If you feel guilty cleaning the house instead of playing with your kids, combine the two activities and turn chores into fun!
Let kids sort socks and roll each pair into a ball. Then let them toss the sock balls into a waiting laundry basket. For simple folding lessons, use pillowcases, face towels and washcloths.
Is your family room overflowing with toys? Label several boxes or shopping bags with categories such as "stuffed animals," "dolls," "trucks and cars," etc. Set the oven timer for five minutes and challenge kids to fill each box/bag. When the alarm sounds, see which one is the fullest.
Similarly, if tiny toys are scattered across the floor, ask kids to push a toy dump truck around the room for "collection day."
Ask kids to leave the room while you hide coins in the dustiest areas. Then arm them with dust rags and set them loose to see who can collect the most money. Kids are allowed to keep the money if they do a good job of dusting!
Many kids love to sweep. You can also scatter coins on the floor as an incentive. (Make sure they wash their hands when done.) To make it easier, buy a child-sized broom or cut a broom handle in half. Many dry-wipe brooms have handles that can be unscrewed to shorter lengths.
Ask kids to sort items in the kitchen. Give them the clean silverware from the dishwasher to put away. Have them sort the canned or boxed goods in the cupboard.
Need to clean the bathroom while keeping an eye on little ones? Fill a small washtub with soapy water and ask kids to wash dirty toys.