a big “treasure” at the end.  It could be as simple as an ice cream treat or as big as a family outing to a theme park or zoo.  You decide and watch your kid’s eyes go wide with excitement to get started.

Some challenging ideas might include:

  • find five toys you no longer play with that we can donate to someone in need
  • find five things in the living room that don’t belong there and return them to the right room
  • find five pieces of clothing that no longer fit (with mom’s help, of course), etc.

Challenge older kids to come up with their own solutions to:

  • keep stuff off their floors
  • to organize their books or to keep only the books that fit on a particular shelf
  • to organize their keepsakes, etc.

Kids love to have a say in what’s important to keep and what’s okay to part with. Their decisions may surprise (and scare) you, but it’s important to respect what they decide without causing them to be unsure or second guess themselves (although there may be special instances where they need gentle guidance).

Before questioning their decision to get rid of something, though, like a keepsake nicknack from their Aunt Susie, ask yourself who is more attached to the memory of it…you or your child?

Make it a game, keep it fun and remember that by empowering your children in small areas to practice and hone these valuable decision-making skills, without fear of constant reprimand, you will create organizers for life.

Do you think this is something worth giving a try this summer?

Laura is a wife and mother to three great kids, lives in Alberta, Canada and is an addict of all things organizing. You can find her blogging regularly at I’m an Organizing Junkie, and her organizing book, Clutter Rehab: 101 Organizing Tips & Tricks to Become an Organization Junkie and Love It!, is available in stores now.