• Feb

Get your Mary Poppins on: Fun ways childminders can inspire tidiness

Get your Mary Poppins on: Fun ways childminders can inspire tidiness
In the bustling world of childminding, where creativity meets chaos, it’s essential to weave in lessons that will shape our little ones into responsible and independent individuals. Among these lessons, encouraging children to tidy up stands out not only for the sake of order (and our sanity!) but for the valuable life skills it imparts.

But let’s face it, convincing a group of energetic children to pause their play for cleanup can be as challenging as herding cats! So, how do we transform this daunting task into an engaging activity? We’re here to help…

Why is a neat space important?

First off, why stress on tidying up? Beyond the obvious perk of a clutter-free space, encouraging children to tidy teaches them respect for their environment and instills a sense of responsibility. It’s about nurturing individuals who care not just for their belongings but also for shared spaces. Linking back to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), this practice supports children’s personal, social, and emotional development, giving them an active role in their environment rather than being passive participants.

How to make tidying up fun and meaningful

The secret sauce to getting children on board with tidying up is to sprinkle a little fun into the mix. Here are some creative strategies to turn cleanup time into a game they look forward to:

1. Specific missions

Instead of a vague instruction of “tidy up time”, give children specific, achievable tasks. Ask them to pick up a certain number of toys or focus on a particular type of toy. This not only makes the task feel more like a mission but also helps in developing their counting and categorisation skills.

2. Colour hunts

Who doesn’t love a good treasure hunt? Turn tidying up into a colour hunt where children are tasked with finding and putting away toys of a specific colour. It’s a playful way to reinforce colour recognition and ensures that they pay attention to details.

3. Musical cleanup

Everything is better with music, including tidying up! Playing their favourite tunes during cleanup can turn a chore into a dance party. Set a goal to finish tidying before the song ends to add a sense of urgency and fun to the task.

4. The timer challenge

Introduce a timer to create a sense of challenge. Can they beat the clock? This not only makes tidying up exciting but also introduces the ideas of time management and working efficiently.

5. Clarity is key

Remember, “tidy up time” can mean a myriad of things to different children. Use clear, concise instructions like “return things to where they belong”. Every toy has a home, and by emphasising this, we teach respect and order. It’s a simple shift in language that can make a world of difference in understanding.

The EYFS and fostering a sense of responsibility

Incorporating these fun tidying strategies does more than just keep your space organised. It aligns beautifully with the EYFS framework, particularly in fostering a sense of responsibility and belonging in children. They learn to take care of their environment, which is a critical step in their journey to becoming well-rounded individuals.

Children are eager to be involved; they crave activities that allow them to feel competent and useful. By turning tidying up into an engaging, educational activity, we not only keep our spaces neat but also contribute significantly to their developmental milestones. They’re not just cleaning up; they’re learning important life skills.

By Ivy Steele