Tidying up is more fun with cooking tongs

Erin’s found a way to make cleanup a fun part of play (good for motor coordination, too):

My son has always been much happier to help me tidy us his toys if I give him a pair of cooking tongs to use. This has worked from before he was old enough to be into robots or anything – he just loves using the tongs. Tidying up can take a while as each block or whatever has to be lifted and put away carefully with machine-like precision, but it is more fun for all of us. Especially if I get to use tongs too.

Sometimes if I can’t find the tongs or they wouldn’t work, I suggest that ‘The Giant Claw’ help me tidy up and he immediately makes his hand into a shape like a claw and uses it like a crane grab to lift things into their place.

Related: ‘Toy library’ promotes cleanup AND creativity (one of my favorite hacks)


  1. Tiffany says

    I’ll try anything to get them to pick up their own rooms. This is definitely going on my list! Thanks. Hope it works!

  2. says

    For serious wreckage we sometimes play “Clean-up Robots”. I wind the kids up with imaginary turnkeys, and then send them off with instructions:

    1. Pick up one thing that’s soft.
    2. Pick up one thing that’s yellow.
    3. Pick up one thing that’s bigger than your head.

    It takes all day, but sometimes that’s the whole point. Right?