Have Fun Making Playtime Healthy

February 22, 2010 by Amy Clark

Amy healthy playtime

When your kids have friends over to play, or even when they don’t, strange germs get left behind! Here’s how I keep my kids’ play areas and toys safe and clean.

  • I periodically wipe toys and play surfaces with a microfiber cloth and an all-purpose cleaning spray. Try the green, homemade all-purpose cleaning spray mentioned in this video.
  • I wipe down surfaces after playgroups and when kids have been sick. I like Clorox® Anywhere® Hard Surface spray because it sanitizes, but is safe enough to use on pacifiers.
  • I load dishwasher-safe toys on the top rack and wash on a mild cycle. Avoid using detergents with bleach because they can fade toys.
  • I organize, group and repair toys while my kids sleep, and check and replace batteries.
  • Have a 15-minute family clean-up session in the evenings. In my house, we set a timer, put on favorite music and work together.

Make It Fun

My kids get excited about cleaning with a ticket incentive system. It works for me (well, most of the time!). Buy a roll of raffle tickets or make some with your kids using construction paper and stickers. Older kids can design tickets on your computer.
Assign a ticket value to various chores.

For example, making the bed may be worth one ticket, while helping mom with kitchen cleanup after a meal may be worth three. Then create a prize list. Mine is: five tickets get you an extra story at bedtime; 15 tickets are good for a trip to the movies; 35 tickets net you a new video game.

Base prizes on your children’s age and interests, and be sure to offer rewards that aren’t cash-driven, like a board-game tournament that maximizes family time.

That’s how we have healthy playtime at our house. How do you handle cleanup and toy organization in your family?

Amy Clark

Amy Allen Clark has been the driving force behind MomAdvice since 2004. In addition to running a successful community for women and running after her two kids, she has appeared on The Early Show, and in Parents magazine, Redbook, Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food, MSN Money and The New York Times.